“I’m Not Angry! Just Stop Pissing Me Off”

Picture yourself in a serene environment, lying on luxuriant green grass next to a placid blue lake. There are the occasional birds twittering in the trees and a cool breeze ruffling your hair as you lazily watch the clouds drift about in the sky with not a care in the world. In short, the kind of place that you would only see on the cover of Travel and Leisure magazine and one that well-adjusted members of society would probably conjure up as their happy place.

Now bring to mind a vista of a somewhat different sort. A place rocked by 6-point-something earthquakes every half hour with knots of people running about screaming with their hair on fire, around other groups of people who are not averse to tripping them up as they saunter past or trying to douse the flames with vinegar. Basically a scene more in tune with a zombie apocalypse or the end of civilization.

And if you haven’t been living with your head under a rock for the past decade, you can guess which of these settings corresponds to an average day in a B-school (Hint: it’s not the first one).

 

A bright sunny day in a B-school
A bright sunny day in a B-school

 

A B-school is a madhouse. At any given moment, there are more number of people losing their minds per square meter than you’d find in the entirety of a moderately sized asylum. And instead of putting these people in solitary rooms with copious amounts of padding on the walls and no access to sharp objects, they are bunched together in hostels and classrooms to snarl at each other or devise careful, elaborate schemes to inflict terrible atrocities on unsuspecting enemies.

By now you’re probably questioning if everything that I spoke of is real or merely the concoction of an unhinged, paranoid imagination? Well you can choose not to believe it, but don’t come crying to me when that group of crazy-eyed people that you think secretly hates you finish a perfect model of your voodoo doll.

A B-school is a den of dark despair and seething, barely suppressed rage. If you put some really intelligent and driven people on a desert island inhabited by giant predators, give them a rickety old boat that can barely hold 10% of them, and then expect them to peacefully co-exist while they work out through dialog the best way to extricate themselves from this mess, you need to get your head examined. That is the perfect metaphor for what a B-school is.

And if you spend a length of time in one of these places, be sure you will find enough cause to get riled up. You will be faced by a gaggle of irritating freshers, all wide-eyed eagerness and misdirected energy; or an obnoxious bunch of people with work-experience, cynical know-it-alls who think they have already got a damn good grip on what life has to offer by dint of spending a few miserable months in cramped cubicles. There is another group of those who just put in a negligibly short few month in an organization before converting a B-school call and jumping ship for the promise of more money and progress. These are a resentful bunch because they are shunned by both the previous groups. Even the professors can prove highly infuriating. An MBA is a participative course, you are expected to engage in discussion and challenge ideas and processes rather than mug up the Zeroth law of thermodynamics or chemical recombination reactions. And you may end up talking to and arguing with people whose opinions and views are polar opposites of your own. I have witnessed enough friction between ideas and ideologies to be surprised that the arguments have remained restricted to verbal barrages rather than devolving into fisticuffs.

Hulk SMASH!!! Ever wanted to do this?
Hulk SMASH!!! Ever wanted to do this?

 

Working along the theme of MBA being a participative course, let’s take a look at classrooms and the class participation component of courses. This is a barely concealed euphemism for coercion which figuratively screams at you to talk or forget about 20% of your grade. This doesn’t consider that there may be some people in that group who are shy and unable to talk in front of a crowd, while there are a few who have a Hermione Granger-ish passion for reading and memorising all course readings and waving their arms about like a windmill before the professor is even finished asking the question (yes I’m a Harry Potter fan). However, unlike Hermione they don’t have the redeeming quality of battling a force of evil and saving the world from utter destruction and hence forgiving them becomes rather more difficult. It’s true that a classroom with 60 blank, drooling stares is bad. But a classroom with 59 blank stares and one mouth going on auto-pilot makes you want to blow somebody up. It’s hard enough to stay engrossed in the alluring patterns of your shoelaces while the professor is asking a question, it gets really difficult to do so (and infinitely more annoying) when the guy next to you is rattling off various strategy frameworks as if they were nursery rhymes. I mean, understanding why a certain capital expenditure can be written off as a loss is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re battling sleep deprivation and a debilitating hangover. It is really difficult to maintain your composure when said annoying person starts treating his desk as a dais and the time he gets to speak as his own 15 minutes of fame (while all you want to do is text in peace).

One more word outta you and you die!
One more word outta you and you die!

 

And this is just about classrooms. You could hate the fact that you need to walk for 3 minutes from your room to get to class. You could have an annoying roommate who loves to leave his smelly socks on your chair, or who doesn’t get the hint and surreptitiously leave the room when you want to have a Skype conversation. Or you may have a beef with the admin for acting like Big Brother and trying to monitor your every move, not understanding the fact that you are now adults and can take responsibility for your own actions.

All in all, I think it can be statistically proven that you can pretty much hate everything and everyone you come in contact with during your time at a B-school. And for the entrepreneurially minded, it might be a good business idea to open up an anger management class near your alma mater after graduation. I’m sure you will attract a great volume of clients.

–          Nadeem

 

Nadeem is still trying to make sense of Life, the Universe and Everything now in the middle of his second year and planning to have a great time while he tries to figure all that stuff out.  You can read more of his work at nadeemraj.insideiim.com

He’s an amateur storyteller at 42shadesoctarine.wordpress.com

Drop him a line on Twitter or Facebook. He doesn’t usually bite.

nadeem

Nadeem Raj

Nadeem is a class of 2015 student at XLRI, Jamshedpur in the HR stream after working for 3 and a half years with TCS in the Program Management function. He is a big fan of literature and music and will be doing his summer internship with Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

Comments

One comment

dhruvsrm

I think it is slightly over-hyped,all top notch bschools think they are best in the field where in actually they prove to be some of the dumbest of the lot.If you really had the gut to be a manager or cliche”entrepreneur” ,you would have spend in your money running a start up.You guys are just hungry for the cushioned job that would give rise to your tunnel vision