Iron Ladies Of Hel(L) – Dharini Baswal (IIM-Lucknow PGP 2017-19)
The Journey That has Been: To IIM-Lucknow and Beyond
It has been a joyride, something that words cannot suffice. I have learnt something each and every day since the day I set foot on this beautiful campus.
So, it all began in college, where like most 21 year-olds, I was thinking about the next career move. Needless to say, during that time in life, there are all kinds of opinions surrounding you and a person either gets sucked into that vortex or swims out of it. And amongst all this hullabaloo, there are college placements. I got a job as a Global Analyst at Barclays and called it a day. Although that felt like an achievement, there was a part of me which wanted more. The profile was challenging but was not what I wanted to do.
I had two options, one I take the job offered or, I prepare for my masters. And I did the latter. Yes, MBA was the option that I zeroed down to, but not before I assessed myself and made up my mind to do it. I observed how different advertisements had an impact on a consumer’s psychology and how with the right words anyone could be convinced of buying what you sold. That was, for me an empowering state of mind. Something that made me feel like I could be a part of that force that created a little change in the way we see the world.
I wanted to have a part of that power, where I could help consumers make better choices. Hence, marketing became the option that I wanted to go for. I would often look at print ads, or salespeople and observe their gestures and how they convinced us, the buyers. It fascinated me. I wanted to know as much as possible about it. And so, I decided to take up a job in marketing. I was fortunate to get an internship, instead, at HCL Info-systems in marketing, and it was a great insight into marketing. I did so so that I could prepare well for CAT and at the same time gain an insight into what marketing is all about.
I enjoyed working there and I made up my mind to follow it subsequently. CAT happened & I got my calls and ended up converting IIM Lucknow, which was a delight. But, I was not prepared for all that there was to come.
A B-school life is just a potpourri of everything you know: quizzes, assignments, late night group discussions, parties and 8:45 am classes in extreme winters. One thing that we all ended up abiding by were the deadlines. Deadlines in b-schools are sacrosanct. Time is important here. How that time is spent, differs from person to person. The first 4 months were hectic, given we had our summer placements. CV reviews and interviews consumed our free time and we treasured sleep like we never did before. It was exhausting at times, but it did help all of us in the end.
Cut to placements. Time literally flies here. And when its placement season, there is a different atmosphere altogether. The entire batch is there to support each other and so are the seniors. It’s what we call, bonding. Yes, like most people, I had my own apprehensions about the process, but I promised myself one thing: that I would give my best no matter what. For me, it was the craziest two days of my life but they made me appreciate my capacity for doing things. I had never gone for more than 13 hours on just process after process on 2 hours sleep. Believe me, as scary as that sounds, it is fun. The most important thing I learned was how to stay positive and how to go with the flow. Although what I have is different from what I aimed for, I am happy it is what I wanted to do.
Yes, one goes through a lot here. I was a fresher and came with my own set of biases which made it hard to adjust to this place at first, but it ultimately starts to grow on you. The only thing that is needed is the right perspective. It is, like all our world’s, an imperfect one but, it has a lot to teach. The onus is on you. You can utilise every ounce of opportunity that it has to offer or you could not. There are many avenues of learning; from colleagues, from the senior batch or even from the curriculum itself. A clarity of what MBA means is essential, in my opinion. It does not have to be perfect, but you should know what you are looking at and what it has to offer.
It’s not just another degree that you have on your CV, it’s a life-changing experience. So, yes, the salary and plush office waits for me on the other side after this gets over, but I would rather do something that makes me happy and challenges me on a day-to-day basis. So, my advice would be: make the most of all that you get here. For most of us, it’s the last leg of our education and for some, it is another summit that we scaled, but it is a great one. Make it count.
About the Author:
An engineering graduate from DTU (Batch of 2016) in Information Technology, Dharini is a marketer at heart, a bibliophile and a travel enthusiast.