General Engineer Male (GEM) with over 2 years of IT experience dreaming to get into one of the country’s finest b-schools is nothing short of a Herculean task. Below is the depiction of a GEM’s plight through this journey.
Phase I: Pre Admission...1 year of preparation
Acing CAT, one of the most difficult aptitude exams in our country is not a cakewalk. The brave hearts who achieve this feat have to take the AgniPariksha of Written Ability Test (WAT) and Personal Interview (PI). In order to shortlist the candidates for this round, all his previous karmas are taken into account.
Our GEM is a ‘General Category’ student. He has to score high in CAT in order to be considered for a shortlist. It’s an altogether different thing that his friends from ‘Reserved Category’ just need to appear for the exam and without even solving a question; they stand a chance to get into one of the best b-schools! Yes, students with as low as 40 percentile get into old IIMs just because of their category.
But, our GEM is a hard worker. He takes all the rigours, burns the midnight oil and scores 99.xx percentile in CAT. But, that is not enough! He is a 'male'. He doesn’t get the free ‘Gender Diversity’ points, unlike his female friends.
He is an ‘Engineer’. A quick look at the admission criteria released by IIM A for admission to the 2017-19 PGP batch shows rating score given to various graduation disciplines according to percent scored:
AC-4 covers the Engineering disciplines. Even if GEM has scored 85% during engineering, he still gets only 8 rating score points whereas student from any other discipline will easily get 10 points with this percentage. It is also important to note that engineers from IITs as well ‘Jai Mata Dee Engineering College’ are treated on the same level at this stage.
Our GEM has manageable acads in 10th, 12th and graduation. Thanks to it, he manages to get shortlists of some of the older IIMs. With sheer hard work, he swims past the WAT. He is grilled on his excessive IT experience in the PI. But, he manages to fend the questions and finally gets the admit letter.
He is elated. He is on cloud 9! But, the real struggle is yet to start.
Phase II: Post Admission...First 2 months in college
GEM is on the campus now. He is basking in the glories of the lush green campus. He has started recuperating from the injuries caused during the preparatory battle. His friends from ‘Reserved Category’ who made it here are bleeding now. The ointment of ‘Preparatory Courses’ isn’t of much help. The hectic life at a b-school has started affecting every new admit. GEM is also suffering in the grind but he is still happy being here.
Phase III: Summers CV Preparation
While GEM’s fresher friends are running helter-skelter to fill the coveted one page of their life called ‘Resume’, GEM’s 2+ years of IT experience takes care of the 1/3rd part of his CV. He is satisfied. He sees himself at the top of the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid. Now, he awaits the Summer Placements to begin; to grab the much awaited internship of his life.
Phase IV: Time for Summers and the Reality Check!
Day 0 - No consulting firm gives a shortlist to GEM. He is disturbed but maintains calm.
Day 1 – International Banks come and go. GEM is without a shortlist. He is worried... quite worried.
Day 2 – Few banks and Indian Conglomerates give a shortlist to GEM. He flunks in some of the GDs but manages to reach the interview stage in some cases. The interviewer asks for relevant work experience. But GEM has spent most waking hours in coding, coding and some more coding. He fails to clear the interview. He is extremely worried now.
Day 3 – Big FMCGs and important marketing firms visit the campus. GEM thinks his turn has finally come. But alas, his 2+ years of experience is a deterrent. His acads can’t save him here. He starts thinking if he made a mistake coming here. The EMIs of the 20 lakh loan are haunting him. How will he repay the loan?
Day 4 – GEM is forced into some job or he would have remained unplaced. He is heartbroken.
This is the general trajectory of a GEM who manages to enter a b-school despite having not-so-good acads and an IT experience. However, GEM has learnt one thing very early in his life.. ‘To work hard’. He decides to give his everything to the next 2 years of his MBA life.
Phase V: 10 years in the Corporate World
With the knowledge GEM gained in the IIM, he has progressed in his professional life. He worked hard, worked hard and got lucky. Again he worked hard, worked hard and got lucky. His perseverance paid off. He is working in his dream job.
GEM’s reserved category friends are nowhere to be seen in the distant field. The ‘Star Performers’ of the batch are also working at the same level, at the same position and pay scale as that of our GEM. ‘It doesn’t matter how far you hit it beyond a point. You only get 6 runs’, one of the wise professors of GEM had said this at the IIM. GEM can’t agree more. He smiles at his fate and goes back to his work.