Six months into Management Institute, I look back and think 2017 has been the best of this decade so far. The massive reason being my successful admission into IIM Calcutta, completing the first 4 months at Joka (our beloved IIM C campus is called ‘Joka’) and bagging an internship at TAS which had been a dream for two years. All these phenomenal changes on paper along with finding a different personality in me have been like nothing before ever in life. It looks so hunky dory on the outside when said but just like a movie production where a bunch of people work so hard to get the actors on screen and make it a success, my story had a lot of characters in it to bring it so far. TL-DR; it’s been this- ‘At Joka, we leave no one behind’ - A line I heard during my city meets with the PGP2s after getting the admission letter. But it’s more than just a line. It’s been the essence of the past 6 months at Joka and almost all of 2017. Allow me to elaborate.
Once the results of CAT 2016 were declared, shortlisted students of IIM Calcutta have been informed via their portal. The instantaneous happiness after seeing the shortlist was followed by a panic as for how I would prepare for the interview and what if I don’t get in and how bad it would be to not get the admission after I came so long in my journey. Thankfully, the External Relations Secretaries contacted all the shortlisted students via email and assigned us Mentors – the students from IIM C to help us through the process. That was such a relief back then and I owe my IIM C call conversion to my mentor. Bless him for telling about how to answer interview questions even after his busy day. I now know how busy a day can get and thinking back about the mentoring he offered, I feel obliged to do the same for the incoming batch.
Being a prospective student then, I was blown out by the dedication of this Mentorship program and constant updates from the ER secretaries as compared to other campuses. The right information at the right time was given, and that made all the change. Soon after admission, the city meets with PGP2s- whoever is in the city doing their internship would come and have an informal meet with the incoming batch. That’s when the first bonding starts. The first glimpse of Life at Joka during the city meet made me realize that something great is up. And that turned out to be better than great.
First few weeks at Joka pass by and one wouldn’t know that its already been weeks since one has slept for more than 5 hours. And the weeks turn into months before we realize we’ve adapted to a very hectic lifestyle. Being at the premier institute of the country, it has its own pros and cons. And I was once overwhelmed to see the talent pool here and got scared of getting lost. But the upside is there are PGP2s by our side all the time. I remember a time when I met a senior at 2 am, with a ghastly look saying that I don’t feel too good facing the toughest competition ever of my life. Yet, she meekly smiled without a hint of disapproval and let me in her room, talked to me for an hour and calmed me down. I laugh at myself for whatever transpired and its only been six months that I’ve changed from someone who couldn’t tolerate competition to someone who can take it head-on. But the operative point here is the accessibility of the seniors in this campus.
‘At Joka, we leave no one behind’ resounded in my ears as I walked back to my room on that day.
It’s a feeling one can’t scientifically describe. How can a batch of 900 people function with one common goal of excellence and helping each other out during the toughest times and partying together hard when it’s the time to celebrate each other’s successes? I never thought such a thing can exist. But I know now that it does.
Placement season at IIM C is another big-time one can witness the Joka Tribe in full form. Every person present on the campus would be seen either helping the prospective students or managing logistics for smoothly completing the process. PGP2s help out right from the beginning of Placement process.
After all the gruelling first few months, we get to meet our older alumni - during Reminiscence. One has to see the absolute delight they have in recounting their life stories. I was amazed to see Manu Jain of Xiaomi walking through the corridors of our hostel (OH) with his kid. A year ago, I would’ve gone crazy with the idea of seeing someone in person. Now, we come across stellar people and they all talk how they miss OH and Joka. The rich alumni base of IIM Calcutta with all its batches integrated as one Joka Tribe is remarkable and maybe no other IIM has that. That’s what life here feels like.
‘At Joka, we leave no one behind’
I write this with a nostalgic feeling of having spent 2017 and ending it big. I might take a walk in our campus, look at those beautiful lakes and reminisce at the famed Jetty for a while and dream again. Dream to be as important as the other alumni of the Joka Tribe have become. Dream to be as resourceful as my PGP2s were and dream to be a better human during my time here.
Joka is not a place. It’s an experience.