A Letter To The Class Of 2020 From The Class Of 2019
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something–your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
Dear Class of 2020,
Memories come back to us when we see you go through a journey we traversed a year ago. We know that some of you are sure of what you want and some of you are maybe testing new waters, wondering how you got where you did. That comes amidst a host of apprehensions that are natural of the new life- the new you. It’s almost like watching a visual of what we were like exactly a year ago. But that comes later. Right now you’re thinking ahead, maybe allowing yourselves to enjoy the high that comes along with having made it to a coveted B-School that a nation of thousands of aspirations had to thrive and be denied for you to get that convert letter. The thought of wanting more might then creep in, as the thrill of wanting “better” (you won’t yet know what that means even if you think you do) seeps in. It’s natural to wonder if you should take the path that’s right in front of you or there are better choices you should consider, in terms of selecting between your various converts.
We know, it doesn’t help that each university has their own timeline of declaring results and confirmation fees. And waitlists can really test your patience.
The unfairness of forcing your choice, blocking funds and the risk of losing everything you’ve worked for in case you want to wait for a better convert can be frustrating. Having been there and done that, we know it’s also equally scary and a feeling of helplessness settles in as some of your family and friends question your decision either way: if you choose to settle for a particular institution or you choose to wait for a better one, thus letting the options in hand go. For this, we can only tell you to introspect and take a decision you can live with if things go wrong.
You could get help from the current students in institutions, provided you ask the right questions, you would be surprised with the amount of data you could collect at city meets and by personal messaging a few seniors your queries in a comprehensive manner. Reasonable curiosity will lead you to platforms where useful nuggets of information can be found. And honestly, it is purely your choice at the end of the day because A) An MBA costs a pretty penny B) You’re not going to a B-School again. Most people choose to go to a B-School to get them a different career path, so the weight of choosing right this time is all the more paramount. But it may also be true that you don’t feel assured that you know the taste of what is on the table before you are being asked to pick one dish and eat it for the rest of your life.
It’s a common confusion and one that you’ll vaguely question even after you’ve decided: Your stream/domain. One aspect of it is that should your research not fit what you’re actually being taught, you’re trapped in a specialized field and it’s going to be extremely difficult to switch. The other is that you could have a deeper knowledge in an institute with a reputation for a defined stream. The easy way out tends to be generalized institutions (where you could study subjects of all domains for the first year and choose your domain in your second year) but of course, the real answer is…you. Only you can read up on the internet about various streams, talk to relatives or mentors who are in the field, maybe take an online course or browse YouTube- the bottom-line is, you’ve got to stop worrying and try to get as much information as you can to see what you like. As a convert, you will be privy to more information than the regular aspirant so make use of it.
However, a pinch of caution is advised when it comes to Placement Reports and the fact that it is never advisable to make a decision about a B-School solely on the basis of that report.
Getting placed in a good company is not an unreasonable expectation to have out of a B-school; you know you have toiled like crazy for it. But consider the following: How many Top B-Schools exist in India today? Does this country need this number of B-School graduates every year?
So does the above answer mean that life is not “set” even after getting into such a glamorous B-School? Contrary to what people believe, the answer is no, and yes. Let me explain: Business school is very definitely a magnificent place to be, but it is the people who make it so. It is the opportunities you try, the risks you take, the mistakes you make, the times you bounce back after a let-down (there will be many of that). It is easy to become complacent once the routine is established, but you’ll have to earn your place, whether it is a job, a club/committee, competitions, and the thousand opportunities that will be available to you, if you open your eyes and keep your brain in your head and your heart in your chest. Network with elegance, if placements keep you up all night. Do you have no work experience? Take up live projects, or even better, bring them on campus yourself. Show them that you can take up leadership positions in a way people senior to you have not. You have the power, if only you know how to use it with maturity and tact. Because in the long run, these twenty months will be the most memorable but you have to sacrifice a little sleep.
Of course, the first few weeks are going to be hard, there will be an endless number of things you’ll have to do. You may feel drained, physically, mentally, emotionally. But most of what you do in the hallowed grounds of B-school is worthwhile, and it is important to keep the upward momentum. This is the path you have chosen and you take the good parts with the exhausting- if you’re smart, you’ll eventually find a way to make even that enjoyable. This is the pride of most IIMs (as well as B-Schools of the same league) and also their cross to bear.
We say so, because it’s quite a transition for us as well, to step into the shoes of a senior. Having seen our campus (IIM Trichy) grow every day alongside us, like a living thing, we’ve shared the naturally challenging phase like when a butterfly breaks out of a cocoon. We are in love with what you’re going to see in July 2018, because some of us know what had to pass for it to have this effect on you, Class of 2020. We are proud of how much has happened over the past year, and now we place the mantle in your hands to take this institute to the heights it is intended to. We believe that the Class of 2020 has potential beyond us, and that brings with it your burden of fulfilling our expectations, beginning with the promise of mutual respect and shared perseverance.
Looking forward to welcoming you into our family,
Class of 2019