The learnings in a B-school environment are not solely knowledge-based; they are experience-based, environment-based, and career-based. Being in a B-school environment teaches you how to lead. Every day provides millions of learning opportunities, and every hour offers a new experience. It all comes down to what you want to absorb and how much you can remember.
Speaking from my experience completing the first year of my MBA at IIM Nagpur, I can say that academic learning focuses on application rather than theory. It challenges you to question your thinking style, which is tuned to solving the problem instead of solving the root of the problem. Each class presents a new chapter of your learning to solve a problem that you have probably never seen before using a method you have never heard of before to achieve something better than what you thought of before.
In addition to academic learning, peer learning is an essential part of the B-school experience. The diversity of IIM Nagpur, like most other B-schools, will challenge you to communicate with people from various backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, and opinions. It is your opportunity to communicate and put across your point in the best way possible. Sometimes, in the process, you'll learn new things; other times, you'll have to accept the other person's point of view and support it like it's yours. This experience is essential for team-building and a foundation for being an influential leader.
Furthermore, time management is crucial in a B-school environment. It would be best if you worked in teams; different teams have different tasks, all running in parallel. Sometimes, you'll have the privilege of choosing your teams, and other times you'll have to make do with the teams assigned to you. To work as a team where there is no leader, no subordinate, and a need for equal work distribution, varied schedules, and priorities of team members, you must figure out how to plan tasks effectively and make time. Occasionally, it would be best if you were assertive to get the work done and to ensure that schedules are respected. As a team, there will always be internal dynamics that cause friction, but dealing with all that while also achieving tasks will be challenging, especially when you want to maintain good relations with all team members.
In addition to academic and team learning, you should take advantage of numerous opportunities in a B-school, such as hackathons or case competitions for CV development or community development as a member of a club/committee, leadership roles in the student community, etc. Both offer a vast multitude of learning opportunities, but they also have the potential to make your already hectic schedule far more cumbersome.
This is why people often say that "IIM never sleeps." It is not because B-schools have a rigor that does not let you sleep. It is because B-schools offer so many opportunities that you will not realize how time flies as you develop yourself. At the end of the day, everyone comes to a B-school to learn as much as possible and achieve their goals.
In conclusion, the most important learning for a B-school student is to learn to deal with every situation sensibly. It is about dipping your toes into everything and getting the most out of every opportunity.
Thank you for reading, and I hope this article has given you some insight into the unique learning experience of a B-school.
Shashank S Jodge is pursuing an MBA from IIM Nagpur, a batch of 2024. In his first year, he was a member of the Strategy and Consulting Club and the Readers' SIG of IIM Nagpur. During his second year, he will be serving as a member of the Students' Academic Body of IIM Nagpur. Shashank has close to 3 years of work experience from Deloitte USI Consulting as a Cloud Engineering Consultant. Currently, he works as an Information Security Analyst at Synclature as he pursues his summer internship. Before MBA, Shashank studied B.Tech with a major in Electronics and Communication Engineering and a minor in Computer Science Engineering at PES University, Bengaluru.