The Roller Coaster Ride To XLRI – Suman Saha, XLRI

I remember two years ago sitting there on the usual last bench of my classroom supposedly learning electronics and telecommunication engineering, having no idea what I was doing with my life or where it was actually headed. The placement season was about to begin and I lacked the motivation to actually prepare for an IT job. Our beloved Sanghamitra ma’am suddenly walked in. She looked angry and not her usual happy self. Then followed an hour-long verbal bashing for all of us and the crux of the matter was “Please buckle up! Do something about your lives. You all are better than this”. That somehow clicked.

I’m sure most of us would have forgotten that one hour in the next minute or so but that stayed with me reverberating in my ears all day long. I was already taking classes for these MBA examinations at a renowned coaching center of the city. But it was more like a stroll in the evening every Sunday with my close bunch of friends. That changed immediately. The very thought of being a frustrated software developer for the rest of my life was enough to get me going. And hence the journey started.

 

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The Sunday stroll turned into serious four hours in class trying to improve every single moment. Those uncountable hours over Facebook and WhatsApp changed to online materials and mock tests. I was on a roll. I was improving in every single mock test I was giving. The feeling was ecstatic. More ecstatic than Manchester United scoring a goal. I knew I was on the right track. Sure, my engineering studies got a bit disrupted but I didn’t care. I had my goals set. I hadn’t felt this determined ever in my life. Finally, the time had arrived. The hard work and determination had actually paid off and I ended up with amazing scores in all the three exams I had appeared for. (98.48%ile in CAT, 98.68%ile in XAT and 99.54%ile in IIFT). But this was just the beginning.

The roller coaster ride had just begun. It followed a staggering one month of numerous group discussions and personal interviews which drained me both physically and mentally to the core. I kind of realized the battle was more mental than physical. And only the strongest would survive. I kept pushing on. The season of results had arrived and I was freaking tensed. Would all this hard work ultimately give anything? The next month was the toughest. I was waitlisted in about 7 or 8 B-schools including IIM Shillong, SP Jain Mumbai, MDI Gurgaon, IIFT, IIT B and XLRI. The wait was very difficult.

Every day felt like a week. But it was all worth it in the end. That mail from the B-school of your dreams is the most prized possession I had back then. It was XLRI. YES! I had to actually read the mail twice to believe this was actually happening. Being a general engineering fresher, my chances were as low as it could get but somehow the things just fell into place. The first thing that came to my mind was that one hour of being reprimanded that day in the classroom. Had that not happened who knows where I’d be now!

Having completed the dreaded first term here in XLRI, I can safely say that this has been an experience of a lifetime. This shapes you as a person. This makes you so clear professionally and to some extent personally as well. You learn to think with a clear mind about what you want to do with your life. I ended up getting a coveted internship offer at JPMorgan Chase. Along with that, I kind of sorted out my personal life as well which was going through a huge storm before coming here.

Cheers to XL! Cheers to the best B-school you can ever think of! And as they say, “Happiness has its own way of taking its sweet time.”

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