The True Failures Of A B-School Student
The society we live in distinguishes between failure and success, mostly in black and white. Taking an example from cricket, if you make it to the national team, you are a success. Your pictures would be marketed, promoted, decorated, garlanded, worshipped and sometimes, even burnt. However, if you rigour for almost 20 years in the domestic circuit, without a call from the national selectors, you are most likely to die in obscurity.
In academics, if you make it to the top technical, medical or business schools, you are a success. On the other hand, if you have a proper education from a not-so-popular institute, you would, most probably, be written off as one gifted with huge potential, yet who couldn’t make it big.
To all friends out there, here is a confession from a student, who despite belonging to one of the more recognised business schools now, has largely been a failure. I have failed in many aspects of life and career, here goes the list:
1. Academics: I couldn’t clear IIT JEE on two attempts. I attended one of the best schools in the country (as they claim), before moving to the JEE preparation town of Kota. Yet, all I could manage was a call from one of the better established private institutions in Kolkata.
2. Listening to the heart: I didn’t follow my heart. I wanted to study literature and had no idea what engineering was all about. It, more or less, remains that way even one year after graduating from college. I failed miserably in the sense that I didn’t learn anything related to engineering and was consistently mediocre.
3. Writing/Documenting: In January 2014, I had a chance to meet the historian I adore. His only advice to me was, “It’s good that you read History, try to write as well”. Writing gives a better perspective and clears the thought process. It’s been three years and I have only been an occasional writer.
4. Convincing: I couldn’t convince my parents what exactly I wanted from life. I followed the herd. In 7 interviews, I couldn’t convince the interviewers why exactly I wanted to do an MBA. It was largely because I was myself not sure enough and didn’t have a long-term vision.
5. Friendship/Relationship: In my journey, I have been lucky to have some true friends. Yet, I have lost touch with many of them. I hold myself entirely responsible for this. I have fallen in love; I have been loved back as well. Still, I find it difficult to know what exactly the other person wants.
6. Sports: I was once awarded a medal for being a part of a soccer team that won the inter-house competition in school. However, my major contribution to the team’s cause was from the bench- warming them and cheering my teammates. Later, I also went through the tenuous task of washing my muddy shoes. And this was the closest I went to winning something in sports.
7. Connecting: I was an oblivious student in my undergrad college for a major part of the four years I spent there. Actually, I liked it that way. I liked to imagine myself as the art-loving swan among the technical crowd. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Despite all these failures, despite being a nobody for so many years after school, I decided not to give up. I didn’t lose hope. The biggest lesson I have learnt from History is that nothing is permanent. When you are on a high, avoid hubris. When nothing goes as per the plans, wait till the right opportunity comes. I am a huge believer of the Alchemist, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Last May, I had converted a reputed b-school, but I wanted to be in an IIM. Though it came late, I did get the call well in time for me to switch over. On many occasions, I have been written off as lazy, however, deep within I always knew that I am not. I just needed to align my interests with my work. Although I failed so many times, I smile more often than not. Well, it’s an attempt to align my character to my name. 😉
I love to help, albeit selectively. If you have been reading this till here, I guess, you would now be feeling confident enough since if I have made it, anyone can.
Let me warn you here. No one ever makes it. It’s a continuous journey, where you need to be on your toes, always. If you slow down, rest assured that you will fall behind and it’s very difficult to catch up later.
Finally, taking a cue from Dickens, “If the winter of despair is here, can the summer of hope be far away?”
About the Author:
Joydeep is a first-year student at IIM Rohtak and the President of the Public Relations Cell. He is passionate about cricket and loves reading about History.