In a residential b-school campus, normal body clocks go awfully awry. Most students spend their hours immersed in assignments, case-studies, team-meetings and studying for surprise quizzes. Boring tasks such as dining, lunches, bathing etc demand time too. The first few months are often drowned by hectic schedules, intense rivalry for grades, killing deadlines imposed by placement committees all this while, one is trying to stay afloat in the classroom.
In fact, now, when I look back, I distinctly remember that sinking feeling sitting in the Accounting class trying to comprehend the confusing world of debits, credits, t-balances, dividends and other new concepts. It was an unpleasant experience to say the least. In short, one is pretty occupied in the first few months of their coming to a b-school. One doesn’t get a lot of time for oneself.
So, imagine my horror when one day, I see my classmate Arun sitting quietly in the library trying to solve a case which was not due till the next week. You see, most assignments were worked upon the Just-in-Time philosophy. Front-logging was considered a crime!
“Hey Arun, Wassup! How come you are doing this Pine Valley case? It is not due till next week!” I asked
“Yeah, I know. But section C has to submit this case tomorrow. And you know na, – Sujata requested me to help her …so I thought I will help her” he meandered off quietly
“Hmm…Sujata requested you. Nice. So you are like her Prince Charming now?” I teased him a bit.
“Arre-nothing like that” his dark complexion managed to blush a shade of pink pride at being chosen by Sujata to help her.
Sujata - The prettiest girl of section C had chosen Arun, the CA and Accounting champion from section B to ‘help’ her. It always starts off like this – innocently. A request for helping leads to a coffee shop outing. Before one knows it, a symbiotic relation soon evolves. He helps her in her studies; she will go out on long walks and coffee trips with him. He will do her homework and she will pamper him, fuss over him, and ask him if he had lunch/dinner, giving him an ego-boost.
Unknown to Arun at that point was the fact that Sujata had also requested for similar ‘help’ from Deven (section D) and Paritosh (section A) in other subjects. All this time, Sujata managed to gain the most important resource scarcely available in those first few months - the luxury of time. She had the time to focus on her resume, spend more time speaking to her long-distance boyfriend, research on the companies coming to campus for internships and quietly study to bolster her weaker subjects.
It is a tough world out there. I have seen good looking boys and girls often take advantage of their charms to get their way. The prettier girl, the more suitors she has to choose from. Mind you, these good looking folks are every bit as smart and as intelligent as the rest of their peers. But they have mastered the fine art of getting their work done…. And in a business school, just like in real-world businesses – One is only measured on their ability to get the work done.
I don’t believe this happens everywhere. I don’t believe that only pretty women get their way around. I believe that charming blokes also indulge in behavior just as often. I don’t think there is anything wrong in this. It is a tough world out there and no one is dumb in this game. Yet, at the same time, not all the good-looking men and women go in for such ‘arrangements’. In fact, most of them succeed and sustain themselves by the dint of their hard work. Thus, it may irritate them the most when they see another pretty girl taking a short cut to achieve the same results.
It is tough for those who fall for this ride. Perhaps some of them have a flair for emotional masochism while some of them suffer from the good temperament of irrational exuberance and annoying self-optimism. They can’t help but fall for these kindred souls.
Yet one cannot take anything away from these good looking charmers because they realize that they have to eventually pull their own weight, write their own exams and give their interviews so they quickly get up to speed albeit, with a little ‘help’ from friends and fools :)
There is something immensely magnetic about such charmers. We all fall for them one time or another. We want to help them succeed. We want to be a part of that joyride. The only real question is – are we doing it willingly and being completely aware that there is a very slim chance that these charmers will want us in their lives after when we have served our utility and are now as useful as an empty bottle to a drunkard ?
It is true that such things are not and cannot be taught or told at any B-school. However, one does not need to experience it to learn about it.
A Simple Trick – Use your brains and exercise common sense. Don’t get manipulated and think hard before deciding to ‘help’ a damsel in distress else it might be more than what you bargained for…
Raheel did his MBA from a well-known institute of management in western India. He believes that everyone is a genius but if you measure a fish by its ability to climb a tree, you will find the fish to be pretty dumb!
About Alternative Mavericks:
“Alternative Mavericks”, weaves different stories to present unconventional viewpoints which challenge the readers to not accept everything at face value. Raheel has completed his MBA from IIMA. He loves working on new ideas and is constantly coming up with new ways to solve old problems.
*The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of InsideIIM.com.