Through The Looking Glass – My Take On The MBA Life
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr
Truer words have not been spoken, when one comes to consider the whole experience of the journey through an MBA college. It metamorphoses you. It is a love-hate affair with which you flirt, during the 2 most unforgettable years of your life. It puts many things in perspective as you are pitted against a mind-numbing diversity. You may end up sitting in the same class with a national-level sports player, someone who has cleared the UPSC examination multiple times and a 100 %iler! Moreover, there could be people who have worked all over the place, right from Adobe and Deloitte to Daimler-Chrysler and Maruti with someone having done a 1.5 years stint in Japan to top it all.
The amount you get to learn, the bonds you forge and the plethora of varied emotions you go through just makes you fall in love with your MBA life. Especially being a fresher (as I am), the life is on a different plane altogether. Staying all your life in your hometown, with everything coming to you on a silver platter, these 2 years is a coming-of-age, of sorts. Fending for yourself, being responsible for everything you have and becoming accountable for every little detail, matures you a lot. I think this is one of the reasons why a fresher’s takeaway becomes so much more, as he/she gets trained for life and the tumultuous journey ahead.
However, be it a fresher or a work-ex holder, the lectures, the projects, the deadlines, the group discussions, the CV reviews and the placement preps, take a toll on one and all. There comes times when you don’t even have breathing space, with the placement season being a period of extreme emotional turmoil and extensive self-review and contemplation. The Day Z junta strutting about, while you run around giving GDs, makes you think about the Marxist theories of class divide (and the choicest insults just run through your mind!).
Another really intriguing concept here is the sessions of adda (the term being one of the side-effects of being brought up in Bengal!) that take place. The range of topics that are discussed is overwhelmingly varied. You can easily come across one group talking about the start-up boom and their future, Trump’s ‘re-negotiations’ of the NAFTA agreement or the way in which Big Data is disrupting the analytics microcosm and another group discussing how they absolutely hate the guy who does DCP in class, or worse, “globes”, (not to sound elitist, but I think the IIM junta will understand what I am trying to say better) and talking about the hottest girl on campus and bringing on the hate for the guy who spoke to her yesterday! (Seagram’s Imperial Blue has put it very poetically: “Men will be Men”).
Any MBA college is incomplete without the project and the assignment groups. What makes it so special is the eclectic mix of people one can find in the group. There is the topper, who is the only one with any clue as to what needs to be done and on whom everyone else’s grades depend. There are the people who are doggedly behind everyone else to work, not because they are quite sincere or dedicated towards the objective, but because they are in dire need of marks to save their grade. Then, of course, come the procrastinators. People who don’t even know (or don’t care) that they have a project to submit unless there are less than 10 hours left, and then as the clock ticks down, divine forces intervene and they put up a German-esque display of efficiency, just meeting the X:59:59 hours deadline (That unique time definition is another brand of the MBA pedigree!). The last and the least (contributing, I mean) are the true loyalists of the brand ‘Free Rider’, vehemently sticking to and practising their tagline: “Bhai iss baar tu karde. Agle baar pakka main kar dunga.”
As I sit in my room, in the month of March, penning down what I have seen and experienced during the first year of my MBA life, I realise that the ‘summer of change’ is coming. A new crop of aspirants is gearing up for their interviews, with the singular objective of becoming one of the MBA junta. People of my batch, across campuses, are getting ready for their summer internships, which for many like me will be the first experience working. The seniors are leaving, having earned that elusive (?!) tag of being an MBA. But be it people who are coming, people who are there or people who are leaving, or even people who are thinking of coming to a MBA college, I can say for sure that all the experiences, incidents, trials and ordeals, will add up to make it a very endearing and meaningful journey, at the end of which, as they step out of their alma mater, they will have Bryan Adams resounding in their ears, “Those were the best days of my life…”