In the summer of 2016, I was gleefully overjoyed and mind-numbingly confused. I secured admission into two of my dream colleges and had to make the hard decision of choosing between one of them. What made the decision harder was that they both were sectoral colleges with two-year focused programs. I had an interest in both specialisations, loved both the campuses, each one of them being a name to reckon with.
Now I knew better than to treat this sweet dilemma as a bane rather than as a gift, and that’s exactly what I did. Here is a checklist of things that helped me arrive at the decision:
· Will the platform provided by either of these Institutes help me achieve my larger goals in life, other than giving me the best education? – I have always nurtured a keen interest in social sciences and was involved in some community initiatives as well. TISS Mumbai being one of the top social science Institutes in India, it was going to let me explore this aspect of my interest. TISS Mumbai also has a history of actively engaging with communities and taking up grassroots work. So bottom line for me was that, apart from studying HRM&LR, I would also get to experience TISS Mumbai, this gave it a brownie point from the very beginning and was one of the important factors of consideration for me.
· Testing Waters – Prior to TISS Mumbai, I had 11 months of sales experience in a start-up. It’s an emerging start-up with a vibrant and home-grown culture of its own. I wanted to experience the corporate world before I took a plunge into a full-time job and see for myself how I fared. TISS’s unique pedagogy of having 4 compulsory internships + 1 summer internship+ 1 NGO internship, would give me the necessary exposure to the corporate life. I can undoubtedly say today that I have a fair idea of my likes/dislikes and possess certain skills and outlook to wade through the waters of the corporate world.
· Genuine interest in the course and opportunity to play to my strengths – The idea of HRM, the impact it has on organisation and people, always appealed to me. One of the things that drew me closer to HR was that, the work done in HR in terms of organisational outputs and impact on people is very much visible for one to see, seeing the value that my work creates first hand is something that always motivated me. Secondly, I believe I possessed few of the skills required to be an HR manager at the outset, and found these to be in my comfort zone. I wanted to maximise on my existing skill set, play to my strengths and begin my journey to gain the full breadth of skills required to be a successful HR manager over the two years at TISS.
· Small Class Size –The intake at TISS Mumbai for HRM&LR is 60-70 students per year. Such a small class size is almost unheard of in the b-School world these days. There are too many perks of a small class size, individual and focused attention from the professors, knowing all of your classmates closely as friends and not just as a fellow ‘batch mate’, a culture of collaboration that overtakes the competition, truly learning from peers are some of the few from the top of my mind. I knew my TISS experience would be incredibly personal and rich with memories due to the small batch size, it definitely swung my decision in favour of TISS Mumbai.
Some more essential Gyan – In arriving at my decision, I spoke to the students, alumni and many other industry professionals. Each and every one gave me a reason for and against each of my choices, what I believe truly helped me arrive at a choice and importantly let me be at peace with it today, is the fact that I was able to pick up inputs and contextualise them to my needs, background and aspirations for life. This I believe, is the most important element in making the decision, what is the right choice for me could be a blunder to you and vice – versa, one needs to be always, always aware and remember this at all times.
The trap of TISS ROI – TISS Mumbai is famous (infamous?) for its ROI. ROI is a wonderful wonderful thing, having said that, letting that be the sole parameter that makes the decision, could prove to be utterly fatal. Why would the most wonderful thing be fatal, one might ask? Because HR ain’t easy buddy! HR can be the most fun and easy for some, and the most painful and boring for some others. For most of us, masters will be our last shot at academics and the accompanying way of life it brings. I hence urge aspirants to factor in the opportunity cost, interest in HR, affinity for the Institute and avenues it provides while arriving at a decision and not just the ROI element. ROI is instant gratification while wisdom is for life, please choose smartly.
About the Author:
Baptised TISSIAN to be christened HR Manager. Avid reader, wannabe prankster and novice writer. Life’s philosophy is to live a calvin and hobbes-isque adventure set in the rustic Malgudi.