IIMB Dear Diary | The Story so Far.....

Prasar Sharma | August 05,2010 04:34 pm IST

This is a weird place. I came here so that I could be a rich and successful man when I got out of here.

At least, be on the way. But, the question that now comes to my mind -as I write this at 5 in the morning, well beyond my normal sleeping time of 4:00 am -is this – Now that I am here… how do I manage to get out? Hmm…. gives rise to an interesting thought: “ To manage or not to manage” is the question that most of us are already asking ourselves. There is this very sick PJ about being at IIMB (or whichever “top 10 B School” you are at). When you get through, you are on top of the world – you’ re special – a winner.


But, when you actually get here, you realize that everyone else also got through. Most people end up wringing their noses or scratching their heads when they hear this. But out here, you realize that it is you that is the sick PJ. Not what you said.


Make no mistake. This is a great place to be. The facilities are great. The Profs are amazing. That is what our seniors say. To me this is no short of hell. One-way ticket it seems to me. Sample this. I get up at 8 in the morning. Go to class without breakfast. Have lunch at 12:30 and then spend most of the afternoon sleeping. Study in the evening. Break for dinner at 8. At 9 it is back to the books. And sleep at 4 in the morning. And that is my regular schedule. The culprit as every IIM wallah knows is RG.


As soon as you enter the hallowed portals of an IIM, the first piece of jargon that you are introduced is RG – Relative Grading. Which in simple English means that you could have scored 90%, but the grade you get depends on how many people are in front of you. Imagine a situation where you got a B with a 90, just because half the class got more than you! You realize pretty soon that people are not telling you the truth about what they did. And though not widespread, they are giving you wrong answers to questions to make sure you get that one mark less.


Isn’t this a very depressing picture? Is this what you never expected could be happening at an IIM? Unfortunately it all does. But, that is just to tell you people with stars and management dreams in your eyes that it is tough. I just wanted to make sure that when you stepped into an IIM, you would know what to expect. Don’t be blissful. We all thought that clearing the CAT was the hard part. We were corrected in about 3 days after coming here.


But, then a lot of it is also in perception. I came here from REC Surat. That is a college where you end up with a great job after studying for like 60 days in 4 years and not even knowing your profs faces until you end up actually answering a viva to them in the end sem examination, It is also a college where you have exams only once in a sem and not every third day. Most people that go there ought to be smart – they coolly take up a job in some big company and get settled in life. But, then there are also fools like me who look for the “better things in life”, slog their asses out and land up in IIMB.


I’ll let you in on a secret. I made the choice of coming to Bangalore because the city was great. Cal was too far and Lucknow was too hot. Besides, Bangalore had the nightlife. But duh, I have not been to the city once in the last 68 days I have been here. How do you spell it? P-U-B??? Oh, then they said that IIMB had the most amazing women. The women that I always dreamed of as I went around REC Surat praying to be delivered from the drought. First day at IIMB: Voila! It was true. Women at last! This was going to be fun.


I was already imagining all sorts of stuff. You always do when you come off 4 years in a class with 30 guys and not much more. But, dreams they say end soon. Mine did the next day. That was when I realized that all those angels that had lit up my life for the last 24 hours were those that had graced this place a year back. As far as our batch went, it should suffice to say – to put it diplomatically – there were no angels. Was I depressed??


But that was because class had not yet started. The big picture had only started to unveil itself. We belong to a batch that is one-fourth IIT. Bad? More than half our batch has work experience. Hah! And there are only 21 women. To be a guy like me – fresh out of an REC, no work experience, looking for visual stimulation and to enjoy two years out here is what is spelt b-a-n-e by the best dictionaries. And what is worse is that summer placements are coming up in a month. We’ve got all the biggies lined up just waiting to “lap up the best talent”. If you were me, you’d know exactly why the part in the inverted commas depresses me.


Not to say that it is the end of the world though. For people like me (and don’t be mistaken there are many), we have what we affectionately call the ‘Learning Mode’. That is our answer to the RG’s of the world. We are not here for grades. We are here to learn. That is our philosophy. The whole point is that we are reconciled to the fact that if not JP Morgan, we could always turn to our friendly neighborhood paanwallah and setup JP Murugan. We have an answer to everything. You can’t knock us down. At least not until the day you go to Lehman and we, to Andhra Dairy.


So my dear diary, till we meet again (and don’t get your hopes too high). Adios.


Prasar Sharma is IIMB Alumni. He is Business Strategy Development & Implementation expert with 10+ years of experience of in-depth research and analysis including stints with 3 of the largest banks in India.Now a parallel entrepreneur associated in lead capacity with multiple h...