Competitive Camaraderie

 | August 26,2013 04:45 pm IST

Imagine a crack team of ace pilots, at a briefing before an extremely dangerous raid behind enemy lines. Although they are all confident that their training will ensure their success, they also recognize the fact that at the end of the mission, some of the people may not come back into the room.

This is very similar to the situation that exists in the waiting room outside the interview chamber during the placements. The pilots have donned business suits and campus placements are on at XIMB.

At XIMB, we believe that the two years that we spend here are essential to build up this competitive camaraderie in every student that passes out.

The competition here is intense. The unpredictable XAT, followed by the stringent scrutiny of the GD/PIs ensures that the students who get admitted here are the cream of the applicants. In fact less than 1% of all applicants actually make it into the final call list.

The admissions are only the beginning of two years of the toughest schedules that can be found in any B-School in the country. In fact the first term at college goes past in flurry of lectures, surprise-quizzes and presentations.

It is during this term that a student gets to build friendships, which go on to become lifelong associations. The wide variety of people that one gets to meet here is unprecedented. For example, the first week that I was here, I was wondering what I was doing in such a place. The guy sitting next to me was in the Limca Book of Records for being able to memorize and reproduce more than a couple of thousand binary digits (?!?!?!???!) in under four minutes. Then there was this girl who had done her Masters in Germany, another guy from Korea, some guy who was a green belt and one who was a Six-Sigma expert. One thing that I realized is that if you are looking for competition, well you will get lots more than you bargained for.

If you look at the work experience of the batch, well, what can I say, but that it's worth looking. With an average work experience of about 27 months, about half the batch has previous work experience. And when I say work experience I am talking about experience in companies like Accenture, Samsung, Oracle, Seimens, IBM… and lots more. There are students who have left jobs paying more than Rs. 600,000 p.a. to join this place.

People generally think of B-Schools as an elevator to the best jobs around. We must admit that with two of our highest salaries at 12 lakhs p.a. and an average salary of around 4.6 lakhs, we do lend credence to such belief. But you have to understand that jobs are not the most important factor that drives most of the people here. In fact it is nowhere near the top. See, the moment you enter XIMB, you are almost assured of a job. The fact that there are people who leave jobs paying more than this to join this Institute does bear witness to the fact that it is more the challenge than anything else that drives the people here. Besides, there are students who even opt out of the placement process to pursue their dreams.

Ask anybody on campus and he will tell you that grades don't matter. But I wonder if it is because grades really don't matter or is it because we have so many tests that people just lose track of grades. Not really. The competition as far as academics are concerned is cut-throat. The relative grading pattern generally followed for evaluation ranks you against the batch and there is no escape. The difference among the grades of the top 10 students would be typically at the third decimal point.

There is continuous evaluation, which simultaneously stretches and stimulates the students to keep pushing the limits of their endurance. Typically in the first term, there would be about 8 papers (out of 40 in the entire course) and one may expect anything from 4 to 8 quizzes and assignments in each paper. Most of the quizzes being surprise quizzes, there can be no excuse for not being upto the task as far as studies are concerned.

In fact, excuses are something that are categorically discouraged in any field at XIMB. But then, there need be no excuses when it comes to enjoying campus life here. If students here work hard, then they play harder. With the campus located bang in the middle of the hospitality district, restaurant hopping is an experience that can be matched only by the in-house disco that is setup during the JLT parties. Homegrown deejays stir up the place with the grooviest tracks and the dance floor sizzles. It is not unusual to have parties lasting all-night into the wee hours of the morning.

But then it is also not impossible to come back from an all-night party and read a notice on your desktop, from the Marketing Prof, declaring a quiz on Kotler. It is in moments like this that the students tend to think less kindly about the hard-wired campus, with a full-featured Academic Information System, on the fibre optic LAN. One tends to think that with talk of future batches being provided with laptops, will they ever be able to escape from the consummate competition.

Again, no excuses. Long Live Competitive Competition.

Contributed by -
Maloy Patnaik,
Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar.