World class in India - IIM Kozhikode

 | October 30,2010 01:25 pm IST

The experience at an IIM is humbling, to say the least. When I was admitted (makes it sound like an maternity home, but every aspirant has pangs, similar to pregnancy, so its not completely off the mark) to the "sanctum sanctorum of the temple of learning", I felt I was on top of the world and also the best in the world.


I forgot the Newtonian principle of "whatever goes up has to come down", but was nevertheless brought down to earth with a thud, very soon. The first few weeks are invariably spent in finding out people with common tastes and interests, but there are hardly any. It is the same for everybody. Variety is the norm at the IIMs. Anyone with pretensions about one's own capabilities is bowled over by diversity of the human species existing at the IIMs. There are aces in every field you can dream of sharing common space.


The weeks that follow leave you with the realization that you could not have asked for better. You are being constantly reminded that you are one of the very few who have made it, not fully deserving though, because there are lot many people who are more deserving and yet left out. I wonder why - because those who made it were supposed to be the best among equals, right? But later, I learn that my being admitted to the IIM was the result of another principle, that "Exceptions prove the rule."


The IIM journey is a roller coaster ride. Just when you think you can relax, comes another spate of assignments and projects, so much so that your planner is more tightly packed than the busiest film star's call sheet. Being out of touch with classroom learning for quite a while and out of touch with learning itself for a long time, people do find it tough to hold a giant-sized Kotler textbook. But it is part of the game and there are moments of respite. For those who are used to being taught and said what to do, the IIMs proffer the greatest nightmares. Everything at the IIMs is seemingly haywire and there is a lot of stress placed on personal responsibility (whatever that is). But there definitely is sense of order amidst chaos. After all, even in the cosmos, the big bang theory says, chaos is followed by order.


It takes about a term (3 months) to understand what is expected of you and another to know what is not. Once you find a comfortable niche for yourself, it looks like you have settled down comfortably. Well, I said, "it looks like", because the truth is that you graduate before you settle down. More so at IIM Kozhikode, because we had to settle down twice. We made the move to the much talked about new hill campus early this month.


We have started to realize that we have a tremendous USP in terms of the trendy Kerala-styled new campus. Located in a hill near the serene southern city of Calicut, the IIM Kozhikode can pass off as a resort. It is true that we were a bit sceptical about moving to the new campus. But after having moved, we really feel that IIM Kozhikode has arrived.


The campus is definitely comparable to some of the best in the world. The facilities are slowly coming up, the grandest of them being the open-air auditorium. The recruiters and industry people are really bowled over by the campus and the facilities. The alumni are happy and sad - happy that the Institute has moved, sad that they did not have the chance to stay in the new campus. IIM Kozhikode is young no doubt. But it has the audaciousness to try new ventures. All the other Institutes are emulating its e-MEP. Its centre of excellence is engaging itself in encouraging students to give back what they have got from society.


For me, it was not an easy decision to join the IIM. Many of my relatives and friends, knowing my academic acumen, actively discouraged me from joining an IIM. To them an IIM was some place where "the most intelligent end-up being". I did not fit the bill. Some MBAs friends from local institutes took the other path saying "IIMs are Indian Institutes off management". All this left me confused whether I was making the right choice. But I decided to lunge ahead, consoling myself that I had nothing to lose in any case. And the truth is: I have lost a lot, a large chunk of ego and a lot of weight.


I have to thank my dear friend Gaurav (Agarwal) for prodding me to write this piece. I told him that an IIM does not need publicity, but he brought me back to reality by asking me to visit


Contributed by -
PGP , IIM Kozhikode.