Friday, April 24, 2009

1-up at IIMB: A review

Had a good 10-day stay at home after my exams, and then came over to Mumbai. Had no access to internet in the past week, and hence this delay in hitting the blogosphere. Guess the next two months will offer me enough chances to blog (unless I get stuck to ‘Friends’ as I have been recently – I love this degree of joblessness!).

So I’ve lived through one year of IIMB life. Technically, it’s not a year yet, and will not be for two more months. But practically, I guess it is 1-up. Time for some retrospection, introspection and all that. With the junior batch making its choices now, I guess it’s only fair to put up a fairly detailed post on my thoughts on IIMB.

If I think of what I was feeling before I joined IIMB, two major emotions spring up right away:

1. Awe

2. Fear

Now I seem to have lost both :)

I guess it’s natural that one loses awe of something he/she is involved in. Familiarity doth breed un-awe, am not so sure about contempt.

As for fear, I realized very soon after landing here that it was uncalled for. My fear was about the kind of competition here, whether I would be able to survive, whether I would be able to participate in club activities, take up some leadership post, etc. In hindsight, I have been able to do stuff here. My fear earlier arose from a kind of ‘halo’ that I attributed to my would-be peers here. Now that halo’s gone :D

Not to say that my peers here are not noteworthy. Farthest from it. They’re awesome people to be with. Never before have I seen such a concentration of high-octane folks in the same place. Things happen here without much follow-up (more often than not) when compared to the outside world. And they happen with a great degree of quality. People deliver what they promise. I sure think they deserve all the numbers that make up their pay check. Ability-wise, I salute IIMB folks!

But I realized that what makes these people tick is not extreme levels of intellect. Many people here do have that. But what sets my peers apart from the rest is that they are EXTREMELY common-sensical. Everything else follows through. This is the single most important factor I could identify in people. There are other things like ability to work hard, lofty aspirations, great achievements in the past, and so on. But this is the basic unifying factor among the people I see here.

Once I realized this, I got more comfortable with the people here.

And ya.. Most IIMB students are all-rounders with multi-faceted capacities all round the place. Proof: Check the results of all inter-IIM sports meets of the past few years. IIMB has proven undefeat-able! Guess this follows from the selection procedure of the insti – the filtering criteria make sure only the academically consistent are filtered in, and the interview process picks the more well-rounded ones from them. On the whole, what we have here is a set of people who have achieved lots in multiple areas.

While on the topic of people, there are two other categories one would want to think about.

Firstly, the Professors. THEY make the institution, let me tell you. You may go thru the faculty profiles, and you’ll find lots and lots of Profs who are currently defining the policies of the country at the highest levels! Also those who sit on the boards of the Fortune-x00 companies. I consider it a privilege to learn stuff from these people. Especially, I would like to thank Prof. Shyamal Roy for demystifying economics for us all. Considering his degree of involvement in the field (World bank advisor), it’s surprising that he dumbed the subject down to our level. Thanks to him, now I can read a business newspaper without cringing at the abbreviations and their meanings. And Padmini ma'am made half-CAs out of us science & tech grads.

There are quite a few more people like them, who adorn the faculty list at IIMB. Ya, there are a few “bad eggs” too. But they again are (mostly) very knowledgeable people who may just not be able to teach things in the best way. One would get at least one such Prof per term. But one also gets at least one stud-level Prof every term. Fair enough? :)

The other category of people one would be able to meet at IIMB are the industry leaders who come over for guest lectures. In the past year, I have had the opportunity of listening to people like Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Air Deccan Capt Gopinath, Subroto Bagchi (MindTree), R Srinivasan (ITC), James Abraham (BCG), Narayan Ramachandran (Morgan Stanley), Gurcharan Das, Rajiv Chandrashekar, Shekhar Gupta, Vinay Tewari and so on. These are people who are defining the current Business World. Getting to meet them in an academic environ is very enlightening.

This post was only about the people here. Got lots more to say, but the post seems to be bloating up too much. So, rest in the next.