Three Point Someone

(The tagline of this post goes “What not to do at IIM”) 

Yes, folks. It’s been over a year at IIMB;  my temporary *marriage* to PGSEM continuing quite successfully. *Wiping sweat off brow*. 


I can declare that I have not just been initiated to the world of management, but effectively tainted. I have  graduated to the stage where I can dole out valuable tips on: 

  • How to achieve a zen-like state of calm, when you have
    • 4 term projects (20 pages each) to write, 2 cases (30 pages each) to read, 1 mid-term exam to write for B-school AND
    • 1 proposal (40 slides) to submit, two teams to manage AND 1 cultural event to handle in office AND
    • Several other non-trivial issues to resolve at home (such as your maid doing a disappearing act for a whole week)

all in the span of 1 week (which effectively translates to a max of 10 potential hours that may be used – moral of the story being that no amount of worrying is gonna help you with your f%$#ing backlog) 

  • Which are the best TV shows that enable you to stay awake till 1.30 PM at night, so that you can simultaneously (attempt to) devote your attention to the cases/reading material/exercises/projects. (God bless the creators of Sex and the City, Friends and all T&L shows). 
  • How YouTube is such an incentivizing tool
    • Smart professors who know exactly what your weak points are, have liberal doses of youtube in the classroom sessions, so much so that you are running to attend class at 8 AM on a Saturday, because you get to see all those wonderful videos … *contented sigh*
    • You can devise unique You-Tube rewards to incentivize study hours … say every half hour of study entitles you to 15 minutes of youtube (or for that matter, twitter, google reader, facebook.. you name it ;)) 
  • How you can justify to yourself the phenomenal increase in weight, since it is directly proportional to the amount of MBA jargon that adds weight to your *persona* (take a load of this: “competitive advantage”, “strategic positioning”, “moving up the value chain”, “sustainable ecosystem”, “cost arbitrage”, “network/multiplier effect”… oh boy oh boy oh boy)
  • How time-travel is not a miracle anymore. The moment we 30-somethings step into the IIM campus, we zoom back in time, and are reduced to a babbling set of 16 year olds – yanking our book loads around the campus, furtively eyeing anyone who remotely resembles a prof, bunking classes and hanging around corridors whilst drinking tea and munching on puffs, whispering and passing stuff around in class, sms-ing each other making pointed jokes about… well, our state of stupor… I guess you get the picture :P.
  • How you can become experts at reading a 30 page case in half hour… the secret being that you never read line by line, you see. Train your eyes to pick up only the most striking of words per paragraph, concoct a story inside your brain that *somehow* links all these up, and then elaborately garnish and transfer onto paper. The likelihood of you matching up to what you would have done after an hour and half of intensive study of the case – is 100%. (Cardinal Rule: If you haven’t got it in you, no amount of breaking your brains is going to help!) 
  • How back-to-back classes are extremely useful opportunities – NEVER let them pass by. The second lecture is the most opportune time to
    • Decide on your dinner plans [you could actually spend some productive time romanticizing about how you could potentially go for a candle-lit gourmet dinner accompanied by soft music, with your hubby (no matter if the two of you land up munching on idlis in the nearby Darshini, despite all the day-dreaming) – the time is still well spent!]
    • Make your grocery list
    • Doodle on your/your neighbour’s notebook and draw a) pretty girls b) flower art c) ghastly ghosts d) amoeba
    • Write down the list of songs that you *must* download and save in your ipod
    • Let your mind walk free… and conjure up sufficient gossip or humorous (or humorous-gossip) situations that can be subject for the next tea and biscuits break
    • Feel hungry and grimace (or make going-to-die-of-hunger gestures) at your friends sitting nearby – indicating the tipping of a cup with your hands, as they return understanding nods.
    • (hmmm, … there are so many other productive pursuits…maybe I should make this the subject of yet another blog)
  • How Finance, Marketing, Operations, Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Organizational Behaviour, People Management, Cost Accounting, Economics and Quantitative Methods sounds interesting, only prior to your doing the MBA. Two years of going over the vast repertoire of these subjects , and you’re most likely to do an about-turn and run at the mere mention.
  • How the vast perks of being in an institute like IIMB is that you get to see Entrepreneurial masterminds, Ivy League stars, Political greats  and yes, Aamir Khan 😉

And oh, my list is not yet over, but you sort of get the point. I’m now truly feeling IIM coursing through my veins. 

But what are the real BIG lessons I’ve learnt in this one year (and a quarter that is ongoing…)? Well, that would be these three: 

  • Chetan Bhagat was right. Cooperate to Dominate or C2D as he puts it, does work. Although I haven’t implemented it exactly as described in the book 🙂 but today it inspires me like nothing else. Of the few thousand eureka moments I have had during the one-year stint, the most useful one was realizing that learning Macroeconomics and Operations Management on your own is like pulling a Vampire to your neck and asking him to suck blood. It was somewhere during the middle of quarter 2, when I realized that Macroeconomics was just not a subject you could cram in a day before the exam, while two-timing it with a movie. On the day of the mid-term, considering the (excellent) shape we both were in, one of my newfound non-chaddi buddy and me, decided to bunk a lecture hour and study together. That one and half hour duration may have been my most productive study session ever, because suddenly everything… GDP, GNP, Consumption, Fiscal deficits,  Investments fell into their place in a jigsaw puzzle in my mind, and I was beginning to feel like I had almost authored that book. Over time, the sessions became our most potent weapon. There were 4 of us most of the time, and we spent a bunked class or two or a couple of Sunday hours, to have an intensive study-workout. And the result? I graduated from being a 2 something pointer to a 3 something pointer [4.0 being the max btw :)] and an interesting sprinkling of A’s in my grade sheet. Now do you believe me when I say C2D works?!
  • Professors are precious gifts of humankind (No, I don’t know if any of my profs are reading this right now, and NO, I have not been paid to write this). If you ask me what makes IIMs stand apart, I would say it is the professors. Some of them are this unique combination of excellence, unparalleled dedication and pedigree, and yet totally grounded in their values – honesty, ethics and integrity. A few of our lectures are nothing short of near-theatrical performances that evoke thrills up your spine and leave you mouth-wide-open. No jargon, no bombastic speeches – just pure wisdom and insight. And the humanity aspect at the end of it all is what bowls me over at the end of the day.

I have a story to narrate here: One of my friends was finding it really difficult to manage studies, esp. for one of the conceptual subjects, since she was going through a very rough phase at work. When she got one of her papers evaluated, with the lowest marks she had ever got, and a note to “please call me” from the professor – it was like the worst thing to have ever happened. With considerable amount of trepidation, she called him up, fully expecting to be humiliated. The first thing he said to her is “What happened? Where have I gone wrong? And what can I do for you?”… the voice at the other end a mixture of compassion, sympathy, and deep humane understanding. He said to her – “The marks that you have got are not a reflection of your capability. I know you, I have seen you and I know you have it in you. These marks are a reflection of the fact that I haven’t been able to reach you through my teachings, and is just an indication that I need to try harder. So don’t for a moment take it as failure on your part. We will work through your problem areas, and see what we need to do …. Together”. 

That for me (ladies and gentlemen) was power. The capability of being able to pick someone up from their lowest point and give them a means to reach the top.. something only an educationist-par-excellence can do. 

  • And the final aspect. When I decided to do my MBA, I thought it would help me understand “business”… I remember reading the economic/profit/business sections of newspapers and wanting to know more – and MBA seemed the best way. But now that I have done a year of it all, I don’t think an MBA teaches only business anymore. The course has turned out to be “life education”. Every day of class, there is atleast one moment I wonder why my eyes and ears weren’t open earlier, for the kind of knowledge that I had just come across. I wistfully think of the countless years I spent not knowing so much … the way human beings thought and behaved, the way people survived in different parts of the world, the environment, the ethos of different countries, social responsibility, inspiring leadership, wars, movements, economic ups and downs. I can only say that I have a long way to go to make up for lost ground, but I’m glad I have started.

And I’m looking forward to a year and a half of this enormously exciting journey. It has been great :). Adios Amigos!


29 thoughts on “Three Point Someone

  1. oh..nannaayi IIM onnum kitaathei…hic..hic..;-P
    But atleast i have stayed there at the blore campus courtesy a friend of mine whose dad is a prof there..Prof..Manimala…

  2. Absolutely loved this post! 🙂
    First of all congrats for being part of the IIM. The very fact that you are associated with it, makes you the special one. 🙂
    I can so relate to each n every thing u have written.
    Starting from staying calm when u have oodles of assignments, projects n presentations lined up to rewarding oneself with social networking time/movies/chocolates for studying at a stretch (now that’s another story,the study part will be hardly 10 mins n the other stuff usually takes up most of the time 😉

    Making strange patterns on neighbour’s book during those oh-so-long drawn boring lectures, to dreaming about pointless n fun things with eyes wide open(but also making sure at the same time to nod at the right places to make the lecturer happy!! ), the selective case reading, acting like bubbly over-enthusiastic 15 yr olds..Been there n done all ! 😀

    N oh yes, i have also gathered up on some new n interesting things to do on, all thanks to those amazing tips u have listed out.
    But 1 thing I am absolutely sure of- passing out from an IIM n passing out from one of those ‘just another’ B-school has a vast apparent difference!

    Great write-up!

    • @shruti: I must say the wait was worth it! :).

      As for me being in IIM, well, I don’t think that alone guarantees any aura of speciality :), but I can sure say that I’ve enjoyed every moment of being here. Doing this course was something I’ve had in my mind for a long time, and it’s panned out to be more than what I had expected.

      Hehe, and I can see you are no stranger to the finer nuances of being an MBA :D. Pseudo/Fraud mallus, and now fraud-MBAs eh ;-).

      Even though there is a good deal of day-to-day torture that we (poor little things… *pout*) undergo, I’m sure these are paving the way for some of those “best days of my life” thoughts that we’ll have in the future. So let’s enjoy it while it lasts!!

      And meanwhile, yes, let the lecturer’s be tricked into believing that those nods are really out of pure, unadulterated interest towards the subject of their speciality… *evil grin* :D.

      As for passing out of just-another B-school or IIM, I’ve realized (from the kind of people I’ve met over a period of time, and listening to the best of stories from those who’ve done it all) that these tags do not make a difference on their own. Its what you’ve got in you, how passionate you are about what you believe, and how you choose what you do that will eventually define your destiny. And from what I’ve seen of you… you’ll rock!!! 🙂

  3. are you still in IIMB, i mean, is your course over? I’m in the PGP 09-11 batch.

    oh sorry….loved a couple of posts I could read….keep writing…I’ll definitely be coming back and reading more…. 🙂

    • @Emmanuel: Yes, I am still in IIMB :). Course getting over hopefully at the end of this year. Great to know you’re there too! You’re probably in your core year..right? (and living some of the stuff I said above ..hehe).

      Will bookmark your blog – and yes, do keep coming back! 😉

      • Great! But I can’t confidently say that “We will meet sometime when possible” as I suspect that our schedules don’t match! And I’m really happy that I cam to know abt a PGSEM student thru’ blogs! I know no one as of now as we don’t even get to see them! I’m free after 9.30 on every Friday in this term (Thanks to the electives!!) And yeah I’m living the same you mentioned. But I’m balancing it a bit taking some dent on my CG. But I am really enjoying this life. 🙂

        So just to say a “Hi” in person, if you are free during the time I mentioned, drop a mail to

      • Well, we PGSEM-ers hang around the campus at odd times, yes :), but our classes are Fri-Sat, and I’m usually around there from 8 to 1.15 – after which I am probably the fastest to exit ;-). So yeah, most likely the schedules don’t match!

        Glad (infact, very glad) to hear you’re enjoying it. I’ve realized the same too – if you don’t enjoy this experience, you’re missing on some really good times in your life, so *thumbs up* to that! And I take it that the verdant surroundings, hostel life, sandwiches and noodles at all odd hours, and the exchange students are all contributing to your amazing experience 😉

      • Oh sorry! I didn’t know that. I think you’ll also have to go to work after the class, right? And Saturday mostly you would be enjoying the weekend. I forgot that. So it’s almost a nil possibility. 🙂

        Enjoying life here is one’s choice. There are people who are keen to get out of this as soon as possible. I just don’t gel well with academics only. 😉 Rest are all fine. 🙂 And about exchange students; they have gone all over India and enjoyed more than anybody here. And it’s good to know their culture and such stuff. But being PGP1s, we didn’t interact much with them. Many are saying that they really miss India now after going back. And about the interesting part, we have to be much more advanced to reach their level 😉

        btw, u there in facebook? will add you, if you don’t mind. 🙂

      • Well, that was *fast*! 🙂

        Yeah, I can understand the exchange students part well. Some of them are in my classes – the electives we share with PGP – and oh boy, are they advanced ;-).

        Yes, I am in facebook – I think I’ll pop up in the search as “Shikha Pillai”.

      • By advanced I mean, as people they are more multi talented. Member of pop band, super model (not confirmed yet!), dance expert (knowing some 10-5 variants!) etc. etc….And their dealings in personal level and professional levels are mutually exclusive which I have not seen in us, which I find a bit of an advantage in tough situations. 🙂 And they are more lively and ready for new experiences, places etc. And in lot other aspects, we are much better. Ok. these are all personal opinions. 🙂

        I’ll add you in FB then. Btw, if there is any time you get free and with no work, inform me so that we can chat over a cup of tea.

        Btw, say Hi to your hubby from me. 🙂

        Got to go now….the night is still young and the work starts. 🙂

        Good Night. take care. 🙂

      • Actually, that’s quite an impressive description :). I actually wish I’d gotten to know some of them better. My interactions have so far been quit limited, primarily because of our wierd timings.

        But yeah, typically people from other regions, particularly Europe are always more open to travel and newer experiences. If not thru the program, atleast many of the European colleagues I have, fit the multi-talented, travel-loving profile.

        And as far as getting free, well, you’d more likely spot me on Saturdays around Prabhakar’s tea place :D. But yeah, I shall ask (subtly of course!) about “Emmanuel” – and hopefully will meet you :).

        Hi to hubby registered – will pass it on to him when he turns up home, which should be in about an hour. (trust me, work post MBA is not as exciting as the MBA itself ;))
        ….and finally, ciao :). Happy staying-up-late!

      • a break now…but the night is still young…and lot more is pending 😦

        Saturdays we usually will be in Hostel or go out if no submissions are scheduled. If you can give me a ring or a msg when you are here, there is any chance to meet. But I’m asking too much..I know that it will be according to your convenience and when (if!) you get free here. So, I too just hope to meet you. 🙂

        and post MBA, have one more year in hand..appo aalochikkaam…. 🙂 but seriously, i have heard that it’s not quite charming 😦

        You from St. Teresa’s? just saw in FB. btw, sent a request. You should have been really smart in academics and extra-curriculars then. 🙂 have you gone to MG univ fests where you have REAL fight between Maharajas and St. Teresa’s, if I remember?

        take care. and say a “Hello” now to Binoj. 🙂

      • @Emmanuel: *Sigh*. The travails of an MBA student who’s up at half past 12 and says the “night is still young” … :). Well, I hope you’ve got some sleep at least, although I know that may be too much to expect when submissions are there.

        As for St.Teresa’s, being there was a wonderful experience …although most of my 3 years spent there were not spent as much in fighting with our Maharajas neighbours, as in trying to get my bearings! I was in the Science block, which is famous for housing students who get to do much less creative stuff in comparison to their “arty” Arts block siblings. Esp. being the third batch to do the Computer Applications course, most of the time, we were battling with the needs of the vocational course – having to do a summer project in a s/w company each year and so on. (hmmm, infact, just thinking about it gives me ideas for another blog now … :D)

        Nevertheless, I did get a few opportunities to exploit my creative side ;)..went for a couple of intercollegiate competitions. But, the place where I’ve really been able to hone my skills and explore my passions have been office! (shd explain why I’ve been in one company for 6 yrs now).

        Before this turns into the size of a blog post – Binoj says hi back :). and you take care too! (will find some way of meeting up with you).

  4. Half past 12 and “night is still young” is because of over-procrastination. 🙂 Otherwise, one can manage it perfectly. I follow Time Tables only for classes. 😉 Finally got sleep at 3.45-4 am. had class only at 10.

    Didn’t have a chance to see the college scenario in Kochi, the highlights including Teresa’s, SH, Maharaja’s, Alberts etc as my stint was in Calicut REC. And now here. I think it’s pretty good there, right? 🙂 In a company for 6 years is actually very good, if you love being there. And about your experiences there and past, write more posts on them…. 🙂

    Keep writing. Will definitely be reading new posts from you. And visit mine too if you have time although it sometimes look avial even to me. 🙂

    take care 🙂

    • Well, wordpress is for sure screwing up something, because no matter what the comment shouldn’t have gone and registered itself at no. 5! Anyways, who cares. I get your comments in the right order ;-). I’ll see however what I can do to put it right.

      Over-procrastination – well, I’ve given that term a whole new respectability – what with my constant endeavour to do things only when it is horribly late!!

      The stint at St. Teresa’s was good – yes. I had just finished 12th in a co-ed and before joining the college, I had huge misgivings about how a women’s college would be like. Was all prepared not to like it, but it blew me away in the first few months itself. Looking back at those years, and esp. the kinds of friends I made there… *sigh*, I’m getting SO nostalgic … those were amazing years. Much better infact than my school stint. And the location of st. teresa’s is simply THE best… We used to get out of college and it would be the center of Ernakulam – Convent Junction – and THE most happening places around :). Again, obviously a topic for another blog post given that I’m literally drooling ;).

      I’ve been to Calicut REC a few times. The campus is lovely – have you written about your experiences there anytime? And of course, posts on IIMB… would be something I’ll really look forward to :D.

      And yeah, I absolutely ADORE my job :-). Posts on them? Yeah, I think I’ve attempted something once in the past – wasn’t on the working environment, but one of my theories of life developing. The post is titled “Uniqueness”.

      • I think the previous comments were replies to the 4th main comment including yours and mine. So the fault is mine when I wrote a new comment instead of reply, I suppose. anyway leave that.

        I also used to walk around Convent junction (not for what you may assume 😉 ). I used to go to Broadway church on Saturdays, then walk through Marine Drive to Menaka then to Convent Junction then to Music World in MG Road and then go to south to get a bus back home. I used to walk the whole distance. Even now, I wish to do it but never got a chance after coming to Bangalore. I somehow love Kochi more than Bangalore even though the climate factor tilts the balance heavily towards Bangalore now.

        My shock in Engg. was going from a 9 boys & 31 girls class in 12th to a 65 boys & 7 girls Engg. class!!! I don’t have to explain much, right? btw, for every Ragam (cultural fest of REC) everyone in our campus used to eagerly wait for St. Teresa’s Fashion Show team. Disappointed quite no. of times as you guys used to have exams during that time, I suppose.

        No. I have not written much abt my college. Forgot a lot in midst of new experiences. 😦

        And yeah, I really admire people who like their job. It’s better for you as well as for others too, which in turn help them. btw, I have also worked in Philips for 3 years. One of the memorable periods of my life. 🙂

  5. @Emmanuel: Ah, wonderful :). I love Kochi too… more than Bangalore. Infact, the first two years in Blore, I had nothing but criticisms for it ;). But over time, I’ve gotten to realize that there are a lot of good things about being here. And even though I am not ready to trade my love for Kochi, Bangalore,…er… rocks too :D.

    Aha, work in Phillips eh? Oooo…Competition!! ;). Although, you probably wouldn’t have been in the Healthcare domain? ( the stuff I do in Siemens, you see ). Well, work exp before PGP – should be useful, right?. I’ve always thought it helps to have seen how a real org works before you hear people doling out theory on it!!

    • So Thumbs Up for Kochi! Happy to see a fellow Kochi lover. 🙂 But Bangalore is chic and interesting. I am concerned that the mechanical way of life may happen to Bangalore compared to past, which I don’t want to happen here. 🙂

      I know Healthcare. But I worked in Consumer Electronics. One way it’s useful that I don’t feel much tensed about career and I feel I ‘m a bit matured now after the job experience. In other way, the recruiters have a soft corner towards freshers. But It’s ok. I don’t ponder too much about it. But the mix is great, I should say. Even if I’m not helping someone to learn, I am learning a lot from everyone around me. Wish I have a chance to meet you guys (PGSEM & PGPPM) too:)

      Btw, had celebrations for Makar Sankranti? watched solar eclipse? The sight was good. Seeing one after so long time.

      • @Emmanuel: I guess you already have sort of a clue on how I celebrated Makara Sankranthi… Cooped up in front of the laptop desperately trying to infuse creativity into my project report!! how else :(.

        Solar Eclipse – well, my colleagues in office were all crowded around the window peeking and trying to take pictures of the Orange God himself. Moi? I was running around like a madwoman, trying to get scans of a document that I had to send across to my customer, so as to meet a deadline that was threatening to make me dead. :-). The sun would have been far less interesting than a customer’s orange face, at that time.. trust me ;).

  6. I’m not able to directly reply to ur comment. 😦

    yeah I can understand the feel of deadlines. Actually deadlines increase efficiency considerably. 😉 that’s what I have seen from personal experiences.

    btw, which term are you in, now?

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