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Expert Suggestions on Preparation for Computer Based CAT-09

Business School Battleground View from a Helicopter

- by Sandeep Khanna *

The best place to get the straight scoop about what B-school life is about is from students themselves rather than some "expatriated expert" from a pedigree B-school or some "high-society" magazine who do mumbo-jumbo about the school, faculty, facilities, etc., without experiencing... or rather not living like the soldiers... breathing the same air... and thinking way beyond the regular "individuals".

Great Lakes, like all leading B-schools across the globe, is not only trying to break into the "Big-5" of the B-schools but with determined focus and vision, its beating hollow its competitors and cheap "B-school imitations" who have sprung up across India in the past year or so.

Oops... I started with my own gyan... anyways, let the experts decide the ratings of the schools... and let me give you a snapshot from 5000 feet of life at Great Lakes... tighten your seat belts... sit back and enjoy your ride...

The first question that anyone asks me is, "Is B-school life as hectic as people say?" For me, it's definitely not hectic, but in a way, lots of fun. There are about 50-60 hours of classes per week (excluding the guest lectures... we would get to that in a while...) and study groups, but also the requisite dinner parties and bar nights... But it runs in spurts - sometimes it's very busy, and then there are lots of slower times when it's possible to socialize, relax, and catch up on Zzzzz...

The next trip we take on life away from books... Walking through the Great Lakes campus is an experience unlike any other. This may not be a stately (as of now), elegant thirty-five-acre campus of classic red-brick buildings, tree-lined walkways, and open, grassy courtyards like the ISBs and the IIMs, but yes, the corridors of Great Lakes ooze with energy, enthusiasm, ideas, sparks of brainwaves, the insatiable knowledge banks built into students... the essential ingredients of a par excellence B-school.

The campus serves to strengthen the sense of comradeship at the school, with the belief that the daily interaction of life between students, professors, visiting faculty and guests only increases the potential for learning. There are abundant opportunities to participate in student government and clubs as well as activities that match your particular interests, whether you are looking to find a diversion from academic life or to have a significant impact on the Great Lakes community. Student clubs at Great Lakes are never considered "extra" curricular, because they are an important part of the curriculum and foster valuable opportunities for learning and relationship-building with students outside of the classroom.

The philosophy of Great Lakes becomes a part of students from Day One... we believe that leadership, ethics and values are inseparable. The teaching of ethics here is explicit, not implicit, and our standards of mutual respect, honesty and integrity, and personal accountability are inherent qualities throughout the community. We put this into practice in many ways.

But one "X" factor which makes us very different from other B-schools is the enhanced number of student-industry leader interaction that we have... titled aptly the "Skull Session" where the leaders of tomorrow brainstorm with the Gurus of today... the forum, led by students in partnership with faculty and staff, seeks to broaden the thinking spheres of students away from just theoretical knowledge into an inspirational and integrative program.

We at Great Lakes plan to have over 250 hours of such interaction spread over a year... a few of the luminaries who have visited our campus till now are... Mr. Ratan Tata, Chairman, TATA Group, Mr. Lakshmi Narayan, CEO, Cognizant, Mr. Alok Sharma, Director, Apple India, Mr. Abhijeet Bhaduri, Director HR, at Frito Lays, Mr. Ravindran, Global Head HR Covansys... and this is just the tip of the iceberg... forum is a potent medium where one can explore the idea of authentic, character-based leadership...

Guess this flight needs to land to refuel on some precious sleep...

Hope you enjoyed the flight... see you soon on the next one...

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