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Expert Suggestions on Preparation for Computer Based CAT-09

Third Week at IIM-A

- by Vinamra Srivastava *

"If I tell you the average depth of this river is 1 m, will you cross it by foot?"

The HR Professor asked us in a commanding tone to make us understand that averages do not give the true picture and it's the spikes that practically determine a course of action.

The class was silent, and suddenly, out of the blue, the Professor looked at one guy and signaled him to answer... We all were expecting an obvious answer, and the guy said, "No sir, I will not cross it by foot... I will get wet!!!" 

The entire class burst out laughing... We all couldn't control ourselves... amidst this serious discussion, here comes a whacky answer that lightens the mood. The Professor too joined in the laughter and we all laughed for quite some time... The Professor, also amused by the answer, doled out to him... ha ha ha !!!

This is how the week started for us... The first class of HR on Monday! Actually these HR classes are really great... I never thought this subject would be interesting... but the Professor is so great, he makes the subject so lively... he gives us anecdotes, cracks lots of jokes and is really an expert on the subject... Makes us analyze seemingly simple things in great detail. You have to be really alert in his class because he randomly picks up people to answer stuff... and if you haven't prepared for the class, you are in serious trouble. But even then, the classes are good fun because of the exciting way he teaches.

Monday went fine... Accounting classes take a toll on me, and I as usual, struggled to keep pace with the class. Tuesday afternoon after lunch we reached the mess and the deadly notice board awaited us... "There will be an OM quiz today at 2.30 pm in the respective classrooms." Bang!!! There goes my lunch... Came back to my room to refresh for the quiz. I wont go into the details of how the quiz went. In a nutshell, tough is the only way I can describe it.

Little did we know this is going to be the trend for the entire week? For four days on the trot, till today, we had four consecutive surprise quizzes. A quiz notice is put up on the notice board in the mess and also a mail is sent at about 12.00 noon informing all the students about the quiz to be held at 2.30 pm. So what happens in the class is that once the class gets over at 1.10 pm, everyone flocks to the computer kept in the class and one guy checks his mailbox to see if there is a quiz notification mail or not. So it has become a ritual for the class now... everyday at 1.10 pm, gather at the PC to check for the quiz mail!!

Ha ha ha... I have in a way started enjoying this entire ritual now... The quizzes are super tough is one thing... How I fare is another... But this entire excitement, this uncertainty... I have got used to all this now and we have started expecting a quiz every day now...

I think the surprise in the "surprise quiz" is now redundant... In fact we get surprised if there "isn't" a quiz any day!!!  

So it has been a tiring week that went by in a flash... it seems only yesterday that I had gone to my uncle's place! We have now experienced the pressure of having four continuous quizzes... so it all is a great learning experience. We are surely learning how to handle extreme pressure, how to stretch ourselves to the limit... And I tell you, you wont realize how much your body and mind are capable of!!! We always underestimate our capabilities... this place makes you aware of them.

This week also continued my changed attitude towards life here. I am much more relaxed about things in general. I know I am bad in Accounts, but I try not to get too perturbed because of it. I have been talking to people regularly on phone and realized it's a great stress buster... I am getting used to this life now and have stopped cribbing about the workload... On the contrary, I am enjoying the process now and trying to understand its tremendous benefits. The load and pressure is here to stay... its up to me to decide how I look at it... And I have decided to be positive and take every load, every quiz result, and every pressure in my stride... And I can already see the effects!!!

There was a birthday in the dorm early this week and it was great fun... There is a great tradition at this place to celebrate every birthday in the dorm style... It is a wonderful experience, you tend to forget all your load and just enjoy the celebration. There is an elaborate procedure that is followed to celebrate every birthday, and it ends up being a great affair!

My sleep hours varied vastly this week. One day I felt so sleepy at 12.00 midnight only and went to sleep, only to get up at 5.00 am to complete my preparation for the next class... Another day I was awake till 4.30 am and was fresh enough to carry on for more... Yesterday, however, I slept at 12.00 midnight and didn't have the stamina to get up early... Got up at 8.00 am... My longest ever sleep at this place... I felt so so guilty... I compromised on studies to get some more sleep... You generally don't do this here... And I know I probably won't be able to afford it anytime again!!!

We have got an Operations Management group assignment where we have to do a study on a service-based organization and analyze its operations and suggest changes. The report is going to be submitted next Monday and I know it's going to be a tough week ahead to manage the regular studies with this project work.

We will be going out of campus to complete the assignment... And we have to manage this in our non-class hours... So it's going to be one heck of a job... But its also exciting and I hope we make a good job of it!  

Whenever any Professor teaches in the class, he invariably gives practical examples from his consultancy experience or his stints with high profile firms... and you can't help but admire the competency level of these people... They are gods, and every word they say is full of weight and wisdom... and humour too. I have noticed this... they all have funny side to them, which makes their sessions even more interesting!

There are going to be elections for various posts here next week and early next month, there will be the much-awaited T-Nites, about which I will tell as the time comes... So all in all, lots of exciting stuff in store for us apart from everyday study load and the not-so-frequent quizzes... Nearly everyday is a quiz day now!!

LKP is the famous landmark in the campus, which usually features in all the photos of IIM-A in media... It surrounds huge lawns and the sight of LKP and the library with huge circular arcs is awesome when you sit down in the lawn... I sat in the lawns few times in the night to study and the feeling is awesome... You feel so powerful to be sitting at this historic place, yet so meek to realize the big names that have sat here, and in comparison, your own miniscule self worth!!!

Its weekend now... and no WAC report submission But there's the OM assignment for which we will have to go out tomorrow... and then there is lots to catch up on studies front... lots of backlog to cover... But it's still a bit relaxing! There's no immediate pressure... You can always catch up on sleep... people are relaxing right now... some are playing football, some badminton, some strolling, some gone out to shop or some are just pure sleeping!!!

Whatever it is, we are all bonding now. Bonding as a family, understanding each other's woes, helping them out, sympathizing on the quiz load and smiling together in spite of all this, chatting and relaxing on the intranet and doing all sorts of masti!!

That's the only way we can sustain this load...  

Going back to that Monday morning HR class... one statement the Professor said stuck me... He asked a guy about the World Cup and he didn't know anything about it... the Professor said, "Mugging all day is one thing, but if you guys as budding managers do not keep pace with what's happening in the world, what good are you achieving in life... So be aware of the world outside this campus... spend time in other activities... don't have a on-track focus only on studies... and if you want, you surely can balance your time for other activities."

And since then I have realized, it isn't really that difficult to spend 15 minutes a day pouring over the newspaper and another 15 minutes chatting to a friend...

Its all time management... and whether you like it or not, this place teaches you this in the best possible manner!!!

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