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Expert Suggestions on Preparation for Computer Based CAT-09

"IIM Calcutta: A Student's Perspective"

- by Bikramjeet Sra

I do not know what was the one thing that impressed me most about IIMC before I joined it. It could have been the lake and trees environment or it could have been the round the clock tennis. It was certainly not its reputation for producing managers who can do a quantitative analysis of the Bengali psyche. And after spending a year and a half in this livewire campus, I still cannot decide what I will treasure most.

If a MBA is all you want to do, any management institute anywhere will suffice. But one does not spend the best years of one's life working hard to join an institute that will impose a burden of more courses that will bring back the painful memories of school and college. To the best of my knowledge, IIMC does offer some courses (a particularly conscientious friend of mine has confirmed that there are enough courses to keep one profitably employed for many years) in various disciplines. That brings me to something very important to all IIMCians and something they are very touchy about - Discipline.

The one thing that I have learnt with great difficulty here is that discipline is something that comes from within and cannot be imposed through rules that curb freedom to think and act. IIMC embodies a healthy mix of fierce independence and tolerance. Infact, it actually teaches that. Another thing that can leave an outsider spellbound is the autonomy students exercise in running and improving the impressive IT infrastructure, among other things. That should not lead one to suspect that everyone here is master of his or her destiny and can get up without assistance in the morning, if he does get up after spending the whole night playing games('IIMC's Sepak Takraw' or Footer Volley, as it is called here, is very popular), dancing to the latest pirated songs, or reading all night class notes on Stochastic Processes. But no one is surprised when these revelers and players end up scoring the highest marks in the exams.

Friends who go to the Lecture halls never fail to express the strong feelings they have about members of the teaching faculty. The best thing about them is that most have adapted to the needs of the programme. Completing a course on something most students have not studied at all in their lives in 10 weeks and doing it with passion and effectiveness is something that wins the respect of students and IIMC has arguably the most respectable group of professors in every area. The consultancy work done by them is as inspiring as their teaching style. Our lecture halls are not as detested as elsewhere because they are also the venue for some of the most interesting interactions with exceptional people from the fields of education, business, art and sport.

We have our institutional biases and our rigid beliefs about tradition and rituals but we can rise above them. The strength of IIM Calcutta lies in its wonderfully diverse bunch of students, who are capable of rising to every challenge with trademark chutzpah and who never forget the debt they owe to the invigorating environment and culture that the institute has evolved.Initiatives mooted and executed entirely by students such as the Internet Solutions Group, which is responsible for website maintenance and intranet communication and the i2I business plan competition, which attracts huge international participation, add to the enviable reputation that the IIMCians have earned for their independent thinking, highly competitive streak and versatility.

If you think IIMC is laidback, come to the campus and we will show you the weakness of your perception. The other day, I met the mother of a student doing a soul stifling MBA. The first thing she said when she heard about my institute was "You guys have all the fun." I wish surveyers included a parameter called 'Mom's Perception' when they decide the B School rankings. Not many institutes can boast of having clubs with members who can actually take out time from the gruelling academic schedule to go trekking and water sporting on weekends and who, in their spare time, plan about scaling Mt. Everest. Or of having a thriving student exchange program that confirms the ability of its students to take on the best in the world and thrive.

Our Kweej Club wins more quizzes and the gifts that go with the wins than what is considered healthy. Our music bands spend more nights entertaining us than what would be considered normal for the ears. The gifted individuals who belong to these subunits of IIMC would not have it any other way and neither would we. I know of well intentioned people who still think that IIMC can become more formal by doing more of the formal things which everyone else is doing. That can be done with some effort but who wants to be just another B-School?

IIMC may be an island of excellence but it is not unaffected by the culture and business climate of the great metropolis called Calcutta. The biggest challenge it faces is to change faster than the pace of development around it and to maintain its preeminence in providing sound professional training that meets the requirements of the increasingly connected economy. The past few years have seen a quantum improvement in infrastructure and with ever growing support from alumni and the corporate world, IIM Calcutta is perfectly placed to set even more exacting standards of achievement.

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