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Expert Suggestions on Preparation for Computer Based CAT-09

"Snapshots from IIM Kozhikode"
(Version: 1.1)

- by Prashant Dinodia

It is 3:30 in the morning, with dozens deadlines to be 'buried' and playing hide and seek with my sleep, I cannot decide what is motivating me to write this, it has to be brazenness.

Welcome to the world of Ivy League B-schools. Ever wondered why such an esteemed temple of postgraduate education is called a "school" and not a "college" or something fancy in French? Well, all those who are going through or have gone through the 'process' know why the apparent misnomer is actually a mot juste. Although the rules may have changed but the rigor and drudgery is same to that of a school, with students dying for that weekend break.

Its almost three months that I embarked on this journey and Term-I is about to end (euphemism for the fact that final term exams are approaching). But still it's hard for me to gauge what I have learnt and what has been the "value addition" (something I mentioned in my screening interview as the purpose of joining IIMK for an MBA). But then in an Ivy League B-school, the real learning is a function of what initiatives one takes on his own rather than being spoon-fed. So I think I'm in no position to complain. Although, one thing's certain though that today I know enough jargons to flaunt them so as to appear an enlightened soul.

Life here can be mundane yet at times exhilarating. Being a half C.A., re-learning journal entries and explaining the inexplicable laws of accounting to my engineering brethren can be a pain. But then, the digestion and assimilation of all other "gyan", most of which is "global" (internal jargon for non-specific, holistic fundaes), compels you to put up a "fight". And you are amazed by the brilliance you encounter in others. If you suffer from serious self-depreciation or inferiority complex then an IIM is the last place you wish to be, because here every other person will either dazzle or baffle you with his brilliance, and in both cases you will be confounded and humbled.

A typical day here begins with the morning alarm. (I believe the alarm clock is the most cursed at thing at any B school, yet so indispensable). Then comes the task of mentally preparing yourself for the "marathon". The usual ceremonies follow with ablutions and breakfast skipped randomly to make up for the time lost due to irreverence shown to the alarm. Every action is optimized to beat the professor to the class.

At classes, you feel like going through the motions. Not because they are boring or take some doing to stay awake, but because each class has so much new to learn that a slight lack of attention and you find yourself in an unknown territory of thoughts. Once in a while someone will indulge in some useless point scoring CP and you get the time to have a "breather".

Much learning and interesting incidents occur outside the class. Whether it is the hostels, library, canteen, or any other place where few enlightened souls meet. Group tasks and assignments are so common that at the end of first week you have hard time remembering your different group members and group names. You will find one or two students in each group who will co-ordinate the group (in other words, do all the work) and make life for others a little easier. Apart from this the drudgery is exponential. At the end of the day (which ironically is somewhere around the beginning of a new day), you feel that the day was too short and wish you had more hours in a day.

Every now and then you will find someone losing it and almost feeling fed up of this B-school life. The dissonance is high in many cases and most remark that can be summed up - "Expected heaven, excepted the rest, and now am accepting hell".

Yet there is some sort of pleasure and fun in all this. To put your feet up, in the night canteen, and sip a cuppa of tea with other students around is something hard to substitute. And the thought that this is probably the last time each one of us are "students" and that this is out final opportunity to have a student life, increases the value of these days multi-fold.

So I believe in making the most of them and living them to the full, these days are never coming back.

(Version 1.2 under alpha phase)

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