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Expert Suggestions on Preparation for Computer Based CAT-09

"B-School Diary : Snapshots from IIMB"

- by Prasar Sharma *

I don't even want to date this!

People of the world rejoice� because from beneath layers upon multiple layers of dust and time has re-emerged my dear old diary to add yet another chapter in the life of the MBA student! One redeeming feature of this particular rare journey of my diary into the world of light though is the rarity of the bizarre.

Surprised? Well, you ought to be. Because the sudden realization that God remembers us tormented IIM types can be quite disconcerting. And not just because you've rediscovered belief in the elusive animal called hope but because of myriad other reasons as well. The shock experienced at finding out that life actually exists outside the campus and beyond the realms of strategy, frameworks and textbooks can be quite severe. It doesn't quite end at that. You are left bewildered at the prospect of doing something but study in the insomniac hours of your life left behind as a legacy of your "graded journey" through the "modern U-shaped lecture halls at the hallowed portals of an IIM." And for the poor uninitiated souls, alien to the concept of the "graded journey", here's a really brief crash course. It simply means that since not all terms are counted towards the CGPA reported to the companies at the sacrificial altar of placements, in other terms education is orphaned into being a harmlessly redundant word under "e" in the dictionary. If you're an engineer, just imagine your class at college and add a strict 75% attendance rule and you have the picture crystal clear. For non-engineers two pieces of advice: First - if you are still unclear, go ask an engineer, and second, why even bother? Have you lately checked the ratio of engineers to non-engineers at the IIMs?! The same advice is highly likely to escalate to alert level for non-IITians as well. And as for women aspirants to the IIM, please don't even risk heartbreak by taking the CAT if you even have a slight suspicion that you come within 100 miles of just slightly bordering on being a good looker.

So, now you've discovered the concept of life, but you have no idea of how to go about it. You soon realize that the months spent perfecting the art of RG have been futile. The abject absence of RG from normal human life can be an absolutely stunning blow. A culture shock par limits! So, now not only are people sleeping in class instead of doing RG, these damn insolent people of the world haven't even heard of the bloody concept. But, there are redeeming features as well. You finally are let in to the existence of nightlife and poultry in Bangalore. You suddenly know why the city is the pub capital of the nation but, just going to all those pubs and staring at the walls and the opposite sex can becoming quite boring after sometime. Yes there are women in this world who look good and wear short skirts. But, if the only chicks you ever interacted with in the past year and a half or so are those that are cooked and edible, then visions of poultry farming remain perennially downgraded to the bird watching level. So what? You always knew life sucked! But then there is always hope� you have the confidence in the magnetism of your IIM diploma. All you need to do is go on and crack the placements.

Which of course brings you to another very sore point. Now if you read the first entry in my diary, you would know why that is the case. And I need to add that RG and learning mode have ensured that the outlook is not quite different from the summers. So while corporate honchos come to IIMB to hunt for the "cream", you wonder what learning has brought you! Not very comfortable thoughts but then we have Andhra Dairy to look forward to. At least they wont retrench me on a whim. Its all I have to say to the RGs of the world: Go on get into Lehman, but remember this- you never know when they might deem you surplus and throw you out. So beware! And while you are at it do keep your good friend in mind and see if you can get him in.

As I write this, my thoughts move to those people who may have criticized my cynicism despite being where I am. To them, I'd like to say this. I am aware the kind of privilege it is to be at IIMB. All said and done, it is the greatest and despite my despondency will make sure that I step into a bright career. However, cynicism is imperative to ensure that people who aspire to be where my colleagues and I are aware of the stress and the pitfalls that come packaged along with an IIM admit. It is a roller coaster ride that leaves you breathless and takes you to the highest heights and the deepest depths, but one that ultimately leaves you unquestionably thrilled and breathless. It is an experience worth having. IIM Bangalore needs no introduction and it needs no selling. In retrospect already it has been a great experience and one month from now when I pen in my experiences after having completed my journey armed with one of the most prestigious degrees in the world and what undoubtedly will be a coveted job, I will look back at the overall experience as one great roller coaster ride.

As George Bernard Shaw said: "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." Just remember, I am the cynic whose been there and done it. And I invite all of you out there with the aspirations and the mettle to go for it, because if you want to reach for the stars an IIM can be the closest you can come to having the perfect launch pad.

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