Chronicles of a PGP1 IIMA - Ashitosh Babar, IIM A
Ashitosh Babar is currently a PGP student at IIM Ahmedabad. He served as a Sales and Marketing Intern at Nestle. He has career interests in Marketing Function. He loves graphic designing, is a guitarist, loves dramatics and follows and plays cricket.
“You are not in a B-school. You are now in a Commando Training School and in these coming months, you would be trained to be the best”
These words by the PGP Chairperson on the very first day of the programme, silenced the crowd of the so-called elitist of the elite who were curious about the life at IIMA and were asking doubts regarding the workload and culture at IIMA. And today, after going through the PGP1, I have realized he couldn’t have summed the journey in a more precise way. These 10 months are full of emotions. Pain, anxiety, horror, terror, sleeplessness, fatigue, failures, surprises. At one point of time you start thinking to yourself ,”Was I in my senses when I paid 17 lac for this painful life? Wasn’t I extremely delighted the day I came to know that I got into IIMA?”
To be honest, this place is difficult!
What makes this place difficult is the pace at which things change here. The pace is faster than you learn to adapt to his place. Your instincts are put to test. They used to say, when you look back at yourself, you find yourself as a changed person. Yes, this place transforms you.
You can no more enjoy TV ads. You start looking into them from a Marketer’s perspective. You start thinking about Segmentation, Target Audience, Value Proposition, Customer Lifetime Value, Emotional Connect, Celebrity Endorsement etc.
You cannot keep your mind silent in a queue. You start thinking about Operations Management. Average waiting time, efficient queuing models, number of servers, scheduling, Little’s law etc.
Here, you are trained to think, trained to learn and this learning is not limited to casemats and books. Here, there is an equal emphasis on innumerable intangible learnings.
You start to appreciate things around you. You will appreciate the efforts put by people who keep this place running for 24 hours. Here, the cafeteria is open till 4 am. So, when you mugging by burning the midnight oil, they are serving you in case you are hungry in the night !They even deliver food at your doorsteps till 4 am in the night!
Groupwork. The most crucial learning for a to-be-manager, is part and parcel of IIMA Life. Most of the assignments are group submissions. The twist in the plot is that you don’t get to choose people in your group, just as your teams in your corporate life. Groupwork enables you to learn to adjust, compromise, contribute and in turn, become an efficient team player.
Here, Dorm Culture is amazing. People in a dorm stay as friends for life. They live together, struggle together and party together! Here, every dorm has a name denoting its culture, and every person in the dorm has a name, denoting his culture! :P Then you have your Section. Section-mates are the people whom you spend time in classes. Every section has a culture, a unique name and as with the dorms, everyone in the section have their distinct section-names as well. Classes are always amazing with God-level professors imparting God-level learning values and it is an absolute privilege listening to them.
You learn the importance of 23:59:59, that is, the value of time till the last millisecond. These are generally the assignment deadlines for electronic submissions on the portal. This heartless portal closes down automatically at 00:00:00 and if you are late even by a millisecond; you cannot submit your assignment and in turn, can lose a major component of your grades!
The 1.45 terror. This is the stroke of the clock when 400 of PGP1s are glued to their cell phones and laptops with their fingers crossed and hoping for a blissful NO SURPRIZE QUIZ (rare) situation. Quizzes are announced over SMS and emails in 1.45, to be scheduled at 2.45 on the very same day, on a certain subject. Even the best brains in the country cannot predict which quiz can happen on a certain day. How will they actually? There maybe 6-7 subjects in the slot and if today, there’s a quiz on a certain subject, the same subject can appear tomorrow as well. There have been loads of Hattrick quizzes, and sometimes a week full of quizzes. Now, after completing the dreadful year, I am very sure that I can handle any surprises in my life! I am trained for it, thoroughly!
The most important learning as per me is realizing your own potential and stretching yourself to the limits! There have been times that the workload here was so hectic that it was required to work for 17 hrs/day to finish the work before going to sleep. Every PGP1 goes through several such days to complete the assigned work.
After PGP1, you realize your worth and you start feeling proud about yourself for the efforts you had put in!
Bottom line, PGP1 at IIMA really prepares you for life and for the challenges ahead, it builds your character, your identity and your worth. It is tough, difficult and irritating at times, but when you are done with PGP1, you realize that you have been through something which was indeed difficult to survive! Hence, every successful PGP1 is conferred upon by an informal title of PGP1 Survivor!
The irony of life of PGP1 is, while every day is a survival here and people endlessly wait for it to end, but once it ends, you soon start to miss it. You become so much used to the rigor that joblessness becomes intolerable. You start to look towards the brighter aspects of PGP1 and soon realize that Yes, your life is changed forever. You are the most efficient version of yourself now, have made friends that surely, are going to last for a lifetime and you become ready to face the challenges of the corporate world.
It takes 3 terms, 6 slots, 10 months, 31 courses, 38 Exams, 42 Quizzes, 49 Assignments, 58 PPTs, 241 cases, 527 sessions to become a PGP1 Survivor!
Despite all the rigor, PGP1 would certainly be missed!