How does one prepare himself with 2 months to go before joining an IIM - Prof. Siddhartha K. Rastogi

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    Prof. Siddhartha K. Rastogi is an Associate Professor (Economics) at Indian Institute of Management, Indore. He graduated with a doctoral title in economics from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Prior to his fellowship from IIMA, he holds a Master degree (Applied Economics) and a Bachelor degree in Commerce from the University of Lucknow. He also has 31 months of experience in teaching maths, logic, and economics during and subsequent to his post-graduation. He is also a published author and poet. Below post is as answered on Quora and is published with permission of the author.

    How does one prepare himself with 2 months to go before joining an IIM ?

    It depends!
    (answering with my Alma Mater (IIMA) in mind)

    Depends on whether you want to top the charts or just survive. In any case, I'd suggest to play safe and do the following:

    1. Read some books like how not to get depressed, am I dumb, you can win and many more self-help books... chances are that even if you have been a topper throughout your life, you are going to have bouts of self-doubt, some poor grades, pangs of anxiety, sleepless nights, delusions, hallucinations, and...!

    2. IIMs' philosophy is not to teach. They prepare you for life. Therefore, the professors will not explain the case and the method in the class. Rather, they'd discuss the alternate solutions in class. Therefore, you have to read about a 100 pages a day on an average and the material would not be like a novel. You have to read, understand, and at times, even solve things.

    3. These "things" range from a corporation's dilemma of investing in a new supply channel to a wife running away with accountant, taking books of account with them. I'd suggest you prepare the basics of at least the following: (now these topics may seem easy and you may have studied them already but when they come in the form of a real-life case and the problem has to be fished out from the context for a solution at a conceptually detailed level, it is no cakewalk).

    • Accounting - Journal, ledger, final accounts, cash flow
    • Finance - time value of money, budgeting, NPV, IRR, Annuity, ratio analysis
    • Statistics - Measures of Central tendency, Measures of dispersion, correlation, regression, central limit theorem, probability, distributions like normal, chi-square, poisson, tests like t, Z, chi-sqaure
    • Economics - basics of microeconomics and macroeconomics
    • Computers - I presume word and PPT are already handy to you. Learn Excel - basic functions like lookup, if, sumproduct, solver etc. Also, at least one of the statistical softwares - SPSS, SAS, R, Matlab etc. R is free and pretty good but it depends on the prof to choose the package.

    4. It will be probably two most memorable years of your life. There will be plenty of activities, competitions, and celebrations. It is up to you to decide and stick to your priorities. It is very difficult to get A grades and it is equally difficult to get a D grade. So if you just keep basic academic discipline, you'll survive with a C grade easily.

    Good luck! And for some actual experiences, read this blog from one of my batchmates: Sleepless in IIM-A

    And remember my opening phrase - this will be your universal cure for every question henceforth!

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