Life at an IIM : Prof. Siddhartha K. Rastogi
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.
I've been a student and prof both, spent a whole decade now in IIMs. I've seen the changes (for worse) unfolding in front of me. But still, without being biased or cynical, I'd try to answer it without the perceived hype IIMs are subjected to. It completely depends on the term one is in. Each IIM has three terms each year + a summer internship (IIMA has broken each term into two slots since 2010).
Term 1 - Good kid term : Uniformly, classes take place between 0845 to 1300 (3 classes of 75 minutes each + a break of 15 minutes; IIMA has 20 minutes breaks). People get up at 8, rush to grab a bite if possible, mostly reach class by 08:44:59. Most professors do not allow a late entry (including me). Class, break, class, break, class - happens almost robotically. People fight hard in class for the CP (class participation) marks. They have read the chapter, they have solved the case, and they are wide awake and attentive in the classroom.
After classes, rush to mess and see the noticeboard / check your mail frantically for one hour. If by two, there is a quiz notice, start studying for that quiz. Otherwise, go back to room. Most people waste time during next 2-3 hours; smart ones sleep. By 5 or 6 pm, start preparing for the next day classes. A typical class requires a minimum of 2 hours' time to prepare well. So some 6 hours of studies, dinner, calls to parents, a lots of gossips and hangouts. With 6-8 hours gone, try to sleep by 2 each day and eventually sleep by 4 am. There are bad days too, like club applications, club interviews, inter-section competitions, and so on. Night-outs are common, stress is immense, and aspirations take a hit with each grade released.
Term 2 - Summer Placement Time : People learn by now how to "manage" grades with least studies. The institute time-table remains the same but participants' study hours reduce. The time is taken by CV preparations, researching about companies, placements efforts, actual placement process, and student events. Also, this is the term where DC++ and LAN based games start hogging time with endless night-outs on movies, series, and "other" stuff.
Term 3 - Looking forward : Summer placement is done. Institute time-table remains the same. Reduce study time even more. Put that into researching for your summer profile, prepare for accommodation in that location, and so on. Whatever remains goes into more movies etc. Now, many may fall asleep in the class and depending on the instructor, may get away without any actions.
Summer Internships on and done. Back to campus.
In the whole of second year, classes can be anytime and any day. Time-table depends on choice of electives and the load one wishes to take.
Term 4 - Revelation Term : Summer job is often like a revelation to most - things they taught were not so useless after all. So I better pay some attention into the choice of electives I had won in open bidding. Also, this is the last term whose grades would count for the final placements. So most people put some efforts in studies. But rest of their life remains the same - late night or early morning sleep, rush to class, and watch a lot of "stuff".
Term 5 - Live your life last time Term : Some go on exchange and smile for cliched pics of, mostly, Europe. Remaining are on campus and indulge in events, festivities, and other "stuff". If any time remains, study.
Term 6 - Final Placement term : Brush up last two years of notes, seek remedials, research companies, fight, kill, die for placements. As and when that part is done, watch more "stuff". Studies are already sent to hell.
P.S. - This is a representative lifestyle, true for most but not all. Also, the length of text under each term is proportional to amount of studies done by people and inverse to their cynicism for management education.