My first year journey @ IIM Raipur - Sidharth Sachdeva

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    Sidharth Sachdeva is pursuing MBA from Indian Institute of Management Raipur. A commerce graduate from Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, University of Delhi he worked for a year in his family business prior to joining IIM Raipur. He is the chief editor of IIM Raipur’s official magazine and also a part of the Public Relations Cell. An avid writer and traveler, he writes guests columns for a national newspaper and with keen interest in finance, aims to land up in investment banking. 

    “Had I been ready for it, I would have missed many lessons”

    That’s one line which sums up my sojourn at this alien place. Born and brought up in a business family I was quite settled in my business post my graduation from University of Delhi. Somehow another shot of CAT and scoring good gave impetus to the idea of MBA as I had a lifetime to work and these few years to study.

    Of the colleges I shortlisted, IIMs to be precise, Raipur was the one to which I gave least thought probably due to location. Brought up in Ludhiana, i.e. northern part of the country and graduate from DU i.e. from the National Capital, the cultural difference created repulsion and no one had even been to Chhattisgarh to give me a firsthand experience of the place. But then began the journey, a tale I would merrily narrate to self of how naive one could be.

    The day I landed at Raipur there was a gamut of thoughts crossing my mind about how life would kick start in a total different cultural environment. 22 years of age and with 1 year of experience of own business, the first few hours at this place were enough for me to realize that cracking CAT was identical to getting a ticket as the journey has merely started. Also let me caution you here at this point that this is purely based on my experience and might not hold true for others in my batch.

    The first interaction with the batch somewhere at 2:00am was enough to instruct my mind, dude, “Who said nights were for sleeping?” And thus began the rebellion. 4 hours of sleep, endless classes, the 4 am “Chai and maggi” and a life time lesson, i.e.  Prefer not to wear high heel shoes and a watch if I want to succeed in life. From brainstorming on eccentric B-plans to playing badminton till sunrise, we had it all. MBA isn’t just about the classroom teaching, simply not. The peer learning, group tasks and mutual diffusion of ideas, that’s what offers the most out of these 2 years. Working with 150 best minds of the country made me realize no matter how hard I try, I just cannot excel in everything and hence it is always the team that can be the winner and not one individual.

    From studying literature on marketing, economics, strategy, HR etc to applying them in real life, the Professors leave no stone unturned. Added to that is the evaluation structure giving adequate weights to class participation and group tasks and not mere exams. As a child I always wondered the concept of open book and take home exams and thought how wacky the idea is. This place made me realize how innovative this could be.  I am free to carry all the books I desire yet the case would be solved only by using the mind to the core. And all those corporate talks with people from diversified fields coming and sharing their experiences adds fuel to the fire and make me feel restless to step into the battlefield, the corporate world to prove my mettle.

    Another dimension I want to discuss is the sports culture at IIM Raipur. Cricket, Football, Volleyball, Basketball and Badminton, you name it and we play it all. The sheer rigor coupled with unmatched ardor gave the important lessons of holding my nerves even when the targets seemed impossible and the opposition was very strong. Academics was considered to be the epicenter of learning and time had to be taken out for anything outside its contour. The entire process is reversed and indeed is the best part of life. There lies a sea of opportunities such that I have to take time out of the other activities, competitions and activities for academics.

    Talking about the core learning as there are endless experiences to share, what IIM Raipur taught me is the fine balance between aggression and tranquility.

    If I am creative and not aggressive, I shall lose the opportunity to someone else and if I’m creative and not tranquil, I might end up messing with the timing and fail to leverage to my best use. Words cannot describe this trait and this place is inculcating it in me which I perceive is of utmost importance in today’s world.

    To end this I would say before coming here, 1 year seemed to be a colossal span of time but I realized how miniscule a year can be. True whatever literature we read or refer is available to anyone outside and this holds true for any B-school but what acts as a catalyst in life is the experience. There are days I’ve worked more than 20 hours and also there were days when I played more than 15 hours. No matter what happens, there wasn’t a single moment I got bored from this place and each day brings along a new experience which holds whopping importance in life to develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills. 

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