On Kloud nine

Updated: Jul 29 2006, 05:30am hrs
I had at best a hazy idea of what I wanted from a business school when I joined IIM. Some vague notions about different roles, improved career prospects and of course, better salary floated in my mind, but none of them entirely justified why I had sacrificed several weekends of relaxation, preparing for those two crucial hours of CAT.

It's been a year since, and I have to say the course was an eye-opener in many respects. Being that much abused engineer from the software industry almost everything that was taught in the first year was new and interesting. The nuances of the balance sheet, the science behind brands, the complexity of economics, the need for efficient processes and a strategic vision, the importance of right policies all sunk in, bringing with it a better understanding of how organisations, industries and economies function and interact.

That the IIMs are an obsession with the countrys youth is an understatement. The fact that a thousand odd seats drive a thriving coaching industry speaks volumes of just how coveted those seats are. The attention is almost wholly justified, the journey here is arduous, it isn't simple beating lakhs of other competitors in an examination designed to test your aptitude for the management sciences. There are many benefits to being in one of the country's most prestigious institutes, the facilities are world class, the students some of the best in the country and that instant recognition that comes with the name IIM is gratifying and humbling. IIM Kozhikode's campus is that much more special in a magical kind of way. It nestles, almost floats, amongst clouds in the hills of Kozhikode and adds beauty to a hectic life.

Life during a semester can get chaotic, and that is putting it mildly. Assignments and project presentations have an uncanny tendency to have submission dates very close to each other, and to the examinations. Weeks go by without adequate sleep, and sometimes you begin to question your decision to voluntarily subject yourself to such high levels of stress. The standing joke amongst us is that the only time you see the spectacular sunrise at IIM-Ks campus is when you have been up all night to meet a deadline. The phase passes soon enough, and with it any lingering doubts about your motives to do an MBA.

Undeniably, the two years spent at the institute are a rich learning experience, both in the classroom and beyond it. The interactions we have with professors (all with outstanding credentials) and the discussions with some very accomplished fellow students all contribute to an electric environment on campus. Networks are built, ideas are explored and almost every second is an opportunity to learn something new.

The two month long summer internship is also an enriching experience, giving you a small taste of what it will be like when you join an organisation, or start out on your own. Its also when you understand how valuable your education will be in your future and how much it influences your way of thinking.

Of course its not all about the studies; here is where I fell in love with classic rock, courtesy some very knowledgeable friends, here is where I learnt to tone down my rather acerbic style of dealing with people, here is where I learnt that the possibilities are limited only by the mind. Crazy moments with equally crazy friends, quiz sessions on Fridays, long philosophical walks and bad coffee at the night canteen are some of the many things that I am going to miss when its over.

In the long run, I am confident that almost everything I learn here I will use someday, somewhere, and it is that belief that I am equipping myself for a better life here that gives me the most satisfaction.

Narayan is a second year student at IIM-Kozhikode