Random B-School Musings

Even as term 4 for PGPM 2018 is underway, it seems like yesterday when I entered the campus of Great lakes institute of management, Gurgaon. I think it will be fair for me to say that by now our learning curve has grown exponentially (I was actually looking for an even more superlative word) for having studied twenty two courses in these four and a half months. In the aftermath, however, we have sixteen ‘not so frequently opened’ yet bulky pillow sized books for our perusal (I honestly don’t know when and how these will actually be used.)

But as I recount the seemingly short experience here, I struggle to describe how awesome this journey is panning out to be. I am unable to elucidate that feeling where, on a Friday night – 11:53 PM to be exact – you are still in the Academic block and ceaselessly trying not to miss the midnight deadline for a class group project and at the same time keeping your subconscious mind alert about the pre-reads you have for next day’s schedule that has an early morning lecture on Statistical methods for decision making and Financial accounting.

TGIF? Nah, not for a B-schools student. (Now I know why corporates crave for Fridays)

But all this seems lame and off-centre without the most important ingredient in this recipe for what I call the ‘B-school Khichdi’ – “The almost ready future Manager”.  Yes, the My B-school herd has been the most entertaining and the most Heteroscedastic (Prof. Bharadwaj, please forgive me for the usage) bunch of individuals. Ok, a quick recap – Heteroscedasticity refers to the circumstance in which the variability of a variable is unequal across the range of values of a second variable that predicts it. Thank me later.

These people have made life interesting and I would be irreverent if I don’t mention the kind of people I have encountered here. So, in no particular order, let me first introduce you to:

  • The Future CEO. No, the batch’s current CEO. PGPM batch of 2018 knows who that is. This person is extremely good at everything without being the best at anything. We all know the phrase – “Jack of all trades and Mas…” (Just kidding. Or am I?) Talking of class participation, this person speaks regularly and intelligently in class without ever saying anything remotely controversial. Diplomacy is the word!
  • Ok sorry. I am getting ahead of myself – In economic theory, and also in lay man’s opinion, there is a notion that whatever goods and services are provided, they must be paid for by someone – that is, you don’t get something for nothing. As Prof. Himadri would say, “There ain’t no such thing as free lunch”. Or as I abbreviate it, Tanstafl.
    But we sure have “Free- wait for it-loaders”. These are the clever ones. They know the knack of delegating responsibility without giving the slightest notion that part of the onus is on them too. But we all sure have a lot of things to learn.
  • Moving on, we have the ‘Friend-setters’ who have continued their trendsetting attitude of being jovial and cordial with everyone. But there are also people from the exact bipolar end.
  • The Solitary Reaper – No, that is too optimistic a phrase for this person who thinks the world is an illusion and human interaction is a mystery. William Wordsworth would never want me to tag such a person with his beautifully written metaphor of a nightingale. The lone wolf would be a suitable phrase, yes. But who knows. Although termed aloof, they are the fiercest of friends and they have their own little world. They are focussed with full intent on one goal. Ok, too much philosophy. Apologies.

By the way, this ‘One goal’ theory brings me to the most important subject of discussion that any B-school has to offer – Placements.

Needless to say, even as I am drafting this, the Pre-Placement preparation scenario is in full swing and it never ceases to give jitters as soon as a JD from a firm that is offering jobs is released. But the most dominant part of this preparation has to be the “Group discussion” prep and it is hilarious at times.

I hope the PlaceComm doesn’t throw me as an outcast when I talk about the observations I have made in these sessions. The observations are actually on the participants. So I think I am safe.

Every group discussion (I’ve observed) has these. And I am one among them (so much for modesty). Here’s a broad categorization of the four typical characters I have encountered in GDs so far:

  • The “Know it all” sort – The genuinely, just, ridiculously smart person of the batch who often brings up unusual and weird (yet relevant) opinions on the table during a discussion. This person sure has a way of getting noticed, for the right reasons. Sadly, all we can do is look up to him/her.
  • The “I agree with you” sort – Always finishes the other person’s sentences and adds the aforementioned phrase. Seldom has unique points but vehemently participates nonetheless.
  • The “Search engine optimist” – This person has gone through that One link on the internet (Invariably the first link that pops up on a basic google search. No matter how remotely irrelevant the current topic of discussion is, this genius will try to bring in some fact or figure from that One link
  • The “Silencer” – The loudest noise this person makes is from his pen when he is scribbling stuff during the initial two minutes that are given to gather ones thoughts. This person has all the right points to discuss, but fails to bring them out in speech. Definitely noticeable when the group discussion is a fish market.

There are innumerable memories that are etched on our minds since the past four and a half months and I am sure a lot more is in store for us as we head on to the placement season with vigour and zeal.

Godspeed!

Author: Samuel Johnson

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

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