Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Make Or Break

Classes begin at an unearthly 8:30 a.m. and go on till late evening. Quizzes and assignments designed to keep you busy week whole long and then a few extra classes to top it all. Add to this projects and term papers which include trying to map the 4Ps of marketing to the last case study done in class or take a real world survey in Park Street to know what the common man thinks about your latest innovative idea.

All this makes sure that this poor soul in IIM Calcutta goes to sleep late at night (or is it early in the morning) at 4 a.m. And then the damned alarm goes off in the morning when you are absolutely sure that you have just about slept for a few minutes. Anything that gives you a break from 18-20 hour days is supposed to be pure, unadulterated fun, right?

Wrong. Dead wrong. And that is what I gathered in the week-long break from campus life. For those of you wondering as to which guy in his right senses would be saying this, allow me to offer you my take on the whole thing. The point is after a certain amount of time spent in a campus, you get used to a certain standard of living. And when the campus is one with awesome scenery (imagine 7 lakes in a 135 acre setting with tree-lined roads on both sides), you do tend to enjoy the whole experience.

Back home, even though you are given the royal treatment for coming home pretty infrequently, there is only so much one can do to keep busy. Enjoying a good 10 hours sleep and waking up late you eat a leisurely breakfast while going through the entire newspaper from end to end, starting with the sports page of course. And then try and answer a couple of mails and try and update your Facebook status.

Meeting friends is a task that is done within the first 2 days. These guys don't enjoy well timed breaks around this time, so here I am, twiddling my thumbs and wondering what to do next. This is exactly the kind of scenario that would never occur back at IIM Calcutta. You always have something or the other to keep you engaged. And to be fair, I would be lying through my teeth if I insist that B-School is all about academics. There are a lot more things that are worth your time and effort. For some of us, it is the game of footer volley (a variation of Sepak-Tekraw) which is the most popular game on campus. This is generally played all through the night with the players changing as and when they get free from other stuff. So don't be surprised if you walk into a hostel well past midnight and see a fully lighted quad hosting a game on in full swing. Others generally take their pick from tennis, badminton, TT, snooker, cricket or chess. We do have something for everyone here.

And Kotler, the friendly (and aptly named) neighbourhood hostel shop, sees soaring business with a bunch of guys and girls engaged in animated discussions on Obama becoming the next President of the US and its impact on the Indian economy over a cup of instant coffee. The midnight Maggi, without which MBAs will never be possible, is something that has become a habit for me over the last year and half. Then you have the various clubs on campus — be it the Finance, Marketing or Consulting — which again keep you awake. And the more exotic ones like the Lakeside Lens Lovers, our newest photography club, which sees some of its members staying awake to capture the perfect moment during sunrise on the Howrah Bridge replica on the lake front. Try staying awake a little into the night and the folks back home start wondering which planet we guys inhabit when we are away pursuing the great Indian MBA dream. Unlike back in hostel where the guy next door knocks your door at 3 a.m. to inform you that you will be taking part in the next big case study competition lined up for tomorrow.

There just isn't enough incentive to stay back home for one whole week. All said and done, I am waiting to get back to campus and enjoy the last term that I shall have on campus. Waking up to an 8:30 morning class is any day preferable, after all.


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