Friday, February 12, 2010
Day 0 - Part 2
Day -550 (First day of B-School) –
MBA enters the hallowed portals of the B-School.
He thinks – Now I am set for life!
Around a hundred other bespectacled, out of shape geeks are lined for the orientation too. MBA looks around for. Well what every guy looks around for when entering a room. Girls, few and far between, out of shape and geeky too.
There is a buzz in the room. People are shaking hands and introducing themselves everywhere. Introductions are always followed by questions like background, work-ex, finance or marketing. Some people from blue blooded colleges are following it up with “Oh good, me too. Which batch?” MBA gets a degrading look and a half smile from few people with lesser hair on their head than his whenever he mentions the word ‘Fresher’. Few hours in the college and he is already feeling out of place.
Everybody falls silent when the Director arrives to address the batch. He hears the words Leadership, Innovation, Manager, Organization, Time Management interspersed in the speech umpteen numbers of times. He finishes the speech with saying that their curriculum here will be extremely rigorous and demanding but also fun. He is still wondering about the meaning of the last oxymoronic statement when one other professor arrives for his session. After 2 days of grueling orientation he is more disoriented than oriented but he starts to understand the meaning of rigorous curriculum.
Day -548 (First day of classes) –
People are sizing up each other after the first round of introductions and have started discussing electives, last year’s placements, other college placements etc. MBA guesses the time of making friends is over, now they all just Network.
MBA is reeling under the literal weight of the books and reading materials that has been thrown his way in the beginning of the term when the professor in the end adds that they should read a business newspaper daily, as well as industry journals and reports and also some other books in the library for further reading.
Second professor who he saw walking stooped in the foyer today enters the class and starts thundering and makes a class full of 50 hot-shots feel worthless and unknowledgeable. So much for being the top 2% of country’s brain. Then he moves on to prove that every company in the country, no actually world-wide is worthless. MBA starts wondering why this gentleman isn’t the CEO of Microsoft or GE or any company for that matter. He looked like such a poor old man in the morning at least.
Day -540 (Second week of MBA)
There is mad rush of getting in the clubs or organizing committees. All the seniors pitch about their club which according to them is doing everything for the college and getting the all so important placements for college. They ask for CVs, SOPs, Presentations and a zillion other things. The shortlisted ones would be called for an interview. His bubble of ‘all this shit is behind me now’ bursts. He misses the deadline of one club by 12 minutes and thus not considered. He realizes how Professional (read A**holes) his seniors are. After making a million false promises of working hard and devoting his life for that club, he gets through in one. He soon realizes though that there are as many clubs members as they are students in the college. Everybody needs one more bullet point in their CV.
When he finally gets to breathe amidst the club work, group work, reading and class preparation he gets an e-mail asking for his CV for the summer internships. He starts Googling for Career Objectives while wondering isn’t summer internships in summers? Even winter hasn’t begun yet.
MBA wants to quit. He realizes he is not cut out for this. And getting a D in the quiz confirmed. His getting here was some cruel joke played upon him by god. He cannot possibly do all this work and attend all the classes too.
Plus he is flabbergasted by his classmates. One guy who once admitted writing CAT four times before this argued why Indian B-Schools allow people with no work-ex who don’t have the required corporate exposure and understanding of management, into MBA.
One guy after copying everything from Wikipedia argues that he conducted an exhaustive secondary research for the group work and thus added the most value to the project. While his other group mate excused herself because of not being well and adding ‘female problem’ when prodded further. The next day she was seen showing pictures of herself and her boyfriend who was in town yesterday for a meeting.
He is also made aware of the concept unknown to lesser mortals (non MBAs) of having an in-campus and one off-campus boyfriend/girlfriend.
Day -450 (somewhere in the middle of the 1st year) –
He gets a project to make the marketing strategy for GM and an assignment to understand the Branding strategy of P&G. Delusions of Grandeur start forming in his head.
He is being taught Brand Management, Optimal Capital Structure, Strategy Formulation, International Marketing etc etc. More Delusions.
Day -365 (Summer Placements begin)
The same grind of Shorlisting, GDs and Interviews begin again.
One big shot FMCG arrives on campus which is said to dole out PPOs like free advice from neighboring Aunties.
Intern Selection process begins.
He thinks – Do this well and you are set for life!
After a never ending process of GDs and double interviews he is finally taken for a Psychometric test. The HR explains it is to determine cultural fit in the organization and whether the candidate is a team player. MBA thinks this company is so good; it takes summer recruitment very seriously. I am 100% in for a very good project as well as a PPO. He gets through.
He thinks – Now I am set for life!
Day -290 (First day of Summer Internship)
MBA arrives in the office to report, full of enthusiasm. He is little disappointed when the security stops him from entering the office and after 30 minutes and 4 phone calls he is allowed in. But this dampens his spirits. This is first corporate exposure after all.
MBA and his co passengers in the raft (it’s too small to be called a boat) of summer trainees again undergo orientation where his Mentor (read the person unlucky enough to be burdened with them) gives an energetic speech and ends with saying that he hopes they all will have a prosperous career with the company and they should come to him if they need any guidance.
He then disappears for a cigarette break and returns visibly irritated after half an hour and sweating. He throws towards them tons of literature about the company and asks them to read up everything by tomorrow. That was all for today.
Day -289 (second day of summer internship)
MBA arrives the second day brimming with confidence to take the problem by the horns that he is been asked in to solve. He realizes he only has 2 months so he better start working from today.
While he is still day dreaming about how he is going to use his MBA fundas to solve the problem he is called by his mentor. His mentor throws him a set of 20 page questionnaires and asks him to get it filled by at least 600 people and get the addresses of the shops to visit from his junior. He again repeats his offer to be of guidance and then starts looking at his laptop again
The junior most guy revels in the pleasure of having someone below him for the first time while he makes MBA wait for half an hour just to send him the file containing the addresses.
Day -288 (third day of summer internship)
Standing the blazing April sun the MBA wonders why for getting a few forms filled they needed to check my communication skills, marketing knowledge and my organizational fit.
When the third aunty refuses to divulge her choice of washing powder he starts asking himself whether his April 1st joining date was just a co incidence or part of something far more sinister.
When he arrives in the office after tragically managing to only get 16 forms filled in 8 days he thinks he needs some Guidance and knocks on his Mentor’s cabin. He is politely asked to come later as he is busy. After seeing his mentor take 2 coffee breaks, 4 cigarette breaks and an hour long lunch break the MBA starts losing it.
After ignoring him for days finally the mentor asks how his project is going. MBA replies not good and says nobody to ready to fill the form and it is very difficult for him to get it done in time and which analysis he needs to do after finishing the questionnaires. Mentor replies to hang in there and lectures him on the tough life in the field and tough life in general and leaves for his cabin.
Frustrated he calls his other classmates to find out how they are doing. He is delighted to find out one other guy has been asked to do tele-sales and one girl just arranges the desk of her mentor and googles for the data he requires.
Life is not so bad after all.
Day -240 (last week of internship) –
MBA realizes that there is no way he can complete the 600 forms now and starts remembering the names of his remotest of relatives to fill the forms himself.
Day -235 (last day of internship)
MBA submits a 100 page thick report on his findings containing 39 pages of company history and structure and 4 pages to thank everyone from the CEO to the peon of the company. He makes a presentation dazzling with obscure charts, excel sheet links, and company changing findings. Even the division head applauds the presentation and says he would like to review the report too.
MBA hands over one spiral bound color printed copy to him too knowing full well that it will never see the light of day again.
He too is becoming seasoned now. Baptism by fire.
Lesson 2 of MBA - All business is show business.
(to be continued)