Back to school after years on a job?
To IIMA? Oh! Oh!!
All too soon we’ll be listening to lectures again, doing homework, studying for exams and juggling all sorts of campus activities while planning for our next job. It isn’t going to be easy.
So here are some survival tips:
Acquire/refresh quantitative skills: The people needing this most would be those who do not have much of quantitative background/exposure and have been admitted to PGPX program because of their leadership potential and the excellence that they have demonstrated in the course of their lives. Some others, with a quantitative background, such as engineering and a sequence of business positions may be the lucky ones, not needing any help. But for the majority in the middle, some help may be needed in one or more areas.
Study the IIMA material, get a tutor or take lessons on the web, so that you are ready to sit in the class.
Build up mental/physical stamina: Forget about closing your eyes during a briefing, thinking about your music collection! You will need to concentrate in the class, outside the class and at all times. You cannot afford the luxury of having an attention span of a 3-year old! Try practicing Yoga, meditation, crosswords, whatever. Just get those brain cells into play.
The same goes for physical stamina. A daily 9-to-5 routine and free weekends would be things of the past. The sheer physical requirements of the daily hectic schedule demand that you start moving that body.
So pick you up your trainers now.
Don’t try to be a part of everything: On reaching campus, don’t try to be a part of “everything”. You might think you are interested in General Management and volunteer to join the groups on Strategic Management, Supply Chain Management and Management Consultancy. You might also pitch in for the cultural committee and the academic cell. And of course you think joining Net Impact or Helping Hands is a must! Result: Disaster!
Limit your involvement to specific areas of interest, so that your learning and contributions are manageable.
Collaborate, network, form a group: Faced with the daunting tasks of coursework, assignments, and extracurrics, form a group of like-minded friends for group study, discussions and collaboration. It might also be a good idea to “latch on” to a senior, via email for guidance and support. Try to widen your network, especially during your visits to industries – all this will help you in future.
Pleasant social interactions take the harsh edge off the tasks on hand.
Develop a robust sense of humour: This will be your prime defence against stress, disappointments and setbacks. When you get an “F” in a quiz or when your imitation of Laloo falls flat in the cultural program, learn to laugh at yourself. This may be the most difficult thing to do but perhaps the most important survival tool.
Don’t forget to laugh.
I hope you will keep these “tips” at your fingertips!!