Term 2 had been tough, and the prospect of leaving for IIP (international immersion program) promised a welcome break for us all!
Most of us were supposed to leave on the 8th. Classes got over at 4. We had three hours to pack and get go. We (we = forty-four of us) were travelling to ESCP Paris- and yes that’s how much time IIMA gives you to do your packing on an international trip. The other destinations were CUHK in Hongkong, Warwick Business School, Bologna Business School, Cranfield school of Business, San Jose State University- to name a few. This year IIP had a lot of options to choose from.
We had hoped that we would be free of the shackles of assignments and projects. But our dear professors decided to keep a small token of the life @ IIMA with us- we had two assignments to submit in two weeks. It is hence not a doubt that we love our professors so much. They never let us forget the bigger picture.
830 am. We landed at Charles de Gaulle International airport. Most of us were severely sleep deprived, particularly the ones like me who didn’t get to sleep on the flight. But since that has now become a way of life- and we were raring to get a flavour of Paris-we just dumped our luggage in our rooms, and set off to explore. It was Saturday morning and we had till Sunday night to squeeze in as much of the sight-seeing as we could do. Since this is not a travel diary, I will skip on our weekend plans and proceed straight to Monday, 830 AM.
Monday morning saw us in class. It was an introductory session on how things were going to be for the next two weeks, and on the overall course structure. A Welcome Lunch, and the group photo shoot happened.
In the evening, we were taken for a cruise on the Seine. It took us around the best parts of the city. I was one of the unfortunate ones to have missed the trip- the boat was very punctual-and jetlag hadn’t allowed me to get out of the Indian standard time. Obviously, I wasn’t going to miss it- so got my own tickets and set out. The silver lining- the sun was setting and there couldn’t have been a better time to experience the cruise.
Classes started on full swing from Tuesday. We had lectures from 845 to 545, with some breaks in between. The professors had great expectations from us- they thought we were supposed to be the best in the country, or so they said. We tried very hard to maintain our humility- though part of it was forced by the performance anxiety few of us were suffering from.
Wednesday was reserved for a business cum pleasure trip to the champagne industry. A beautiful countryside, the champagne factory, a cathedral on the way, and we got back at 8 pm.
The next two days were spent studying the intricacies of European economy- the problems being faced by some of the European nations after they changed over to Euro. Of course no such discussion could be complete without a lengthy session on Brexit!
The classes continued. We had speakers from various industries, field trips, and the usual lecture sessions. For the pre-reads for the classes we had planned in advance and delegated the work to some of our interested batch mates, who had the daunting task of making the on-a-holiday-mood people understand the nuances of the case, and survive the grill in the class.
Supply chain management was a recurring theme some of the classes, and to cap our learnings in class, we were taken on a field trip to STEF- where we got a hands-on experience on how supply chain management works. The first challenge was to survive temperatures of minus 20 degrees. We were given adequate gear- we had to keep our minds from freezing and developing cold feet- because we needed to do an analysis on the potential challenges of STEF on expanding to emerging markets.
Two weeks breezed by. Friday was the last class- and we couldn’t help feel a tad nostalgic that the exchange program was coming to an end. After the presentation, we were conferred our certificates. Some of us had apprehensions about how much value a two-week immersion program could add to our course, but after these weeks most of us felt that it indeed added some new perspective to our learning. We were able to look at the business environment and challenges in another country and compare it with ours. We were able to get a feel of the working environment and the general perception about India from an ‘outsider’s’ viewpoint.
The weekend was free, and most of us decided to utilize it in getting a feel of Europe. To know a country well, you also need to mingle with its people after all !
Archya, is a doctor-turned-healthcare administrator, who thinks he has a passion for writing, and hence uses his limited idle time to pen down his thoughts. No publishing house has yet made him any offers, so he has to now debate his opportunity costs.
Archya is presently pursuing a MBA (PGPX) from IIM, Ahmedabad.