Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Indian MBA dream: Part 2

(pre-read: The Indian MBA dream: Part 1)

The competition was overwhelming. I was sitting with great achievers, many of whom did not know what failure is. I was immediately identified as a disastrous misfit. And not without good reasons:

I’ve had my share of troubles in the past, no doubt about that. Here, I’m a regular feature in the defaulter list and am always threatened with dire consequences. The funny thing about these threats is that they work only against the elitist geeks. I mean, what do you expect from a threat like “We’ll ensure that we cancel your candidature for the XYZ bank..” or "Your attitude is disgusting, now we'll oust you from ABC elite (self proclaimed) club and banish you from any interactions with the alumni.. Thus robbing you the opportunity to meet people, network and build your connections/ career". Do these threats work for someone who has other priorities and chooses not to run the self deprecating race. When I tell the dear bozos that I’m not interested anyway, I get a new dose on how apathetic I am.

Then there are projects. I’ve witnessed a healthy share of pressure in my line of work. But it seems a report on the something as important as, umm.. say “Lessons from HR practices of Zulu tribes of Mozambique” beats the work pressure of a Fortune company. Some of my classmates’ tensions pertaining to projects has been beyond my comprehension. Why would one lose sleep over an assignment which is compiled through some smart googling and would be of no consequence to the world? However, time and again- I’ve seen fun (whatszzat??), family and friends taking a backseat- paving the way for preparedness for cases, quizzes, reports, exams and placements.

It doesn’t stop there. The same tense and busy ones sometimes point out the faults in the system. My patience is of great help in such situations and my exquisite code of politeness prevents me from pouncing and biting off the ears of such complainants. With my temper in check, I have many a times tried to tell that it is not necessarily the system that is flawed. A quick reality check on our actions reveals that it is in fact our drive for the number one spot (nothing else will do!), the willingness to go to any extent to gain that extra inch over your competition that has messed up the environment.

Once when I pointed this out to my colleague, there was some development in the eyes of the conversant. Whether his eyes were actually shooting flames, I could not tell you for sure, but there certainly appeared to be a distinct incandescence. Now, even a person with fewer brain cells than a rodent would realize that the time has come to retreat. At such instances, I quickly take the discussion to something like ‘what great companies have visited our great institution’ and what a bright future one may expect here. A talk on ‘placement always does the trick and the homicidal glare usually dies out of the eyes. Indeed: the grass has always been greener on the other side for humans.

The fact that my reading and writing skills have been murdered is the final nail in the coffin. Maybe I’m being too pessimistic. Or maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve been hobnobbing with so many bowed down hearts that cheeriness sounds bizarre.

So here I let Creed describe my state of mind:

I lie awake on a long, dark night
I can't seem to tame my mind
Slings and arrows are killing me inside
Maybe I can't accept the life that's mine
No I can't accept the life that's mine

Me...I'm rusted and weathered
Barely holding together….

However, there is faint glimmer of hope somewhere. Something about the human spirit that keeps us alive. So Creed acknowledges:

The earth is a voice
Speaking to you
Take all this pride
And leave it behind
Because one day it ends
One day we die
Believe what you will
That is your right
But I choose to win
So I choose to fight
To fight

Fight I will. The weapons may be different and have grown sophisticated over time.

Hint: My present weapon is humor..


  1. Bloody brilliant post. I was definitely part of the sub 1min Quant group and by God's grace have been on the other side of the spectrum too where I didn't manage to get into any college :-) your experiences brace me up for what I may/may not experience in the coming future. Thanks for writing this. You truly have mastered the art of "every-day" writing..!!

  2. Ah, humour is your weapon you say, and to what devastating effect you use it!!!!Brilliant, insightful and funny.. Its heartening to note that you haven't crossed over to the dark side.. Hope remains.. Looking forward to many more regaling stories... :-)

  3. great post SP.. the system has some inherent problems, and i believe everyone has played their role..starting from the society, immediate family and friends as highlighted by you, media and loss of interest in engineering students from the evergreen sectors like manufacturing/construction for immediate returns. Its crazy how the comforts of a good cgpa and secure placements are driving the future breed of managers, people who are supposed to live in a world of change where nothing is assured or secure.. and this very assurity of a good placements, crazy salaries, bonuses itself is driving the growing interest towards the elite Indian MBA. The managerial greed was partly responsible for the last global meltdown, India was relatively insulated.. but if we dont see an attitudinal shift with respect to how and what we expect out of MBA, there is a big reason to worry.

  4. "I quickly take the discussion to something like ‘what great companies have visited our great institution’ and what a bright future one may expect here. A talk on ‘placement’ always does the trick"

    Hilarious dude!

  5. I dont know.. Should I laugh or sympathiz??e.. A humorous blog with a sad undercurrent depicting correctly what goes on in a BSchool with a pinch of salt...