The journey till and then from a B-School are diametrically opposite!

 About the Author:

Tania Solanki  (IIM Shillong, PGP 2019-21)

Coming from a family of government officials, my family always emphasized the importance of education and knowledge. I was a very studious and shy child in school who would avoid communicating with people at any cost. This could be the reason for me trying to interact with people in the college by cracking jokes and being funny. Being funny is the new cool, isn’t it? With AIR 3277 in JEE-Advanced and terribly bad CBSE-Boards percentage, I landed in one of the government universities in my state.

My parents wanted me to prepare for UPSC but “Eh! Yeh to nahi hi ho payega!”. It was just some random day when I see some of my friends talking about what they’re planning post engineering. Then the idea of pursuing an MBA was put on the table. I, along with a few batch mates, look for the course of action to get into a great B-school. There was a strict attendance policy in my college, and we had classes from 9 AM, to 5 in the evening. Thus, I enrolled for weekend classes for CAT and appeared for CAT 2017. I flunked the exam, didn’t even cross the essential cut-off of one of the three sections, and thought of giving it another try.

In 2018, I graduated as an Electronics and Communications Engineer from DCRUST, Murthal and then joined Tata Consultancy Services Limited as an Assistant Systems Engineer. I was the only person from my batch who got the base location as Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Being alone in a new city with a totally different culture was one trouble but coming from a Punjabi family, it was super difficult to make peace with having Idlis and Sambhar every day. Not being able to get to terms with the south Indian cuisine and my impotence in the kitchen made me more focused on my MBA. I appeared for CAT 2018 and then ended up in IIM Shillong.

The journey in IIM Shillong just in the beginning made me realize that it is going to be different than what I had in my engineering days. After the ‘fun’ rituals of a few days, in the beginning, the real struggle began. Special sessions were held to introduce the students with different pedagogies. Being from an engineering background, it was complicated to adjust and understand the concepts of accountancy and finance. MBA programs are known for their peer learning approach. The batch of 2019-2021 at IIM Shillong is officially the most academically diverse MBA batch. We have participants from Fashion Industry, Medical Sciences, and Merchant Navy, etc. Everyone has continuously been very supportive and have helped in whatever ways they can. The senior batch organized knowledge transfer sessions for the juniors.

Amidst hectic schedules and deadlines, I made some fantastic friends who have been there through all ups and downs. When you’re going through such a rigorous culture of learning, you end up making powerful bonds as they are in similar condition as you are (and you can crib about it together: P).  Pretty sceneries of Shillong with rains for around ten months every year reduced the hustle to some extent.

During the placement season for Summer Internships, I got selected by GroupM India as a Media and Strategy Intern. This opportunity formed a practical set up where some of the principles learned in the academics got implemented, and some got refined. MBA is way more than the academics that we study inside the classroom. Here, I would appreciate the fact that a lot of learning happening inside the classrooms is also seen in practical aspects. Case Analysis from Harvard Business School is a significant part of the same. The faculties are very experienced in their respective domains and always welcome new insights for discussion and analysis. 

The past year has been more than just academics at IIM Shillong. I participated in various competitions that were other than the corporate competitions we participate in. I went to IIT Guwahati and NIFT Shillong for some events (and won them too J). I along with a friend, opened an informal Drama Society in the institution where I write and direct a few plays, and we perform it, wherever possible. It has been a roller coaster till now, and the current pandemic situation has declined the adventure which an on-campus MBA program gave us. The things are pretty much the usual; it’s just we can now sit in front of a laptop with a cup of coffee or tea in hand. 

What I learned from my journey till now can be stated as, 

“You can do things that you have never thought of. What you think is what you do & what you do is what you are!” 

Everything is eventually going to fall in place. Other than hard work, it’s the belief you have in yourself, more than anything else. If you believe that you can achieve something and have good intentions for that, you’ll end up making paths for yourself. This would make you work hard, and as a result, you’d cultivate the required skills and be loyal to the journey till the finish line.

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