My Final Year at IBS: Ready to Face the World.

ready to face copyJust a month to go and I’ll be out there in the big, wide world. I’m itching and ready to put all my new found expertise to use wherever and whenever I can. Excitement! Anticipation! Apprehension! A mixture of all this and most of all relief – that the two years of studies are over. My wife, who has been a constant course of support for me in these last two years, is experiencing all these emotions and is more relieved than I am, I can tell.

These were my feelings when I was a second-year MBA student, just on the cusp of graduating. I am sure many of you, similarly situated, can recognize these feelings (though many of you may not have a spouse prodding you).

Looking Back

When I look back over the two years that I spent at IBS, the memories rush back. I came to the institute with a lot of expectations and while things may not have gone exactly the way I thought, probably I came away with far more than I expected.

The relationships, the connections, and the principles I imbibed during that time – they were all an affirmation of why I was there in the first place. Now, with time, space and hindsight I can say that everything of what I learned has gone into making the ‘ME’ that I am now.

In school and college, I was one among a lot of students in a class. At IBS, the small class size, the fewer students led to an intimacy among us students and greater focus on our learning. More chances of meaningful interactions; more chances of developing deeper relationships; more chances of interacting with the faculty; and of course, more chances of having fun and playing the fool.

I think that I made closer friendships during those two years than I would have in all my years in school and college.The best part about it is that some of these friendships have deepened over the years while acquaintances have flourished. It must be something to do with the campus ambiance or just the fact that all of us were going through identical experiences – only in a more focused and intense way.

Though many of my batch mates are in diverse fields and are scattered all over the world, when I get a chance to interact with them at alumni meets, it’s as if the space and time gap never existed. We are able to pick up the threads of our lives as easily as if we had been talking just the other day.

Earlier this year when I went to IBS Ahmedabad to attend a seminar, it was as if I had never been away. I met my professors in whose classes I had whiled away a lot of my time – though now with the years of adulthood experience – and we met as equals. I was charmed by their enthusiasm and their continuing interest in all of us ‘old’ students.

Back to the Future

Has my investment paid off? Am I better off for having done my MBA from IBS? Could I have been done things differently?

My answer to the last two questions is, quite frankly – I don’t know. If I had done my graduation, say from the Indian Institutes of Management or XLRI or any of the ‘elite’ institutions, maybe I would have had a different career path or maybe not – its all in the realms of speculation. The basic person I am would remain the same; whether I studied here or elsewhere. Its like saying what if I had been born in some remote country in Africa or what if I had been born in America? My skills are what I have and how I use my skills is up to me. Yes, circumstance, training, experiences and of course, the kind of mentorship I receive all have a bearing on my future – but whether one is better than the other is very subjective.

As to whether my investment – in studying at IBS – has paid off – my answer is a resounding YES! After more than ten years in the corporate sector and now that I am on the path of entrepreneurship, I can say that I would not exchange my sojourn in IBS for anything in the world.

I said in my opening lines that my experiences in the institute have moulded me into what I am now. Whatever values I have gained are due to the professors who gave them to me; my domain expertise is due to the way they taught me; my behavior with my environment is due to what I have absorbed by watching them.

Did I put all my chips in the same counter when I opted for IBS? Perhaps. Life is a gamble; every decision we take stands the equal chance of going right or going wrong. Some decisions may have more in favor of it than others but still it can turn adverse too. But what you have to go through and how you deal with it, is a final test of what you have learned from your institute and how you apply it.

I think probably the best thing I have learned from IBS is that life is not just about a good salary or a good job. There’s more to it. It is about getting happiness from what you do; its about being a responsible citizen; its about doing things you want to do; its about being empathetic to others; above all, its about being a good human being. Earning is not the big thing – the big thing is what you do with it. Is it making a difference to the others around you?

Stars in my eyes; empty pockets; a world of ambitions; dreams; the good wishes of my colleagues and that of my professors who spent time trying to drilling all the knowledge they possessed into my head; expectations of my parents; my wife’s unstinting support  – Hello, World, here I come.

Contributed By : Sidhartha Mohanty (Class of 2005, IBS Ahmedabad).

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