Overcoming fears of joining a B-School

MBA Aspirants

Every opportunity that knocks at our door brings out our passionate and hidden skills, immense thoughts, nervousness and fear. Any new journey will have its ways with highs and lows, positives and negatives and joys and fears. A similar fear emerged in me when I was about to join a B-school for pursuing my MBA degree. There was an innate passion to pursue MBA which would boost my knowledge in a more practical manner. A mind runs with numerous thoughts from all the entrance exams one has to give to choosing the best college to study.

Fears are temporary when we take decision to remove it from our system. However they at times become a constraint for us to achieve things in a timely manner. The various fears that we face are:

  • Choosing a B-school based on our preferences like location, level of education, practical exposure, their selection process etc.
  • Facing a new campus with new people across the country scares most people wondering if they would be able to become one with all
  • A personal experience of having studied in a girl’s school and college I had a fear of studying in a co-ed college with the fear of thought that whether I would be as confident as speaking to the other gender as my own.
  • Fear of the level of study that I would be engaged in. Most people joining a B-school think they might not have a life of their own. We presume that about 10-12 hours of our day would just end up in studying.
  • One of the biggest fears in us is public speaking. Being exposed to various discussions and presentations the art of public speaking takes a back seat with the fear filled in our head.
  • Assuming that only theoretical marks will have helped us in landing with a great job and not concentrating on other co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.

Fears only lead us to take wrong decisions and become a hindrance in the steps of our success. Overcoming these fears is possible only when we remove assumptions and face these situations practically. It is important to relish the dream of pursuing MBA with passion and positive thoughts rather than being sceptical of things unknown to is

In order to overcome these fears, firstly we need to get in touch with anyone who has been a part of this journey. A friend, relative or anyone known could help us from his/her personal experience. In case, you know none, you could easily get help these days through social network sites where people would be more than willing to help us. In my case, I took help from Facebook looking into the group of students registered under my batch. Also I had known a senior in IBS who helped me understanding the process of study at IBS. Things heard provide more confidence than things just read.

Being in a new place, lot of thoughts in our mind of how the faculties are available in the campus, how the classes are constructed, the faculty etc. One solution to this would be visiting the campus before hand, in case it is not a far destination, so that one gets an idea of all those facilities available in there. B-schools engage in lot of activities other than just studies. They have group case discussions, events based on subjects and entertainment, inter college activities etc. Therefore there is equal importance given on exposure to co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.

MBA GraduationOne of the ways of reducing the fear of public speaking is engaging into it in small parts. In other words, getting into discussions with friends over a topic and putting across your points in a confident manner helps us initially in overcoming the fear of speaking. You could start this being confidence within. Stand in front of a mirror and start talking on a topic. Being self confident gives more power to stand in front of a crowd and speak.

Be an avid reader and try to engage in research on various matters of day to day happenings and other topics of interest. This will make one a prime face when a discussion takes place. Being positive is another important aspect of public speaking. Standing in front of a group of people and being able to speak confidently is the art of a good speaker.

MBA is a platform which brings with it many opportunities and to seek out our talent. We are provided with various activities and events are organized so that we could showcase our talent. It is a place where you are not confined only to books, but given a chance to present your thoughts and talent on a particular subject etc through various forms. These include presentations, group discussions, role play, skits etc. Such activities help one in overcoming the fear of presenting their thoughts and learning.

People management is one of the key tasks in any organization. It involves a deal to maintain cordial relations with people around and whom one is working with. However, human asset is the biggest asset of a company as the cost of recruiting new members is always higher than maintaining the existing ones. MBA creates a scenario with people from various backgrounds around. It helps us a lot in understanding behavioural skills and characteristics of these people through various tasks we are put at.

Decision making is another fear that many of us face in our day to day lives. We become nervous when are placed in a challenging situation or under crisis. In any organization, decision making is an important aspect and taking it with confidence requires traits and experience. MBA is a course which helps us in building that confidence through various skilled based activities and presentations made.

Failing in a particular situation does not lead to a permanent failure. They are stepping stones leading to a career with utmost experience and persistence. Fears are like excuses and life does not accept excuses, it is the results that are rewarded. Enjoying the culture and environment set up around u, with compassion and knowledge will lead to a journey with reduced speed breakers.

Life will have no place for fear, if positivity and confidence are put on gear”

Contributed By : Anju Bafna, Class of 2010, IBS Bengaluru

“Quanto-Anglo-Logic” the new religion for all aspiring MBA students

MBA students

There is never enough time, let me tell you that straight up!

You could begin studying for any exam, a week, a month, a year, or even three years in advance and trust me you will say this one day before your exam, “OMG!!! I couldn’t complete Module 4 of Math, and 3 Chapters in Language.”

I used to be a ‘doubting Thomas’ in matters related to MBA till one day my mother broke the news to me. She knocked on my door and said, “Darling, times are tough! Recession has hit the job markets; so I don’t see you getting a job after B.Com. You have a year; join a part time coaching class for the MBA entrance exam and start studying for it right away.”

Honestly I wasn’t sure I even wanted to do my MBA just after my graduation. What I really wanted to do was work for a couple of years and then pursue my higher studies abroad. Call it fate, but at home my mom always had the last word. So I sheepishly enrolled myself into one of top 2 institutes in my city for an MBA coaching and hoped for the best.

I was pretty confident that I would sail through the coaching classes with flying colours, since I was a topper in my college. But on day-1 when the coaching classes put me through a Pre-Assessment test, my confidence was shattered. I was ranked in the bottom 30 percentile and my instructor looked at me with same look a doctor gives when he has to deliver bad news to the family of his patient.

The instructor told me that I was one of the worst performers he had ever come across in his entire career. He then asked me to go back home and come back the next day for a more detailed analysis.

I arrived back the next day, with a heavy heart and was prepared to hear the worst. But I was quite surprised at what he had to say. He explained to me that I really hadn’t given a bad performance, but I had completely messed up the way I had answered my assessment.

The greatest insight that I got from my pre-assessment was:

  1. There are 3 main sections for any competitive exam (some have more i.e. General Knowledge, etc.) like: Quantitative Studies, English Language and Logical Reasoning and one needs study the pattern of exam before even attempting that exam.
  1. Once the pre-assessment was broken down and each section was individually scored, my instructor had shown me that my weakness was Quantitative subjects. I had individually scored very well in Language and Logic.
  1. Each type of entrance exam has its own scoring pattern; some of them allow students a certain amount of time for each section. While some others allow students to randomly scan through the entire paper and answer whichever section convenient in the entire time, some exams are online, whereas others have to be answered on hard paper. Some exams even have scores for the steps in calculation. So one must be aware of the type of exam one is attempting.
  1. Work on your weak subjects and build on your strengths.

With all this knowledge I began my journey towards enlightenment. My goal now had shifted from studying a bunch of subjects to actually strategising on how to tackle different exams that I had made up my mind to try.

Since Quant was my weakness I went through the entire list of modules and tried to figure out what I was actually good at. I marked out those chapters and quickly began to work on them. The next step in Quant was to actually work on the modules I could not tackle, and some of them were: formula based calculations, trigonometry, and Quadrilateral equations. No matter how hard I tried I could not get a hang of them. Maybe it was because I had begun preparing for my exams just a few months in advance to the actual entrance, and I was still in my final year of college. Maybe I could have worked harder, but like I said before, there is never enough time for everything, and what one needs to undertake is a strategy to tackle one’s weakness. So I simply tried and skimmed through what I didn’t understand and decided to skip it altogether.

At this point I would like to put forth a disclaimer: Any views expressed in this article are simply on the basis of my personal experience and every individual is unique. If you could take a lesson from my experience I would be highly honoured, but I warn you that you need to understand your own strengths and build your own strategy.

The other 2 sections, Language and Logic were more like stress-busters to me. I loved to solve puzzles during my spare time, and in the year that I was preparing for my entrance exams, I would carry my logic book while I travelled and used it to substitute my puzzle book to pass my time. When I was stressed out studying Quant, I would use my language book as a refresher in between and have a little fun with it.

Months flew by and my strategy seemed to work like a charm, till the time came for the actual exam. About a month in advance I booked my tickets and got my stay arranged as my city did not have an entrance exam centre. I kept solving the papers from previous year’s exams and my instructor encouraged me to complete more assessments. Even though my score was slightly above average he encouraged me to never give up.

You see at the end of the day one can never predict the circumstances one would encounter during the day of the exam. All you can do is pray to Pythagoras, Hermes and Apollo and hope that you have prepared enough to tackle your demons. Rest assured that in the end everything will work out just the way it is supposed to and CAT is not the only exam that one can attempt. There are plenty of others, just like the number of Gods we have in India. You could really try and attempt the international exams, if you have the opportunity.

No matter what, there is never a need to be disappointed or dejected because, “There is always a next time!”

Contributed by Sujir Pavithra Nayak, (Class of 2011, IBS Hyderabad)