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Organised Chaos

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Hey Tiwari, have you done the assignment for finance class," my roomie asks as I return from a half hour break that involved sitting at Marine Drive. "What? When do we have the class" I ask. Obviously after three back-to-back classes, I wasn't too keen on checking out the schedule change. It turns out that the finance class is scheduled for the next day. So that leaves me with around two hours for completing the assignment, assuming that I sleep for three hours after that.

Just as I scramble to collect the initial data and am almost through with completing the task, I receive a call from one of my committee mates saying that a weekly task briefing is scheduled to begin in 20 minutes.

This exhaustive meeting takes up one-and-half hours. So as I somehow complete the assignment and try to sleep for my reduced quota of two hours, tomorrow's targets cross my mind. Now, imagine this scenario for 730 days —my schedule for two years at the B-school.

My life before joining JBIMS was cruising along well. I was working as a (as you must have guessed) software engineer, which basically involved enjoying an air-conditioned office for 8 hours a day while doing productive stuff only as the deadline neared. And boy, did I love my "team leader" status!! It meant that for all practical purposes, my job was to delegate jobs.

Here I am now, in the middle of chaos. Finishing one reading only means beginning another. Completing academic work means starting co-curricular stuff. Is it enjoyable?? Yes, it is! But the question is: What makes it so enjoyable? I will dwell on it in some detail here.

Being in JBIMS means being a small part of an elite group. We are striving for not just a good career, but for greatness that has been the hallmark of Bajajites over four decades. Most of the biggies of corporate India have studied here – Chanda Kochhar, Uday Kotak and Lalita Gupte. Just as you sit in the auditorium, you realise that people heading companies had once been here and sat in the same chairs and have gone through sessions by some of the same professors.

Speaking of professors, I have never seen such good professors ever! The unique thing about JBIMS is that most of the faculty comprises senior industry professionals and they have a no-nonsense approach towards teaching — and not just concepts, but the real world application of the same in a manner that only real industry people can. You can learn all about product life cycles or financial ratios from books. Maybe you can solve cases on the same. But here, the professors give you the real business thinking that uses these concepts as tools or even rejects them when the business problem doesn't need them. Applied education coming your way!

JBIMS has very active student bodies that coordinate and execute most of the activities on campus. Being part of one such body has given me an executional ability that perhaps three-and-half years of work experience hasn't.

For organising our event, we collected sponsorships that included visiting many corporate offices and pitching our plan, handling logistics, receiving guests, distributing invitations, and undertook activities such as the research volunteer selection process comprising many rounds of interviews, choosing panelists for the event and coordinating with sponsors for their ad slots, publishing the journal with all the advertising promised to sponsors… the list goes on. The bonding developed with fellow committee members and the grassroots level learnings are the two important experiences which will stay with me for life!

Oh, well, I have to read more about marketing research so that we can update our project to be presented in be two days! That's how life is here, full of work, but work that is shaping me into a better planner and an even better implementer. No wonder my former colleagues find it hard to believe the change in me! Signing off with heavy hopes of a couple of free days, I urge you all to take the B-school experience at least once in your lives, and enjoy the grind. My phone's ringing — a call from a project mate. Wait a minute. Is he my partner in project A or B?.

Ashmant Tiwari is pursuing MBA from Jamunalal Bajaj Institute of Management, Mumbai

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