Perspectives from ISB

If an idle mind is the Devil’s workshop, then the Devil doesn’t get much work done at the Indian School of Business. The workload at a business school with a one-year program may well be beyond the limits of human imagination. But ask anyone here, and they would swear they’re having the time of their lives. With submissions and deadlines, exams and sleepless nights, how on earth could that possibly be? Well the secret, it seems, is variety.

An MBA isn’t just an academic exercise or the means to a well-paying job. It is about as close to alchemy that mankind is ever going to get. Year after year students, some young and bright eyed, others older, wiser and ever so slightly cynical, come in and dive headlong into an exercise that promises transformation. And every year the school delivers on this promise. It isn’t science and it certainly isn’t magic. It is the broadening of perspectives that can come, not only by meeting different people, but also by trying different things. So while the week goes by attending lectures and working on academic pursuits, the weekend is when you could say the learning truly begins. To better understand what I mean by this, let us walk through a typical weekend here at ISB. The problem is, any attempt to list everything that happens here (often simultaneously) will invariably forget to mention too many of them. But while this list is by no means exhaustive, it is at the very least, a good place to start.

Let’s talk about the professional activities first.

On any given weekend, there will be multiple sessions organized by different clubs. Ever wonder what a brand or product manager’s life is really like? Or how Fintech is going to change the landscape of finance professions in an almost unrecognizable way? Be it digital marketing, stock trading, the future of consulting or how a policy could affect the economy or a particular industry, every aspect of every profession will be covered throughout the course of the year. On the self-improvement front, there may be language classes or soft skill sessions, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The point is, there is too little time and what seems like limitless opportunities, and what drives students here isn’t fame or money. It is the fear of missing out, or what is more popularly known as FOMO. So the act of balancing all these different events can be quite the delicate task.

Speaking of events, there isn’t any shortage of those either. Something or the other is always in the horizon, be it sports leagues or inter college fests or alumni reunions. Each event has a dedicated team working tirelessly towards ensuring its success. Chances are that you would find yourself in one of these teams by the time the year ends. For example, currently the Net Impact club is organizing Bandhan, an event where the school hosts underprivileged children over the course of several weekends of laughter and learning. The students here volunteer in droves, and the sight of them teaching kids how to speak in public, or dance or play an instrument, would warm any heart.

Then there are those who just want to enjoy themselves at the end of a grueling week. While the nights may be reserved for parties or socializing, many a pleasant afternoon and evening can be spent at the various workshops that are organized by the different Social Clubs. The Music club could have an outdoor performance planned, or the Dance club a salsa class. You could take a dip in the swimming pool or play tennis with a friend. You might just head to the movie room for a screening of your favourite show, or attend a martial arts session. You get the point. And the best part of all of this is that it is almost entirely student run. The professional sessions are probably being conducted by an alumnus who has been through the same journey as you, and the workshop by the introvert who you sit next to in class but have never spoken to. The bonds of friendship that are forged through this multitude of activities, and the network that you build, is something that lasts long after these moments turn into causes for wistful nostalgia.

To have so many opportunities afforded is both a privilege as well as an immensely enjoyable journey of self-discovery. There is a surprise waiting around every corner, and the hope is that we will walk out of this place truly believing that anything is possible. For the moment though, we’re happy simply being ‘here for the experience.

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