This is another article in the MBA series; this is my MBA journey. Let's go back to the year 2019, I am studying to make my 2nd attempt at CAT. This time I am trying to aim for a better percentile. I was doing well in English and logical reasoning, but my main concern was maths aka quantitative aptitude.
Now, this was not good since I spent two years of my life preparing for an exam and I was still not able to crack it. But this time I also had other plans as well, I also gave other exams like IIFT, CMAT, XAT etc.
The IIFT exam went well but I couldn't clear the sectional cutoff for Maths. XAT went horrible. For the other exam, which was simpler, i.e. CMAT, I scored really good in that exam. I was able to go beyond the 90 percentile mark. This was the exam that helped me get into a good institute for my MBA.
I was shortlisted for a few other good MBA colleges of the same league, but I chose this one as it was near my home, had good placement figures, was strict regarding discipline, and had a good alumni network.
After my application got selected, I went to college for the next process that involved a WAT (Written Aptitude Test) and then a PI (Personal Interview).
A few days later, I received a letter from the institute. This was the offer letter providing me with the details of the offer. I was ecstatic and really happy about my admission to a very reputed college and I was finally going to start my MBA journey.
I remember, I received the letter on the 16th of March and a few days after that Covid lockdown happened. The entire country, the entire world and we all basically became prisoners in our own homes and because we were going to take an education loan for my MBA, things became tough for us since we were to visit the branch to get our application processed.
I was really anxious and concerned during that period that how I will be able to submit my fees and confirm my admission. but later on, we got a mail from the college saying that they were accepting token money in the confirmation for the admission rather than taking the first instalment amount which was in itself a huge amount for us. So, I was relieved that at least I will be able to give the token money and get myself admitted.
The classes started in the month of August. The college was following a system of trimesters rather than semesters. So we had three trimesters in an academic calendar.
In the initial few months of the course due to covid lockdown, everything was happening online, tests, exams, and studies. The first and second trimesters were extremely hard and hectic as a lot of things came our way, and it was hard to keep up with them. Long hours of classes and after that the assignments given to us in the classes were a difficult task in itself.
Most of the time we were supposed to get those done by the next day or the day after. Throughout this time, we were constantly in front of the screen and this was slowly and gradually hampering our health and eyesight. I was constantly feeling slight pain in my head. Also, I had to take care of my eyesight as I wear prescription lenses.
In the middle of the second trimester, I actually fell ill because of the long hours of screen exposure. I actually got a fever and had screen fatigue because I was constantly sleeping at 4:00 a.m. in the morning and waking up at 9:00 a.m. in the morning to attend my classes, this was draining out my energy reserves very rapidly and ultimately caused it all.
This made me realise that I cannot work like this and that I have to improve and improvise. The result was that I started to not look at the screen constantly during my classes but I had my focus on the classes as I was actively listening. Also to reduce my screen exposure, I started using the WhatsApp chat box for writing my assignments rather than typing.
This helped reduce my screen time, and helped me achieve my end goal as I was feeling much more relaxed and refreshed, and I was able to take on this course with more focus and energy.
Fast forward to a few months in the course, it was the month of December. The college administration started asking students to come and join the campus as the covid situation was getting better and it was a residential program. But in our case, it had to be converted into a hybrid system in which a roster was made.
The classes were happening in hybrid mode where 50% of the class would attend physical classes and the other half and attend via zoom or google meet. Few students were still living in their homes and were studying because of this hybrid mode; in another case, it doesn't happen.
I came two months later, I joined at the end of January. The hostel had students from different MBA specialisations, and since I was a student in an international business course, it allowed me to meet and make new friends. Apart from that my online friends started joining the hostel as well, we meet in person for the first time and we hit off instantly.
The hostel life is no doubt the best one can experience. We were enjoying our time in the hostel. However, the regulations were stringent and students were supposed to follow the norms set aside by the college like the mask mandate also a lot of people were not allowed to form a group together or sit very close to each other.
Time passed on, and the third trimester arrived, I would say the best time in my hostel was the third trimester. We were sitting, living, laughing, eating, and playing all together. We were studying to meet sure that no one is lagging behind. We would learn together later at night, and since there were students who were good at a particular subject, they would teach the other students so that they could pass the exams as well.
After the end of our first year, many of the students started their Summer internship. In my case, the training was entirely remote work, so I decided that I would be heading out to my home till the time of the training goes on and join back once the second year starts. I spent good four months at home thanks to a hybrid form of studies, the classes were happening in online and offline mode. I joined back in late August as placement season had started, and I was supposed to be in college as many companies were conducting offline interviews rather than online.
My interest had been in the automobile field, so I had my goal very clear: I would only apply to companies related to this field. In the early stages of the campus placement journey majority of the companies that came were from the IT and banking sectors & they selected a big chunk of students. A few of my friends, too, got chosen by these companies.
There were not many companies in the automobile field. And the majority of the companies were offering sales profiles. There were other companies that were providing consultant profiles, and business analyst profiles too.
In my case, I was not applying for companies. I was waiting for automobile companies to come, and since I was not used to the companies, the placement head was not happy with me; many students like me were trying to be choosy. His task was to get as many students to get placed as soon as possible in order to reduce the number of unplaced people by the end of December because the majority of the companies come in the month of September and from there on the numbers number of companies for coming for campus placement starts to get down. By the end of January, the majority of students got campus placed and very few, like very very few people remained to be placed.
This was the time when a lot of people were very stressed. They were preparing for GD, interviews, written ability tests, and technical interviews, brushing up on their industry knowledge, trying to remember key terms, and trying to remember different subjects and other concepts. I never saw these many people in the library during this period.
There were a lot of people whom you would find sitting in the library, going through books, turning pages and trying to memorize as much as possible for their interviews or GDs.
One good thing about our placement process was that students selected in a particular company would not be able to apply for another one for as long as the other package is double what they are being offered in the present company. This was a great way in which the number of students or competition was reduced over time. This helped the students who were not being able to convert the first few companies. They were getting that chance of getting a job because earlier students had faced a lot of competition.
On the other side, as soon as students were placed, they went on vacation and attended parties.
The focus on studies in the last two trimesters is not much as it is campus placement season, so teachers don't put much pressure on you. They only teach and don't expect much from you, but you do need to ensure that you pass those tests and end up with at least above-average assignments and marks. The marking was lenient during this season.
After the end of January came the last trimester and those last few days went very fast because those three months we were, you know, enjoying ourselves, sitting with each other, laughing and having a great time. In February, we were supposed to take our final exams, but then due to covid issues on the campus, those exams were cancelled, and we were given assignments in place of the exams. After that, we started to pack our bags, leave the hostels for one last time, and never return.
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