Dec 9, 2009

Chequered flag

It still hasn't sunk in; the feeling of not having to go to IIMB every Fri and Sat, attend fantastic lectures, work on assignments and projects. This has been my weekend routine for the past 2.5 years which has finally come to an end last week. My classmates who have one more term to go ask me how do I feel. "I feel relieved, yet I know I am gonna miss something" is my standard reply for now. Looking back, these 2.5 years resulted in creating some memorable experiences.

Unless you are interested in knowing what the hell I did in these 2.5 years at IIMB, you can skip this post.

After I joined work immediately after completing my Engineering degree, I didn't have any BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goals) except for the fact that I wanted to do my post graduation. One of my well wishers told me that once I get involved in work, I may just drop the idea of pursuing my higher education. She asked me to keep looking for opportunities for higher education. As family commitments prevented me to move to a full time post graduate programme, I had narrowed down my options to part time offerings. I was more interested in management than technical education. I had even written about my perspectives a while ago on this topic

Having narrowed down on part time MBA as my preferred choice, I came across PGSEM which is the appropriate option for me. One of my PGSEM seniors and also a colleague at work suggested that it is good to join PGSEM only after 4-5 years of work experience. I'm glad I got this advice at the right time. I felt 2007 was the perfect time to join this programme as I had 5 years of work experience by then. I took the PGSEM admission test (similar pattern to that of CAT) and the faculty interview also went well. I still remember the day when I got the email indicating the offer to join the school. I was so excited to join a premier B-school and get back to being a student.

The orientation session created a lot of jitter when seniors scared us on how tough the programme is and how one needs to balance four aspects of life - work, studies, family and Bangalore traffic. To get used to the case based pedagogy, we were given a case to prepare in advance. Prof.L.S.Murthy's superb analysis of the case brought out many insights and created a lot of interest to learn more using this approach. We were given a pile of books for the first quarter at the end of the day. At the end of the orientation session, I realized this journey is going to be fun and exciting.

The first year was packed with core courses and we had some excellent Professors. Some of them are brilliant in their respective domains - Prof.Rishikesha Krishnan for Strategic Management, Prof.Ranganathan for Microeconomics, Prof.Sourav Mukherjee for Managing Organizations, Prof.Mahadevan for Operations Management. The scope of my understanding of business definitely widened, thanks to all the Professors. The education methodology was a stark contrast in comparison to my Engineering days. As someone rightly said, "you take from an MBA as much as you can give". I realized how true this saying is. As I had very minimal understanding of Finance before MBA, I paid a lot of attention to financial accounting and corporate finance courses. Our FinAcc Professor Prof.MS Narasimhan was brilliant in explaining complex accounting principles with simple examples. Although I fared well in both the finance courses, my areas of interest were definitely Marketing and Strategy. Somehow I started to appreciate the case based subjects more than theory.

This led to my selection of marketing and strategy based electives in the second year. Among the various marketing electives I took, the two interesting courses from Prof.Ramesh Kumar (Consumer Behavior, Behavioral dimensions and marketing strategies) triggered a lot of interest in me to dive deep into this fascinating subject that links how individual behavior towards various products and services can play a vital role in formulating a firm's marketing strategy. Professor really inspired us to think differently as part of our case analysis and assignments. Once one accepts the rigor of these two courses, there is a lot to be learnt from class discussions and Prof's lectures. Sometime in the near future, I am really keen to pursue my doctoral dissertation in this fascinating subject of Consumer Behavior and its role in Marketing.

One of the other courses that really inspired me is "Reinventing entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial leadership" by Prof. DVR Seshadri. Professor really made us look at life from a different perspective. The initial few lectures in this course were just mind blowing, with many AHA moments. Many of the Professors have such a vast experience in their professional lives that the examples they quote from their own experience is definitely worth listening.

In the third year, two of the electives I took were just amazing and both were from the finance domain - Prof R Narayanswamy's Financial statement analysis and Prof PC Narayan's Banking, Financial Markets and Systems. When Professors are humorous and give lot of examples to explain complex concepts, the courses become so interesting. If my interest in Finance domain is kindled now, I owe it to both these Profs. Having completed these 2 courses, I can only regret why I haven't chosen them earlier in the 2nd year.

Though I have been talking only about courses and Profs, it doesn't mean the program is only about learning. I have met interesting people, made some good friends and shared a lot of fun moments. The Cafe Coffee Day counter at IIMB knows about all the stories and gossips we talked about!

PGSEM journey is definitely one of the best times of my life. My perspectives have broadened. I have started to look at life differently (no exaggerations here). I no longer dread reading any of the business newspapers or magazines. I have become better at managing myself, my time and my efforts.

All these wouldn't have been possible if not for my supporting and encouraging husband. He stood by me during the challenging times when I had tonnes of submissions and project work lined up. He was very understanding when I wasn't available for a leisurely activity on a weekend.

I should definitely mention the support offered by my organization and all my managers during these 2.5 years. Not once they asked me to skip classes to attend a meeting at work on a Friday morning.

If you are interested in pursuing a part time MBA filled with interesting experiences and learning from fantastic faculty members and you have the support of your family and organization, then this programme is a perfect fit for you.

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