Term I: Survival Guide
Updated: Sep 27, 2020
Hey there Facchas! Welcome to the best dog days of your life.
CV verifications. Placements. Club Selections. Competitions. WWRs. And a hell lot of other things to bogart your attention. Just when you think classrooms seem peaceful, you will be hulk-smashed for reasons that you can never fathom. There may come a point in every Facchas’ fragile life where they might feel rammed under a railroad with no respite in sight if you don't set term 1 straight.
I am a fin-fearing, not-from-IR-background, always-the-last-to-know-what's-happening-around-me poor soul. Speaking like a true MBA, if you are targeting to become an IR, I can give you contacts, but you are not my TG here.
So for the rest of you folks, here’s our 2 cents for handling Term 1.
Class notes: The treasure map to El Dorado
There are several ways one can get hold of this: attend every class and write your own notes [good luck with that], get notes from your classmates who are more diligent [and willing, of course], get notes from your seniors [there are people here who will be more than happy to help, but beware of some enthu-cutlets].
Strategy: Don’t get into a basketball court with a cricket bat
No matter how well you perform the drill, if you are ignorant about how to tackle your quizzes and exams, question papers will mercilessly laugh at your face. Each subject is a different beast, and each professor, a different master. Do not be clueless when you face the Quiz. Talk to seniors from your same section and assimilate enough resources. Seniors are your go-to people. Work smartly.
Question paper: One ring to rule them all
While there are restrictions on circulating question papers, one does find a pearl here and there, if one looks deeper. So it's a good idea to stay vigilant for an easter egg in the system. And if you do get hold of a question paper, solve it first. The probability of getting the same or similar questions is high. Most of the exams are a war of resources.
Cases & Pre-reads: If you hood-winked your way through RC in CAT - look who’s laughing now!
Covering a 30-page case with 2 pre-reads before every case discussion will be a recurring nightmare this term [unless you are Hermione Granger with a time-turner]. But if you don't read the case and still try to do CP, you'll look like a cat trying to catch laser.
If you are struggling to find a way to approach a case, here are few things for you to keep in mind. Start with the appendix. Get a few insights from the appendix, go back and read the case. The Pre-reads will have the necessary theory that helps you to solve the case, but if you get zero insights or simply if you do not have enough time, stick with case facts, you would scrape through at least.
Attendance: Are you guys counting?
Go through the PGP rule book at least once before you get into trouble. Know your buffer for bunking classes. Keep track of how many classes you miss. If you are already on the wedge, do not miss classes anymore. Do not be under the impression that you can weasel your way out of grade drops. Because it's taken quite seriously here. No seriously, I’m serious guys!
Competitions: ‘All is fair in love and B-School competitions’
Why do competitions look attractive? Two reasons. On the one hand, we have CV points, PPI/PPOs, prize money and the signal that you are good at something; while on the other hand, we have "because we are asked to register", “I don't have points in co-curricular”, “everyone else is talking about it” and #FOMO.
Now, any reason is a good enough reason to try your skills but consider a few fundamentals before taking a shot at any competition. In the first 3 months, you will have very limited time to dedicate but a handful of competitions to tackle. So, learn to pick your battles. Even if you register for everything, figure out what matters to you & your teammates. Then commit. Bet on games you can win. Even the great Tendulkar picked his bowlers!
Know what is the difference between executive summary/one-slider, idea pitch, 5-7 sliders when you make PPTs for various competitions. Best way to know this is by contacting the seniors who participated in the respective competitions previously.
Myth of MBA = no sleep
I am sure you would’ve heard that B-schoolers are a bunch of sleepless hustlers. Well, we are debunking that myth right here. It is possible to get adequate sleep. There I said it. Now. I am not promising you 8 hours of good-night sleep literally every single day though. There will be late nights. There will be all-nighters. But if you plan well, you can make up for it on other days.
If you are not a morning person, stop having faith in your smartphone and get an alarm clock. Make sure it’s shrill enough to wake up the entire wing [works like a wonder on campus]. Have human alarms as a back-up. When you know you are tired, inform the person near you who can wake you up with a mug of ice water. This way, you will not get grade drops or defaults.
Ultimately, Term 1 has the most credit points in the first year. So, it's like you get bonus points for a meatier CG in term 1. Also, a handful of companies consider first term’s CG during summer placements, so it is better to get your act together by keeping an eye on acads and sail the rest of the year safely. If you fail to do so, be ready for some serious firefighting in term 3 - which is the subject for another day, another article.
So enjoy the journey, the destination is anyways gonna be sweet.