Saturday, September 15, 2007

End Of First Term Vacations (Remembering The Path To Ahmedabad)

Calling the 7-day break a ‘vacation’ may seem a bit weird... but that’s the IIMA style. After the grueling first term, even a 2 –day break seems like a vacation.
The exams were a mere formality to be completed to proceed on to the vacation.
So, I’m at Nashik at my sister’s place... cooling my heels... licking my wounds… and recharging myself for the next term. Let me recount my first term… or even better... let me recount my journey to IIMA…

I was working with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) since 2002… was posted at a power plant at Kaiga, near Karwar (try to get that from the map!)

Got bored of my job after sometime (operating a nuclear reactor didn’t hold my interest for long!) So I decided to take the CAT... trying to study during the small amount of free time I got while working. Took the CAT in 2004, 2005, 2006… Kept improving my scores from 88% to 94.5% to 97.45%… While filling up the 2006 form, I thought why not try for the FPM program. Some of the fields looked interesting and the faculty was an obvious attraction. I applied to three IIMs - A, B, I (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Indore). The CAT percentile ensured calls from all three for the FPM program in the area related to Production & Quantitative Methods.

Interview dates for IIM-B and IIM-I clashed. So I decided to appear for the IIM-B interview. I felt that my interview went off well as they asked me about basic mathematics and use of operation management techniques in my job. The next interview was that of IIM-A. The difference between the two was that IIM-B’s area focused on the operations side. But A’s area was focused on both operations and quantitative methods. My preparation for quantitative methods was absolutely zilch. Even though QM was one of my favorite subjects in my engineering, I had been out of touch for nearly 5-6 years. The interview committee grilled me royally on QM, work experience, operations… the ordeal went on for around 45 minutes. I was totally devastated after the interview. I didn’t attend the dinner meeting that day and left for my friend’s place in A’bad.

The days passed by at work. I received the reject info from B’lore... and I was hopeless about Ahmedabad. I decided to go back to the drawing board and try once again next year. My quarter was in a total mess. Hadn’t really attended to it for nearly 3 months!

For a totally fresh beginning, I decided to start with clearing the mess. I had an off day after my evening shift. That was totally devoted to this task. I borrowed a vacuum cleaner to aid me in this herculean task. After 5 hours of hard work, I managed to complete the task. I check my mail… and lo... I receive the offer letter from IIM-A. Out of total disbelief, I confirm the offer from the IIM website and prepare for completion of the formalities.

I resigned from my job; the usual events of send-off parties, exit interviews, etc. followed and on May 16, I left Karwar for the last time.

The next 10 days were really good. Enjoyed the comfort of home and tried to orient myself towards rigorous studies ahead.