The Method in the Madness

Posted: August 18, 2010 by Anindya Dutta in IIM
Tags: , ,

It has been over a couple of months since the batch of 2010-12 joined IIMA, and seeing everyone go through the motions of the first term here at IIMA has made me nostalgic quite a few times. Now before I write any further, let me issue a few disclaimers. The last piece written by Gurveen did extol the IIMA pedagogy as one which was superior to that of the IITs. I will also touch a similar cord, though slightly differently. However, neither of us are evangelists of the IIM model of business education, nor do we intend to become so. Over the next few weeks, we will write a lot about the nice as well as the not-so-nice things which are home to this place we fondly call WIMWI and beyond.

For now, this is how it goes…

As I turn back the clock, one ritual which I remember having practiced several times during my fachcha year, was walking down the subway stairs after a gut-wrenching quiz (The academic ones, not the ones which we associated with the O’Briens when we were a lot younger) and complaining about how the education system here at Ahmedabad was focused more on grades and mastering the statistics of rankings, rather than on learning and individual development. Also often several of our discussions during our fachcha days raised existential issues about how IIMA was heartless and devoid of a soul, the only aim of which is to separate the so-called grain from the chaff. Such was the intensity of emotions that all of us experienced and endorsed strongly at that time, that these feelings seem fresh as ever even these days. Sigh!

In fact the one year as a PGP1 can be described at best by a single word – madness. But as I walk down memory lane, I do not remember the despair of 2-3 assignments to submit daily in the third term nor do I notice the familiar sinking of the heart on Sunday nights when I used to realize that a much hated subject with decision sheets, senseless (Atleast to me!!!) case studies and terrorizing professors was awaiting me for the next three days. On the contrary,I see, believe it or not, a method in this madness.

Let me explain…

Life at IIMA whizzes by. The amount of pressure (of many kinds) which this institute puts one under gives one very little time to reflect and introspect. But as everyone goes through this daily “pain”, everyday at IIMA does build character. Every event, every concept, every institution, every ritual has its own place in this “method”.

Take for example, T-Nite. Ask anyone who has been through the 72 hour magical extravaganza which descends on WIMWI every August and they will tell you some very important realities of life and management which they have learnt at T-Nite. T-Nite teaches you to bond, to compete, to fight together for a cause, to innovate,to work in a team, to improvise, to work your a**es off, to win together and also to accept defeat sportingly. These are not lessons which can be taught in a FRA class, nor can they be inspired in an ID session. But these are learnings which makes one a better manager, and more importantly a better human being.

It doesn’t stop there. As I write this piece, my dearest fachchas are preparing for another monumental challenge colloquially called “summers prep” at WIMWI. For the uninitiated, “summers prep” is a 2 month long odyssey of remedial sessions, resume verifications, pre-placement talks, CV submissions, interview preparation which ultimately culminates into an absolute anti-climax in the month of November, with everyone taking home a 2 month ticket to a corporate house for the summer months. As one goes through this challenge, one plans only to revise plans later, despairs only to exult later, obtains fleeting clarity only to lose it in abysmal confusion later and prepares for one career option only to unlearn and focus on another later. One of my seniors aptly called it an “emotional rollercoaster which makes you huff and puff”. But more important than the corporate brand that you take away to flaunt for the rest of the year is the fact that this process instills in you an instinct for survival, an unprecedented appreciation for discipline, a desire to manage and organize oneself effectively and more importantly a sense of humility. As before these are not lessons taught in classrooms, nor are they passed on down the years by seniors. You simply learn it as you go through it…

There are several more instances of the method in the madness which I could write about – but will leave it just at that lest I play spoiltsport for my fachchas who have so much more to experience and learn here. IIMA fachchadom is baptism by fire, and yes it is a lot of madness. But as I conclude, my mind goes back to the famous scene from the movie 300.

Persian messenger: This is blasphemy! This is madness! [Leonidas lowers his sword and looks toward Gorgo, who nods.]

Leonidas: [facing the Persian messenger] Madness? THIS IS SPARTA!!!

Madness?? This is WIMWI…

  1. Pradnya says:

    I am an IIM aspirant and posts like these are very encouraging. Awesome writeup.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Vishal says:

    Nice read…!!

  3. Ankita says:

    Awesome read… makes me feel nostalgic about first year especially seeing the second year pass by so quickly…

  4. Aditya says:

    Either there is a method in the madness or its this :

  5. Anubhav says:

    Nice 2 cents…As it is said that WIMWI first yr doesnt give someone time to reflect on what you have read..I feel that is not good for an institute or the learning experience of the student. Does doing 1 case a day make sense when most of class doesnt even remember it after 1 day rather than taking the juice out of one case while discussing it over 2-3 lectures. In universities abroad, each member is put in the position of the CEO and made to analysis the situation and may be the protagonist will come and share his experience. the learning is important and I feel that is not being focussed on.

  6. Selva muthukumaran .S says:

    Encouraging read…
    It has been been two months since i joined WIMWI.Looking back, it seemed to me like i had been here for years, fighting hard to stay afloat and not having a sense of accomplishment.There were times of despair trying to understand the need for such madness, deadlines,suffocating schedules and the subsequent effect in the next day classroom sessions.
    The importance of staying alert and being grounded all the time.The best thing about these two months has been the realization of the actual value of Time Management and stress management(Most important).
    Thanks a lot for this post.
    The best thing i like about this blog is that, it has a great sense of individuality and opinion, rather than being just another GlOBE funda.(Many WIMWIans have mastered this art :P)
    Three Cheers to the blog and the authors 🙂

    • Setu Saurabh says:

      You have so succinctly put the opinions and feelings of so many. I am writing this as I have all the time in the world, for the third slot ends here and tomorrow marks the beginning of renewed vigor for summers.

      All this while, it never occurred to me to reflect about the journey and I would not have, if I would not have met this blog. It has increased the respect of this place in my mind even more, I have learned so many things apart from the subject matter itself.

      Although I do agree that I would not remember a lot many cases next year but the instilled habit of hard-work will see me through with all the grind in life.

      As is put, this place makes you humble.

  7. aditi says:

    Gurveen , ur articles are simply superb ! I love ur language , usage and new word…am of ur age..i enjoy reading ur posts..i was looking out for your blogs…but i guess after the airport one u havent written any! i had been waiting for a article from you to read….but in search of that i found this!! neither has rutika written any new blog either….am a fan of both ur lingo and ur attitude which is seen in ur writing….very jovial.!!! reply to me if possible.

  8. aditi says:

    and yes am a capricorn too..though irrelevant here……..just saying!!1

  9. […] wrote a few months back about how there was a Method in the Madness here at IIMA. As I sign off and as the red bricks are reduced to a mere blur, I wonder whether […]

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