My Journey into ISB

I have always been a skeptical optimist. While this sounds like an oxymoron, I have felt the same on many an occasion. To put it simply, one half of me thinks like an optimist while the other half of me looks at the optimist inside me with a sheepish smile and a message that one could equate to “Stop thinking like this you bugger. You ain’t achieving it”. So started my foray into one of the top B-schools in India.

Taking a step back, I was in two minds whether to apply or not. I sought advice from various people to get certain basic things sorted. Armed with the advice and some stupid courage I decided to take the punt and apply for admission. (Note: I haven’t read their application form till that point). The moment I read the application form, I despised myself for the decision to apply. With this thought, a month passed.

I gathered the courage to collate all the necessary documents that were to be part of the application. It was at this point where, my daily digest of Quora was helpful. I would read lots and lots of views and counter views on B-schools and the positives and negatives of enrolling oneself into such a course. Armed with this knowledge, I started writing the most important aspect of the application (damn the essays, I hated precis writing in school).

The enthusiastic me browsed through a lot of videos on how to approach the essay writing. The nerd in me noted down all the important points judiciously from the videos (it helps to be CAs in certain cases) and I started writing/editing my essays on a daily basis till I was satisfied with the content. Somewhere in October, (on an auspicious day you know!!), I submitted my application (finally). While I was awaiting the result of my application the skeptical me was ready for any eventuality.

On a fine rainy, clumsy, Friday morning (the previous night it rained like bonkers) , I received the much awaited Interview call scheduled a couple of days later. I was thrilled to bits and started preparing for my interview seriously by skimming through the application in general and the essays in particular to ensure that I don’t flunk on the D-day. To my surprise, the interview was more like a conversation (sure they asked questions but more importantly they made me comfortable). It lasted for some 30 or so minutes and it was plain sailing. I wrote down certain questions for the panel and managed to ask all of them in the interview (thanking the notes in my iPhone).

The optimist in me started believing more and more as each day passed by. Finally, one fine Wednesday evening, I received the much awaited admission confirmation from the school. While it was a joyous moment, I stumbled for a moment considering the significant investment involved. This made me think again. While I was 50:50 on whether to accept the offer or not, my wife encouraged me to take the punt and accept the offer. So I accepted the offer the next day and everything happened so quickly.

Four months later, here I am taking the time out to write about an important event in my career till date (obviously next to the wedding). Honestly, my belief that there is always one right answer has gone away; and my perspectives about many issues have changed significantly (for the good you know!!). Apart from the knowledge that I am gaining, one of the most important take away that I have had over the last 4 or so months is to be happy for no reason and keep smiling since it costs none.

Cheers!!!

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Wonder Woman

Asha

“This is going to be a breeze!!” said no one ever. You can’t have it all and this is a fact. However here are a few tips that could make it all co-exist.

Disclaimer: this is a long one entailing my opinions alone. Keep reading at your own risk.

SPEAK UP

Unless you have a mind reader, talk out how you feel…be it to your 3 year toddler or the 40-year-old toddler. They understand and support when they hear how you feel. Ask them for “ME” time when you need it. My 3-year-old agreed to carry my textbooks and help me read.

ASK FOR HELP

Unless your Gal Gadot aka Wonder woman you cannot do the studying, working , cooking and cleaning all on your own. Outsource the daily chores. It helps you free up space for the studies and time with kids. You also provide livelihood for the maids and cooks and understand management at a whole different level handling them. Use online ordering to get groceries sorted or book a cab when you don’t wish to drive.

Remember not to stress yourself – trying to do it all on your own. At ISB, use the study groups and WhatsApp to clear concepts.

EXERCISE

I’ve recently gone back to this one after a long haul. I think this works because the better half said I’m saner. I think it’s doing miracles then. The endorphins and the grey cells in the brain certainly boosts up and you will be able to think clearer.
ISB trivia – it helps burn up the fat post the buffets and tons of Cream Fills, Kopiko and Alpenliebe.

SLEEP

Can’t emphasize on this enough. You’re really not going to achieve anything by sacrificing this.
ISB trivia – why do we have the toughest concepts taught post lunch. We should have 30 mins snooze time maybe at 2:30 pm in class.

MANAGE TIME

Go to work early. Use that fresh morning alertness to read and complete the assignments. Even twice a workweek makes a lot of difference. Download material on the mobile and read on the go. Prepare for class a day before.

DE-STRESS

Use WFH or leaves to slow things down. The WFH just before a class or post; helps to save on travel time. Use that extra 2 hours to pamper and organize yourself.

UNDERSTAND YOUR IQ LEVEL

So, here’s a secret. I’m not making it to the Dean’s list. Which means I’m not going to kill myself reading every word in the textbook or cry to sleep over the 3 marks. Mm…Ok, the 30 I lost. ISB has changed my outlook of life and the world around me. This is what it begins to do to you. Hence I’m aware of how I need to learn and what I can focus on with the limited time on hand. So even though; I would love to read up on every publication in the library; I don’t have the capacity to now. So prioritize what and how you want to learn and focus on that.

FINALLY

Remember, you were among the chosen ones; so buckle up and enjoy the ride!!!

Time Management!

“Don’t worry, by the time we are done with you, we will have made you really good time managers!”

answered our Associate Dean, Professor Ram, on our day one at ISB, when someone remarked about how rigorous the academic program seemed when it was presented (paraphrased). We all laughed.

Two terms in (approximately 2 months), I can already realize what Prof. Ram was alluding to. In effort to balance my demanding work schedule, late night calls, academia  (pre-reads, assignments, exam prep), I had to introduce discipline into my daily schedule.

Prior to joining ISB, I have been a faithful Hyderabadi IT Employee. My days ended around midnight usually, and my alarms were set to 8am, if they ever were. Now I getup by 6am, almost everyday. Almost. Then, get some studying done, or finish assignments.

Earlier, I went into work after 11am any given day, and most days left around 9pm. But these days, I am in before 10am, and out by 6pm. Just so I can take the calls from home, eat dinner at home & on time, and get to bed early. An insurance for making sure that I can getup at 6am.

That’s just weekdays. Coordinating group assignments, council activities [of the Academic Council I am part of] has become my next priority. Social events have taken the last priority on that list, but I did notice that when and where I planned my social events has completely transformed as well. Referring to a combined calendar (of my work, school and personal) has become my second nature.

If this is the case for someone from Hyderabad attending at Hyderabad, I can only imagine how meticulously our outstation classmates have to plan their time.

Well, with 2 terms in & 10 more to go (we graduate in June 2019), I guess I can say this confidently now: “Prof. Ram, you were not kidding!”

The Commencement

The Hyderabad batch began its journey on January 20, 2018. While most of the batch checked-in to their rooms in the Executive Lounge of ISB on Friday, January 19, some did arrive on the morning of January 20 as they were flying in after completing their business trips.

The men, being men, had a quick beer session at the Lounge on Friday night after checking in… with the expectation that this was just the ‘beginning’. 😉 EL-1