The abbreviations IIMs, XLRI, FMS, MDI etc have hyper fascinated many a graduate in India. Because junta knows that prospective mother-in-laws salivate at such keywords :). This post is a glimpse of the inside of one of the most hallowed portals of management education in India, IIM Lucknow. It has been written by Wamika Mimani. Year 2012 , I was invited by St Xaviers College Kolkata to address the students during their Fest – INSIGNIA. I met Wamika post my Event and I instantly saw a spark in her. A smart, bubbly, self inspired and confident girl, I have seen her emerge excellent at whatever she takes up.

Top of the class graduation from IIM Lucknow, the winner of the Citi Woman Leader Award, currently working as a Senior Associate at BCG & a co-founder at Mad Over Marketing (one of the whackiest Marketing blogs you will find online)- Wamika is one of my ‘Rockstars’. Here it goes:

14 years at school, 3 years at college and 2 years at a B-School – what have I got out of these hours and hours of academic life? Fancy degrees, fancier job and fanciest future? Naaa … In the spirit of true blue academic jargons, here are my 6 key “takeaways” … all in hindsight, of course :)

Takeaway #1: The Golden Trinity – (im)possible!

Let’s start with the cliché. Academics, social life and sleep – it is said that you simply can’t get all three! This means that you’re either a pappu who can’t dance or a pappu jo paas nahi ho raha :) . So is this really true? I cannot emphasize on NO enough!

I know people, close friends in fact, who manage to excel at academics, lead the consumption of coca cola (in various harmless and harmful forms) and also sleep like there’s no tomorrow! Some experience and a lot of observations tell me that the key is being flexible – and being unabashedly yourself. The coolest people I have met don’t follow the herd mentality. They study, party, sleep, walk, talk – all on their own time!

Takeaway #2: I’m so cool I don’t care a damn…really?

There’s this student they depict in movies. The kinds who wears branded clothes, drives a swanky car up to the Principal’s office and smirks at people who discuss things like exams and future and blah blah… kal ki hai kisko padi! We’re not aping this student, no! Don’t be silly, who’s going to drive their car up that far. But that kid looks cool and happy. It’s because he doesn’t. Care. A. Damn.

BAD IDEA. I’d be a hypocrite if I say you need to have everything sorted out. But at least don’t wake up in an engineering college one day wishing you’d applied for design school! It’s your life, so you better care more than a damn :)

Conclusion – You don’t need to have all the answers to what you want to do and where you want to be in life…but THINK! It will get you on the right track!

Takeaway #3: Put Fight!

If I have to be brutally honest, you’ll see two types of people at B-schools (and in life, I’m told) – the ones who put fight and the ones who don’t. You can easilyyy just survive your years attending classes and passing exams (it will honestly take serious talent to not!). But what’s the fun in that? :)

This is a really cool 2 x 2 that makes a lot of sense to me now. Have a look :). (Read ‘Damn Good Advice’ by George Lois if you liked this concept)


Takeaway #4: Stress se no stress – sach me possible!

I have genuinely wondered why professional degrees command a premium in the job market. You may think it’s the ~1000 hours of lectures that give a ‘holistic’ view on management and business but …meh. A typical student at a top B-School juggles academic rigour, new subjects, incessant deadlines and inherent laziness. This may sound funny but it’s actually quite a lethal combination. Add to this ‘personal commitments’ and voila – recipe for disaster (or in this case – success!)

A big source of stress is not having your own time. So how do you fix that – treat your own time (gym / swim / boy-girl friend time / hobby) as work on your schedule. Else you might just graduate obese, dull and nursing a broken heart!

Random Gyan – I have found it extremely useful throughout my life to ask myself two questions –

Can I really change this by cribbing? Will this be so important next week to me?

Helps sift the important stuff from clutter, and gives you some peace of mind (temporary!!) I’m pretty sure I’d be asking myself this forever, whether I’m fretting over a noisy neighbour, a badgering boss or anything else!

Takeaway #5: Aukat!

So you were the head boy in your school? EVERYONE was. You were the Captain of the cricket team? There are ten people who played for the state. You were the Chief Organizer of Asia’s largest cultural or tech fest? Let’s not even go there!

Bottom line – You think you’re a full stud and have done it all in life, well, so far at least? Great, more power to you! But if you think you’re the only one or worse, the best, you’re most likely living in a bubble. And boy is it going to hurt when that bubble bursts!

What I REALLY learnt from India's Top B-School
Wamika Mimani

Random Gyan – I have realized what I am good at, but more importantly, learnt that there a zillion things that a million people do way better. Keeps you grounded, makes you succeed!

In fact, your real aukat will only get tested when you’re up against better people – reason #4231 why you should aspire to join a top notch institute :)

Takeaway #6: I’ll be there for you, coz’ you’re there for me too!

There are times when you don’t need someone a call away, you need them right there. This is why friendships essentially are such a big part of academic life. The 4 am talks, the night-outs before exams, the campus gossip, the ‘bas job lag jaye yaar’, the ‘bhagwan bacha le iss term bass’… you get the drift. If after your academic life you haven’t found a set of people who you have CHOSEN as your family, you’ve done it wrong somewhere.

I genuinely feel that the amount of free time and freedom that these years give us are a deadly combination, highly unlikely to happen again. Makes sense to make the best, best use of it.So this sums up my moment of glory where I had your attention. Since this is the closest that I am getting to an Oscar, let me thank my Mummy and Daddy and Sister and .. wait .. don’t go!

Wamika Mimani

P.S (by Akash) – This may be the closest you get to life inside an IIM without/before getting into one. Do let Wamika know she has done a wonderful job in the comments below :)

In case you are joining a new college in sometime – STRONGLY recommended reading:-

1) Khosla ka Naya Ghosla 

2) It is a TRAP ! Do not fall into it pls ..

About Author

Akash Gautam is a Motivational Speaker & Corporate Trainer in India. Hundreds of Top Corporates like Google, CIPLA, Vodafone, McKinsey & Co., Maruti, HDFC, RIL, M&M & premier colleges like IIMs, IITs, SRCC etc go to him whenever they need a refreshing, big bang impact. Write to usWrite to us to know how he can transform your Team.

  • Anuj gupta

    I m also an entrepreneur nd i m not frm iim or xlri or someother big shot b school… but i hav a passion…

    • AkashGautam

      Great ! U saved INR 10.8 Lakhs (Fee of IIM Lucknow) :)

  • Debika Pall

    IS this learning really restricted to India’s Top notch B-School?

    This gyan is something we all can learn from any standpoint in life.. top-notch or not, doesn’t matter.

    • AkashGautam

      Hi ! Debika ,

      Yes ! if one were to 1) Understand & then 2) imbibe this GYAAN from any standpoint in life – wow ! it will be really cool.

      Most people understand such gyaan. But fail to imbibe / implement it. Life at a place (where people are better than you) strengthens ones emotional muscles & allows such gyaan to get drilled deep. It could be a B School, an enginnering college or a tough mother-in-law :)

    • Nishant Kashyap

      As Wamika rightly pointed out, in a top notch institute you are up against the best. That is the real point of difference, you learn from the best and know your aukaat by the end of it.

      If you look at it that way, you do not need to join MBA to learn all that but at an MBA college you get a mix of it at one place. Cheers! :)

  • apsandhu

    2X2 table and Aukat point is awesome 😀 😀

  • Vikas

    What i really liked about the article is the simplicity and ease with which Wamika has laid down her experiences. No negative bullshit and no false glorifying. Refreshing!

  • Anshul K Singal

    I don know about me ,however many students will learn from this article.

  • Subhransu Das

    refreshing ! kind of reality check !

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