Surviving the First Year at IIM Ahmedabad

Updated: May 4

I’ll be as honest as possible while writing this post. IIM Ahmedabad is a place that changes your life - the way you were and the habits you had.

I was not used to sleeping so less. I was not prepared for coping up with surprises.

But, this place makes you “manage” everything. And, the biggest thing it teaches you is to find a direction for yourself.

From very early on, I realized that managing so many subjects is difficult for me on my own. I had always studied independently. But, when you realize that you cannot handle the academic pressure, you become open to seeking help.

Lesson 1 - It is okay to seek help from others who are better than you.

This made me understand that you cannot be the best at everything. It also made me realize that I have to be good at at least something. And, due to my love for marketing, I chose it to be the case.

The competition at IIM Ahmedabad is intense. This is also because a lot of deserving candidates don’t get their desired field of internship. The only resort for them is to score higher and get that chance in the finals.

Lesson 2 - I decided to escape from the herd race in Semester II.

I stopped caring about grades. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t study. The fact that I scored less in certain subjects didn’t disappoint me as much as it used to earlier. I strived to do my best in subjects I loved and it really paid off.

Funnily enough, I managed to maintain a good enough GPA despite not caring at all about grades. This was also because marketing jobs don’t place stringent criteria on academic scores and marketing was what I wanted to pursue as a career.

This ensured that I started attending the sessions with the intention to learn than score more (we have marks for participating in the class discussions). The entire semester II, I spent in listening. One of our professors used to say,”It is as important to play the role of a listener as it is to play the role of the speaker.”

Lesson 3 - Don’t speak unless you add value.

Then, in semester III, I felt the urge to participate in class when subjects of my interest were being taught. But, never did I feel that it is being done to score more.

I made sure to read the cases before the class as it is only meaningful to participate if you have something worthy to contribute. And if I hadn’t read the case, I decided to listen attentively and learn something new that day from my peers.

Lesson 4 - Never think that you know everything, be open to learning.

My academic journey at IIM-A has been one of fewer worries as I took courses of my choice (in which the average grade is lower as compared to other subjects taken to spike one’s CV). Because I didn’t have to worry about grades, I was fortunate enough to learn what I wanted to.

You may also like to read some other articles about Life at an IIM.

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