B-school experience raises some existential questions, particularly when one is not, say, a consultant or an IB, who had a clear idea of why he is coming to a b-school – to get his promotions. When you come with such focused targets, you know what to do and what not. Focus on learning, get your grades and go back to your organization, which is waiting to pick you up. Or even better, have a great time doing a lot of co-curricular activities, if the organization has committed to taking you back.
But how about others, who have come keeping options open? Wanting to know what is that a b-school can do to them, only to slowly realize what it cannot do to them. To focus on grades or not; to network with a few people and make a few good friends or network with a wide range of people and have a lot of acquaintances; which clubs to participate in or play safe by participating in all clubs formed in the school; which co-curricular activities to do or wonder if these activities kill time which alternately can be used for studying. What is it that you want and what is it that you have to do to get there. What is life when you do not have answers to either of them? Difficult.
This is not the case only at ISB. Almost all b-schools, including H/S/W, have good number of students undergoing this confusion and trauma. The answers are not easy to come by. Sometimes the process of finding answers is so excruciating that one tends to question the very rationale why one came to b-school. The grades, competition and the bedlam that class participation creates – all only complicate the process of decision making. People start to question their own strengths, innate capabilities. The pressure here tests one’s nerves, puts question marks on self-confidence.
A very few give up in the middle. Some reconcile to their fates and take whatever comes their way. But at the end, many people come out successfully. Nature / Market is quite effective. Only the strongest and enduring survive.
MBA education, particularly one offered in one-year format, is no child play. It takes great amount of intellectual ability, physical endurance, emotional maturity, and spiritual depth to come out successfully. When I say successfully, I mean realizing the objectives one had set for oneself at the beginning of the course. Not just a job. An MBA experience can be life-changing only when one wants it to be. Else, it will just be an exercise in getting grades, degree and job.
Preparation to get into a b-school should not be restricted to GMAT, essays, recos. It should cover training the mind to get stronger. ‘Getting in’ is easier, getting through is the difficult part. Life will be so much better here when one prepares for both getting in and getting through.