Actually, I'm Going to IIM Ahmedabad.

I’m spending the next two years at IIM Bangalore. Yes, I never thought I’ll do an MBA, but here we are. It is still technically unsafe to travel to campus considering the COVID-19 situation in the country. I’ll probably spend the next few months at home but when it is possible and safe to travel to IIMB, you bet I’m taking the first flight. This essay is an attempt to let you in on the thought process behind a few decisions that I made which eventually led to the decision to attend IIMB.

Background. I studied Electrical Engineering at IIT Kanpur, and hated every bit of the academic curriculum with some exceptions. Therefore, I needed a way to get out of that terrible position and do something else. You might ask, “Well then why not take up a job and be done with it?” I’ve thought about this option, but frankly I’m an academia sort of person and I wanted to study a few more years before going into the corporate grind. There were many options - an MS, an MBA, M.Tech., and so on. To be honest, I had considered all the three options simultaneously and even worked towards them.

Master of Science. I had applied to the University of Auckland for a masters in Computer Science. I got accepted into the program, but I have not yet arranged for the finances. I had applied to a scholarship, and even interviewed for it but the results have not been declared yet. This is still my preferred path, and if I get the scholarship before IIMB start date, I think I’m going to withdraw from the PGP program.

MBA. I applied to IIMA and IIMB while registering for CAT 2020. This post on LinkedIn sheds some light on why I did what I did. In summary, I should have applied to as many IIMs as I could, interviewed for them and then decide where to go. But, I did the complete opposite. If for some reason I did not get into either IIMA or IIMB, I would have had a hard time. So, please don’t do what I did.

Placements. I skipped final placements at IITK. My reasoning at the time was, “Since I’m going for further studies come next summer, what’s the point of prepping for placements, and then leaving the job?” That seemed like a perfect line of reasoning at the time. There are quite a few flaws in that line of reasoning, though:

  • The obvious one is that if I did not get into the MBA or the MS program, I would have had nothing to look forward to once I graduate from IITK.
  • The preparation for placements, and interviews would have been a valuable lesson for me. To add to that, I would have had something to say during the IIMB interview when they asked me if I had a job offer. Having a backup plan is not a bad thing.
  • Knowing that in the worst case, I’ll have a well paying job would have saved me from a lot of stress and anxiety that came later on. I’m absolutely sure that the number of sleepless nights would have reduced a lot.

M.Tech. I really think the M.Tech. in AI program at IISc is a good one. But, for personal reasons I could not prepare for and write GATE 2021, so this option had to be ruled out.

So, yeah. As things stands, I’m more or less spending the next two years at IIMB. Although, if the finances work out I’m going to NZ.

Anyway, I guess all is well, that ends well. I am looking forward to a few things during my MBA:

  • Graduate with as little debt as possible.
  • Get a well paying job that aligns with my interests at the end of two years.
  • Do a double degree in Europe (Assuming I do well enough academically, and COVID-19 restrictions are lifted).
  • Do better academically.
  • Meet a lot of new people. I mean a lot!
  • And so on.

Thanks for reading. If there’s one thing you should take away from this essay, it is that you should not do what I did and apply to two IIMs only. Have a backup plan in case things don’t work out. That way you’ll have a much relaxed time. Take care!

What happened to academia? I don’t know. Honestly, I do not have the financial luxury to pursue whatever I wish right now. So, if things work out well, and I still have to will to do a PhD after spending some years in a corporate job post my MBA, I’ll probably go back to academia. But, that’s still a long time into the future.

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