The Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ranchi is still not a landmark in Ranchi, Jharkhand. The word IIM itself is a wringer to the ears of auto drivers and cyclewallas. But if you say Suchana Bhavan (the building that houses IIM Ranchi), they are more than willing to ferry you there as it nets them a cool Rs 100 one way.
From the outside, Suchana Bhavan looks like a typical freshly-painted government building. Inside, it is buzzing with activity, simply because it has the first batch of students at the newly opened IIM Ranchi — those who are writing history for generations of students to come. And that too for none other than an IIM-level college. For the students, it is akin to constructing the college building brick by brick.
According to Shubhankar Rai, (PG nickname bkd.exe) a student from the Placement Committee of IIM Ranchi, everything that the college students are engaged in right now is being done for the first time in the college.
We are creating a legacy for the institute. We have been working on the logo, the website, the placement rules, club names and these are things that would stay with the college forever. It does give one goosebumps thinking about all this once a while. We do face hardships at times when not having an established system creates problems but then IIM Calcutta has been a really great support, he says.
For Aditya Somani, another student, the experience is fulfilling because students are enjoying the challenge of establishing a new college.
We are getting to practice what we learn in class first-hand while establishing the college. I learned the concept of SAAS (software as a service) as new paradigm in IT and was able to implement it for the college all in just one semester. I think it may not give us the starting jump that the existing IIMs have but in the long run the learning here will be at par with the best if not better.
Kumar Abhishek, (PG name jumpjack) says that being the first batch of students keeps them on their toes.
To get to the solution of every problem that we face, we need to think out of the box and be innovative. We are learning new things almost everyday, he says.
Age profile of the first batch
Less than 23 years of age 50%
Between 23-25 years 30%
25 plus 20%
An energetic bunch
Is the reason behind the teeming energy in the college the fact that more than 50 per cent of the batch is less than 23 years of age? Or is it the reality that 50 percent also have had no work experience?
Shubhankar defends that in fact IIM Ranchi’s wide mix of student profiles and ages contributes to the diversity. We have someone who has worked close to 45 months with Vodafone to someone who is a fresher from St Xavier’s, Mumbai. Because there is so much diversity in thought processes, the work output is actually better.
Those with work experience at IIM Ranchi have held fancy posts and worked with renowned companies prior to joining. For instance, Kumar Abhishek, who has done his Dual Degree (integrated B.Tech and M.Tech) from IIT Kharagpur, has worked as an analyst with HSBC Global Analytics for two years. Aditya himself has 45 months work ex with IBM.
Background of students
Computer Engineering 30%
Electronics Engineering 27%
Mechanical Engineering 11%
Electrical Engineering 11%
Why IIM Ranchi?
The eligibility cutoff for IIM Ranchi was 95 percentile in the CAT so although about 15,000 applications came in, a smaller number actually got the convert. The general category cutoff for the batch was 99.65 percentile, according to the students. And many in the 44-student strong batch have said ‘no’ to more well-established b-schools.
Aditya Somani, for instance, had final calls from MDI Gurgaon, NITIE Mumbai and IIM Rohtak. Ankur Tiwari (PG nickname is IIM_Killer) had converts from MDI, IMT Ghaziabad and IIM Rohtak. Both the students, like the others preferred IIM Ranchi to others b-school (even over IIM Rohtak which also started this year) because of the strong IIM Calcutta faculty support (IIM Calcutta is the mentor institute for IIM Ranchi).
Explains Shubhankar, The IIM tag is a coveted thing. Being taught by the best in the business (IIM Calcutta) was always going to be a plus point and a big deciding factor for us to choose IIM Ranchi.
For Ankur Tiwari too, the faculty and the high cutoff contributed to his decision.
Faculty members at IIM Ranchi travel from IIM Calcutta and usually stay at IIM Ranchi for two days, deliver a series of lectures over the two days and then fly back. Due to this IIM Ranchi, students rarely have a Sunday off.
That’s when IIM Calcutta lecturers are free so we keep Sunday as a lecture day and take an off, if needed, during a weekday. But lectures itself are so interesting that a day off is not a big issue here, says Akash Gaurav.
Work experience of the batch
More than 24 months 16%
12-23 months 16%
1-11 months – 18%
Since the group is small and it is the first group, every student is part of some committee or the other and so has a role to play in the decision process.
Says Ankur, It feels great that we as a batch of 44 students are responsible for setting up an IIM. Every student is responsible for starting something from scratch (by being a part of different committees or clubs) which is a great responsibility but then it gives you the feel of being an entrepreneur.
Piyusha Bhagel, the only girl at IIM Ranchi, heads the Academics Committee. Her role is to make sure that her peer group is up to the mark with academics. My job is to facilitate interaction between students and faculty if there is some weakness or queries in a subject. I also make sure that if there is a student who knows a subject very well, then he gives an extra lecture types for the benefit of the others.
On the issue of whether operating from a government building and sharing space with other offices creates any kind of difficulty for the students, Ankur says that since the number of students is small and the group has grown close to each other within four months of meeting, the size of the b-school structure does not matter.
It is finally the work being done and the lectures and curricular activities. If these are not getting hampered, then nothing matters.
Rajesh Patro, officer-on-special-duty at IIM Ranchi told PaGaLGuY that talks are on to get additional space.
There is a place that seems to have been finalised. It will however first hold the National Games and only after that IIM Ranchi should be able to get it. It is huge and when in operation it will be better than many other big b-schools with regards to infrastructure.
Boarding and lodging
Like academics, evolving the mess and hostel culture is a first-of-its-kind experience. While there is a mess committee, much of the food is made on a trial and error basis. The students experiment with the food menu till everybody agrees on it.
The hostel, which is across the road from the campus, is a three-storied building and was formerly used as residential quarters for IAS officials who came there for training. Except for Piyusha, there are two boys in a room. This year, the students even got a Ganpati idol in the hostel building during Ganesh Chaturthi and the warden gladly gave up his room to house the elephant god.
The small night canteen which is right in the centre of the hostel complex is a warm and cosy place. Its kitchen table is marked by a tall pile of egg crates on one side and a string of instant noodle packets on the other. The perpetual aroma of toasted bread and butter gives the canteen a welcoming feel and there is little wonder that students spend much time there.
There is a gym in the hostel which is used frequently by the students. For those not interested in the gym, Ranchi as a city gives them enough fresh air. Except for the cyclewallahs who seem to be everywhere, the rest of the city follows a lethargic pace. With MS Dhoni and Sourabh Tiwary’s photos plastered everywhere on hoardings, the city is a reminder that small towns can produce talented people and this could hold true even for IIM Ranchi students.
Also read: First look into life at IIM Rohtak