What is a qualified doctor like you doing at an MBA institute?

I did my bachelors degree in Homeopathic Medicine from Anand,
Gujarat and have zero work ex. Honestly speaking, I wasn’t too keen on doing medicine in the first place. Having done so due to parental pressure, I wasn’t very pleased with the idea of continuing the profession all
my life. I believed an MBA would give the much-needed direction to my career, and fine tune my inherent strengths. I always dreamed of being an entrepreneur, and I thought an MBA would help me get there quicker than anything else.

What was your thought process like while selecting the right b-school
for yourself?

Primarily, I relied upon guidance from my coaching institute. I had faith in my teachers there, as they knew where I was coming from, and what stakes I had in the game. Word of mouth did help, too. Third party rankings were a big no-no, as I didn’t quite think the parameters they used for ranking were in sync with my own priorities and objectives for doing an MBA and I doubted their credibility as
well. However, I had decided that it had to be the top 10 -15 institutes of my choice, or no MBA at all. Giving up a lucrative career in medicine (and at an established setup at that – my mother is practising since the past 30 years) meant I had to justify what I was doing – first, to myself, and second, to the world as well.

How would you rank the following parameters in your choice of universities?

Quality of education
Quality of faculty
Campus life
Quality of batch mates
Amount of on-campus research
City your B school is located in
Rank your B school gets in 3rd party surveys

How did you go about taking on the CAT?

I had joined Professional Tutorials, Baroda. Since I was doing my internship simultaneously as I prepared for the exams, the times were rather taxing – both physically and mentally. I was more focused on CAT than any other exams, and Quant was a big obstacle for me. I remember taking the first mock CAT with a score of 22 – 0 – 0 (Language – Quant – DI, respectively). I hadn’t attempted any questions in DI and Quant!!! The only preparation I did was attending classes regularly and taking mock tests. Towards the end, I did put in some focused efforts, particularly on data interpretation techniques and questions on probability.

The toughest part of my preparation was to simply persist – coming from an alternative profession to the world of management meant I had to break the mental barriers. I hardly had anyone supporting me -everyone including my parents thought I had gone crazy. I paid my own fees for coaching. And repeat the word ‘yes’a 1000 times, to everyone who wanted to know, if I thought I was doing the right thing. These are the same people who now claim they always knew I would succeed, and what a great idea it is to do something different.

I was a part of making history – we were a batch which got a mock CAT from the IIMs themselves! That’s right, I took CAT twice – in November 2003, and again in February 2004. November 2003 had been a disaster and I was glad I got another chance. The only thing that changed in the two months was my strategy – I decided I was going to push myself at least for 80 attempts. I managed a score of 97.67 percentile -quant let me down again with a miserable 75 percentile, which ensured I would not clear any schools where sectional cut offs were in place.

How did you prepare for the interview and group discussion?

I knew for sure they would want to know why I was pursuing an MBA after medicine, and that was a question I was well prepared for. It was all gyaan, of course, never once did I mention that I wasn’t
inclined towards medicine. I gave some weird theory on how homoeopathy and HR were natural progressions of each other, and how I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I gave elaborate 5 year and 10 year plans of how I wanted my career to be. I think that helped. At MDI, they asked me
about the Sensex, the companies at the top, what public sector companies are, etc.

According to me, brutal honesty doesn’t help. Instead, it’s a good idea to package your thoughts well. If you are from a profession which is offbeat, its better to behave like it’s the best thing to happen to their B-school, rather than being defensive about it. Clarity of objectives is also essential.

We had a group of students from our coaching class who regularly met and discussed current affairs and various probable GD topics. I think this carried most of us a long way – I still use those documents we prepared as write ups for the sessions! If you can find a group of people who’ll participate in something like this, nothing can be better. I realised that students at B schools are just like I am – no one is super human. As all of us struggled to meet deadlines and run hither- thither during our summers, I realised that competition often brings out the worst (and the best!) in people. My rose coloured glasses came off – relative grading changed the way I looked at co-operation – I think it made all of us rather selfish.


So what is life at MDI Gurgaon like?

My Life at MDI? In two words, it’s amazing. A plethora of experiences and you learn how networking is more important than anything else. As I learn clichéd aspects of ‘How HR should be a Strategic Business Partner’, I realise that at the end of the day, its all about how you market yourself – how you create a brand out of yourself and sell it. The opportunities here are endless – there is something here for everyone; from social service to trading stock on the floor.

I am still awed by the intellect of the professors here, and their accomplishments. And when I interact with other students, I realise most of them have experienced what I have experienced in life – the triumphs and the tribulations. Makes me feel a lot more normal. Like I said before, relative grading is awful, it brings out the worst in people. Politicking and scheming become a way of life. I hit a low every time a case study is given out before exams, and we turn into a covert operation of the CIA, not sharing information with anyone.

Five things you can’t do without at a B-school

A laptop (I regret not having one)
Jargon and Gyaan – it’s all pervasive
THE Internet – its my lifeline
A cell phone (Coordinating with group members can be a nightmare)
Good time management skills and getting used to sleeping 4 hours a day

So where would we find you after you get your MBA degree?

Since my course is a specialised one, I am sure of where I will be in terms of functional area (HR). I know I would prefer a service sector firm, and corporate HR at that. But since placements are a game of luck, I’d rather not think too much about it. My intention is to be in a firm where I can get maximum learning to enable me to start my own venture. In that sense, I’d prefer a small firm where systems and processes are not very streamlined, and I have opportunities to do exactly that.

What is your survival trick in a B-school?

Just be yourself. In the world of aspiring B-schoolers, it’s difficult to just hang in there, with all the advice and gyaan flowing in from everywhere. Just trust one or two people who can guide you, and stick to that. More than anything else, follow your instincts.

Write Comment