The Great Indian Pressure Cooker !

Well, As I write this post, I wish to identify myself amongst those 1.74 lakh CAT aspirants who had given CAT, have a few GD-PI calls and are expecting their destiny to be shaped up soon.

While things seem to fall in place, a variety of questions ponder me as I retrospect the past 3 years wherein ‘Billi’ was my world. Everything I did was towards cracking this test which I believed was the best thing I could achieve. The importance attached to the test, the Social status it derives, the immense Peer pressure it stimulates, the ‘geriatric syndrome’ it levies upon people with 3+ IT work-ex and most importantly the ‘life decisions’ it creates seemed to have changed my whole perception regarding CAT and about MBA as a career.

This time of the year is particularly fascinating. Plans for the next year / next few ‘years’ are made now. It is indeed great to have calls from the Top 5 B-schools. However, after attending their GD-PI process my mind was filled with constant fear and eagerness for the results. I imagined two distinct events, the joy of achieving something which I had craved for and the pain of having lost out after coming so near. Either of these is bound to happen. I had sleepless nights experiencing these. This was aggravated by everybody asking me, “Dude, how was your XYZ interview. Will it be a convert? “. This is also that time of the year when PG is flooded with ‘Which B-school to apply’ discussions. 90% of these revolve around Salary packages, Roles offered and College comparisons.

The situation for people with >3 year Work-ex is still more fascinating.The mathematical equation is far more stringent here. This is how it goes. As a friend once told me. “Dude currently you are earning Rs.X. If you switch your firm, your earning potential would increase by Y%. After 2 years of MBA your earning potential might increase by Z%. As long as Z is > Y by a ‘huge’ margin go for it ? “. I think ‘Wow, Fantastic ! How perfectly caged we are.” If this is the case with my peers, Every interview I attended revolved around, “Why MBA now ? You should try an Executive MBA na ? . You won’t get I-banks, Top notch Marketing firms, Top Consulting firms, Day Zero firms and… Ok? “. (On a lighter side, One interviewer even asked me “Won’t your marriage prospects be affected?”.I smiled and replied ,”Sir, It would actually improve”)

Now, I begin to wonder; Doesn’t MBA provide us something more than this? Don’t we actually ‘study’ an MBA? Ain’t MBA an opportunity which life gives you to pursue something which you love to? Should we take too much pressure about the things which we lose out rather than cherishing the ones which we are going to get?

First we are worried about cracking CAT, next we are worried about GD-PI, After cracking the same, we are worried and sad as to why we didn’t make it to “XYZ Institute”. We then worry about our Summer and Final placements and later is shifts to our career path. So when do we actually ‘live’ our life. Isn’t this madness?.

I am not saying that we should be resigned, not be so ambitious. Of course, We have to be ambitious and always target for the best of the opportunities. But in this process, Lets not forget to enjoy the process and our life on the whole. Lets not be dejected and feel crest-fallen if we are not successfull in a few of our attempts.

While preparing for GD-PI, I studied my Engineering subjects again. I realized the fact that had I studied my engineering in the right way, life could have been different. This made me realize the importance of ‘studying’ an MBA. Should I venture into the RAT race again? Should I be worried about the companies which may not shortlist me because of my Workex?

Definitely not! This gave me a realization that instead of me craving to be part of ‘XYZ Institute of Management’ , let the institute decide whether to take me or reject me. Either ways, I am satisfied that I had put up my best and it is time to move on. Let me not worry too much about what is in store after the next two years. Rather, let me enjoy the process and develop my skills and abilities which would make me independent of a ‘brand’. Life is beyond calculations.

After all, MBA might be the last education of my life and I would ensure that it is pursued in the best possible way !