Growing up, my twin and I did everything together — what started as shared birthdays, moved on to shared toys, friends, experiences, and 21 years later — shared dreams too. Both of us were increasingly fascinated by the world of Marketing — for reasons different and similar. In 2015, we heard about MICA, a B school that specializes in Marketing. The turning point for me came when I learned that the entrance exam has an entire section devoted to out of the box thinking — I never thought being excited for an exam was something that could actually happen to me. The blog posts on the curriculum at MICA, the videos that talked about the faculty, successful MICAn alums, and finally — getting to know more about the MICAn way of life further strengthened the belief that this is the college. I remember both of us walking out of our interview and Group Exercise process elated and hopeful.
But fate had different plans. For the next one year, I lived my dream vicariously through my twin, who was now a MICAn. I heard the stories, laughed at the jokes, and persisted in the face of it all. Learning about the curriculum, the pedagogy, and the subjects became a routine. I remember him finally explaining to me why I insisted on wearing my spectacles to every football game despite my multiple curious cases of flying spectacles — without realizing it, I had started to I believe that they brought me victory — beliefs, after all, are deeper rooted than knowledge. I started living the MICAn life through my brother’s eyes, and it was nothing short of magical. The importance that MICA gave to sports, despite the academic pressures of a B School motivated me to not give up. I started working at a retail marketing firm, never losing sight of making it to MICA.
I lost count of the number of “10 Ways to Excel at your MBA Interview” articles I’d read and videos I had watched. I replayed all my previous interview mistakes, and imagined how I would work my way around, this time armed with 1 year of work experience and sleepless nights. I gave what I thought was a perfect interview, but was waitlisted. Still hopeful, I read up all possible predictions of where the waiting list would stop, only to have been rejected again. For a few days, I was completely heartbroken. But I think this is where my love of sports helped me — my spirits were dampened only temporarily. I was reminded of how my brother’s journey transformed him completely. He was a changed individual because of his 2 years at MICA. MICA enabled him to bag an internship at SONY (which later turned to a full time offer too), it equipped him with the rare ability to mine insights, and convert those to actionable ideas. This in turn meant that he was the winner of almost every coveted B school competition, Colgate Transcend, Reliance, and Pepsi included. All this with being the gold medalist of the batch, MICA wrote for him the story of a lifetime, and became for me a constant source of inspiration for the times I was tempted to have a plan B. Listening to his first hand experience about the hostel life, the culture of the place, and the iconic ‘Chhota’ wall,’ made me intrigued like a kid with stars in his
The third time around, I was determined that my persistence bear fruit. My football coach had always told me that victory isn’t for the faint hearted, and nothing glorious came easy anyway. And this time, an excellent interview (and all the perseverance behind it) did the trick; three years and 5 MICATs later, I am finally a MICAn.
Seeing all the MICAns at his convocation was an amazing experience, as I could see all the MICAns getting ready to take on the world, and me on the other hand at the brink of realizing my dream of finally becoming a MICAn. Mani (my brother) was an outgoing MICAn who was ready to take on the challenges that lay ahead, and I had just earned my place as a MICAn who was getting ready for his first steps in a place that always felt like home. My trajectory at MICA is very different from Mani’s — I spend more hours on the field than anywhere else, but that’s what MICA gave both of us — the freedom to excel at what we love, and the freedom to dream big, while always having our back.
When I look back at the last three years and ask myself if all the effort and sweat was worth it; the answer is I would do it all over again, only for a place that finds me as passionate in class as I am on the football field. To me that place has been, and will always be, MICA.