21. Economics graduate. Pursuing MBA from NMIMS.
Thank goodness for these words, or I would not have another way to define my identity to my friends, distant relatives or intrusive neighborhood aunties.
If I could go back in time, the Me from 365 days ago would not have the slightest clue about how life would be like a year later. But it is only the Me-of-the-present who knows what the journey from a clueless, confused undergraduate kid to a confident (sleep-deprived) MBA student has been like.
It all started with a sudden existential crisis one day when someone asked what I want to do in the future. My answer? The cliché for 19-year-old Economics students, “I want to work in an MNC.” Courtesy of the classic obsession of people with means to the end, my answer didn’t suffice. And thus began the journey of unimaginable confusion and nerve-racking efforts to find how to get where I wanted to be.
I started telephoning as many people as I could and asked them how to get to the corporate world. Truth be told, I got some great advice. To be even more truthful, it didn’t help. While wise advice (often unsolicited) gave me the much-needed clarity about what I did not want to do and what options I had before me, it really was my call to take in the end, and not an easy one at that. In an education system that does not give you an idea of what you will study in any postgraduate course until you are in the course, career choices are a series of hit-and-trial decisions for majority of the people, and I am proud to fall in the category of this unfortunate lot.
Choice one, I enrolled in <the premier GRE coaching institute of India> and every weekend for two months, I spent four hours learning tips and tricks to solve math and verbal questions faster than others. With the hopes of studying Economics abroad, I prepared day and night for my GRE, alongside writing Statements of Purpose, and nagging teachers for Letters of Recommendations. One month down the line, good score (Check!), SOP (Check!) and LOR (Check!), all prerequisites were in place but for the heart to study abroad.
New revelation: Education abroad is a huge investment with low rate of returns.
Fact: I want to work with applied Economics.
Plan B: MA Economics in India.
And then began the second stage of career options playing hopscotch in my head, and consulting the same old advisories for counseling.
I headed to another coaching center, this time, <the premier coaching institute for Masters in Economics in India>. Three hours of trial class on MA Economics coursework were enough to let me know this wasn’t my cup of tea either. And yet again, I was back to square one, heading to college everyday hoping to finally decide, like a white-walker looking for kill.
And the day did come, for the third time in my trial-and-error series, I signed up for <the premier MBA coaching institute in India>. This one-month crash course was a life-changing experience. While preparing for the CAT isn’t remotely associated with the MBA coursework, the process acquainted me with what was in store for me in an MBA, and I absolutely loved it. In things as simple as reading news articles about various industries and studying about companies and entrepreneurs, I found the means to the end. MBA was the right fit for me. Finance was the right fit for me. Nothing could better combine my love for numbers, Economics and people. Nothing could more appropriately bridge the gap between my interest in Applied Economics, and the ability to actually apply it to the world. The entire process of decision-making is as simple as cleaning your cupboard. You empty all its contents onto the floor, trip over unfolded clothes, reach the peak of clutter, till you finally arrange everything in order; much like reaching the peak of confusion in your mind before you are finally crystal clear about what you want to do, in my case, an MBA.
After spending seemingly unending days studying and taking mock tests, I finally got a decent enough CAT percentile. Every person who has taken the CAT knows the cutoffs are where the story really begins. More newspapers, more books, and more advice, slogging to get into the most coveted B-schools. As monotonous as it may seem, I made some great friends on the way, who make the journey easier, happier and unforgettable. Through the mock group discussions and interviews, I gained technical knowledge, yes, but also found unique talented people to learn from. The most unexpected thing is that few of these people are with me at NMIMS, reminding me of my journey, and sharing theirs with mine.
From the day the CAT results were declared to the day I got the admission letters, it was a roller coaster ride, full of uncertainty, ups and downs. More decision follow as you have to pick a college from the options you have, and for me, nothing could have been better than NMIMS.
During the orientation week itself, I befriended the persons sitting to my left and to my right while prominent NMIMS alumni addressed us. And then the number of friends increased exponentially as a hundred of us headed to Khopoli for our outbound program, in a joyous karaoke-mode, on the way to the resort. In the midst of climbing up ropes and building bamboo structures, I came across a few great people who I know, for the lack of better words, will always have my back. While the outbound program broke the ice, our cultural immersion program, the Mumbai Darshan, gave us an avenue to explore the beautiful city that Mumbai is – Museums, Monuments, and Marine Drive.
The orientation week had set the expectations from NMIMS high enough, and yet, I can undoubtedly say that SBM, NMIMS exceeded these expectations by leaps and bounds. The feeling of pride to finally make it to one of the top ten B-Schools is unparalleled. The cherry on the cake is the classroom experience, and the wide variety of cells and committees that hone our skillset.
Much like school used to be our second home, NMIMS is too. The only difference being a more intense sense of belonging it has inculcated in us, by giving us a home away from our hometown. The coursework is taxing, and it isn’t easy staying up till 4 in the morning, but I found friendships that make it all feel like a cakewalk. In the heart of India’s financial capital, and with peers and faculty who help you along every step of the way, NMIMS has made my MBA journey as beautiful as my journey to NMIMS, in less than a month.
This was my journey to NMIMS, and I can’t wait for the rest of it to unfold.