Campus Life at IIM Bangalore- Prashant Vadnere discusses how the environment is conducive to learning
Team Careers, 17 May 2019, #IIM Bangalore
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Campus Life at IIM Bangalore- Prashant Vadnere, a first-year student at IIM Bangalore, in his interview with Careers 360 discusses his work experience before he took admission into IIM Bangalore. During his interaction he discusses his initial days at IIM Bangalore, how he coped with the changing environment, about the interview process, placement, different events that took place at the campus. Further, he shares his experience about the interview and the written ability test. Read the complete interview of Prashant to know more about the life of a student at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

Careers 360: How has been the campus life at your college? Tell us something about your daily routine as in how is the time divided between study and having fun activities. Also, tell us something about yourself as in from which place do you belong so on and so forth

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Prashant: I am from Jalgaon, Maharashtra. I did 12th from Jalgaon and then did electrical engineering from Sardar Patel College of Engineering, Mumbai. I worked in L&T for almost 4 years before joining IIMB. The initial days in IIMB were very hectic. There were many icebreaking activities, sports events, cultural events. All were aimed to get us familiar with PGP2s (seniors) and campus. Soon we were introduced to the summer placement process. We had to prepare a resume in a particular format. The points mentioned in the resume should be verified by related authorities like school, college or office. We were also supposed to attend preplacement talks by companies visiting for the summer placement process. These things had to be managed along with regular classes, submissions, assignments, and projects. So we had very little time to do anything other than these. We became comparatively relaxed after the summer placements. We have classes from 10 to 4 generally. 3 classes in a day each class being 90 minutes. There is a 30 minutes gap between 2 classes. There are some submissions each week. Also, there are projects in most of the subjects. Most of the time is spent on those activities after the classes.

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Careers 360: Tell us something about the selection process as in the personal interview, group discussion. What were the topics on which the questions were asked? Do you have some special tips for future aspirants?

Prashant: As you will be aware, you appear for CAT for admission in IIMs. Based on your overall percentile score and sectional percentile scores, you get an interview call from IIMs. Each IIM has its own criteria for calling candidates for interviews. Some IIMs give higher weightage to CAT score, some give importance to work experience while some give to the overall profile. IIMB gives less importance to the CAT score and more to the overall profile including work experience. My interview was scheduled for 2nd March 2018 at the Taj Vivanta hotel in Mumbai. It was Holi. Before the interview, we gave the Writing Ability Test (WAT). The topic given to me was "A lot is talked about India's demographic dividend. What can go wrong if India doesn't utilize it properly". My interview panel consisted of one professor and 2 alumni of IIMB. The interview started with tell me about yourself question. I talked about my qualifications, my achievements, work experience and hobbies. The remaining part of the interview revolved around my answer to tell me about yourself. Hence it is most important to thoroughly prepare this answer. I answered all the questions about my work. They were impressed and asked me if I am so good in my work why do I want to do an MBA. This is one of the most commonly asked questions. The key to answering this question is to be genuine. Tell your original reason apart from earning a good salary. Look at everything you have done in the past. Revise your role in it. You should be able to at least briefly tell about everything you tell in your SOP or in your tell me about yourself answer. Also, keep reading about major national and international events. You might not be directly asked factual questions but you can always use recent events to support your answers. Also, reading news will help you form opinions about national and international events. Interviewers like it when you give your own point of view instead of just stating facts. The WAT topic can be from any topic. A good read person will be better equipped to put a balanced argument in WAT answers and interviews as well.

P.S.-You will be asked to submit a Statement of Purpose (SOP) before appearing for the interview. The SOP is a coherent story that relates your purpose of doing an MBA with your past.

Careers 360: How did you get adjusted to the new environment at the institute. Did you face any problem, if yes what were they and how did you overcome them?

Prashant: I worked for 4 years. A gap of 4 years in formal studies was a hindrance in initial days at IIMB. My habit of continuously studying for long hours was gone. It took me time to adjust. Also, I was not part of such a huge institute before. Our batch of 430 people had many brightest minds of our country. I had to be always on my toes to perform well. The peer pressure was huge. But at the same time, the environment is very conducive to learning. Class discussions are a great source to know different dimensions of thoughts on the same topic. I took help from professors to better understand the subject. Seniors students are also very helpful. They arrange tutorials that cover the topics covered in the classes. Extra questions are also provided in the tutorials. The best source of learning is peers. Group studies are an integral part of the IIMB culture. Helping each other in studies is learning with fun.

Careers 360: Does your institute organize casual college or corporate trips. Share your experience about it?

Prashant: Trips are not a part of the curriculum as such. But we have many other events taking place on the campus itself. We have 2 business festivals where any corporate leaders, entrepreneurs come to talk about different business-related subjects. Clubs also organize events to give students feel of real-world scenarios of business.If you need to visit some corporate for project-related research, the professor provides you reference letters. Corporates do take such students seriously and provide all the assistance within the ambit of their jurisdiction.

Careers 360: Apart from the regular studies, what are the activities that take place at your institute? Do you have clubs and committees? If yes, are you part of them and which ones?

Prashant: We have more than 30 clubs and committees on campus each related to different areas. They conduct their own selection process for selecting Junior Coordinators from first-year students. Each club conducts many workshops, events, debates, competitions, etc. (I am a part of one club and one committee. But it is against the rules to reveal membership of clubs before we formally introduce clubs to new candidates in June).Some clubs from IIMB collude with clubs from other IIMs to conduct a common competition. It creates a competitive spirit and we get to know people from different campuses and how things work differently from our campus. Students in the first year are advised to apply for clubs of their interest (like if you are interested in marketing then marketing club). There is a restriction on the number of clubs and committees a person can be a part of.

Careers 360: What is the faculty-student ratio at the institute? How is the infrastructure? What are the facilities that are provided at the campus that makes it distinct from other institutes?

Prashant: I don't exactly know the student-faculty ratio but it is 1 faculty for 11-12 students (https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.economictimes.com/industry/services/education/iims-may-need-a-lesson-in-managing-faculty-crunch/amp_articleshow/64641869.cms).

Infrastructure in the campus is par with the world-class institute. The library is full of books, journals, research papers, publications, etc. We have Bloomberg lab, Behavioral lab on the campus. Classes have projectors and a good quality sound system. The structure of classes is such that each student is visible to the professor. Class recordings can be done on-demand basis. The walkways and structures of buildings are suitable for differently abled candidates. Professors from each area are well qualified and have done extensive research in their respective areas.

Careers 360: How is the hostel facility? What are some of the popular hangouts close to the campus?

Prashant: Hostels have single occupancy rooms. Each room is equipped with a bed and mattress, a table, a chair, a whiteboard with a clipboard, an almirah, tube lights, fans and shelves to keep books. Bathrooms are common with a washing machine facility. There are 2 kinds of blocks. Old blocks and new blocks. Old blocks don't have a balcony attached to the room. Also, the old block rooms are smaller in size. But the true hostel feels come in old hostel blocks.

Our campus itself is so beautiful that we don't feel like hanging out outside. We spend most of the time inside the campus only. Nevertheless, we have 2 malls within a radius of 3 kilometers. We go there for movies or shopping. We also have many good restaurants in nearby JP Nagar and Koramangala area.

Careers 360: What do you do during your leisure time?

Prashant: We have a wonderful sports complex. We have a cricket ground, volleyball court, basketball court, and a tennis court. We also have an indoor badminton court and a swimming pool. Table tennis, squash, carrom, chess, kho-kho, frisbee, football, hockey, kabaddi are some of the other sports played on the campus. We also have a well-equipped gym with a trainer and a yoga room with a trainer. I play cricket, badminton and table tennis in my free time. We have a beautiful cool green campus. I go for a walk in a cool breeze in the evening to get refreshed. Listening to music, watching online content and sleeping are the other things which I do in my leisure time.

Careers 360: In which particular field are you specializing?

Prashant: We don't get a specialization degree in IIMB. We have a general management course. Hence, one can take subjects from mixed areas if he/she doesn't have any preference. We have 6 terms in 2 years. First 2 terms have compulsory subjects. We have 2 electives in 3rd term and all subjects are electives from the 4th term onwards. Hence, you are free to take electives from different areas.

I have a preference for finance. Hence I took finance related subjects as electives. I am also studying a few subjects related to operations, marketing, strategy and HR which will be useful in the longer term.

Careers 360: What are the types of companies that come for recruitment and how has the recruitment been in the past few years in terms of placement.

Prashant: Companies from many different sectors come for placements. It includes consulting companies, global investment banks, banks and financial firms, FMCG companies, PSUs, manufacturing companies, IT companies, e-commerce, and online space, etc.

Roles offered are strategy consulting, technology consulting, investment banking, corporate finance, sales and marketing, operations, strategy, product management, general management, etc. You can visit the IIMB website www.iimb.ac.in for detailed placement reports of previous years.

Careers 360: Were you given any training ahead of the placements or you prepared on your own?

Prashant: Resume is the most important part of the placement process. We are given mentors to finetune our resume and write a point in such a way that our role or achievement is clearly visible in the resume point. Multiple iterations of resume fine tuning are done. The same point can be written differently for a different set of companies to show sync of resume points with the company requirement. Other parts of the placement process are GDs and interviews. Clubs help in this regard. Clubs organize GDs and interviews for candidates. Students themselves form groups to practice GDs on their own. If you are interested in consulting then you have to prepare for case-based interviews. A small case with a business problem is given to the candidate. A candidate is supposed to ask relevant questions to the interviewer to get to the root cause of the problem. Finally, a candidate has to give suggestions to tackle the problem. Enough training and support are provided for the placements. But finally, it is up to the candidate how to get benefits from all these services.

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