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'IIMs are a ruthless process; you either sink or swim'
How did IIM-A happen? Was it as competitive in your time as it is today?

While in Class XII I was debating if I wanted to become a doctor or do a management degree. I used to accompany my elder sister, who was doing physiotherapy, to hospitals which helped me understand that I was not suited to do medicine. Management and corporate world were perhaps better suited for me which is why I opted for doing an MBA.

I think doing a management course from an IIM was as competitive as it is today. I don't know what the numbers were then but it was certainly very aspirational, very tough to get in. I applied to almost all the IIMs because my mind has always been like a conservative banker. You most certainly have a plan, but then you have a back-up plan and a back-up to a back-up plan.

Fortunately again, IIM Ahmedabad happened and I met friends from whom I learnt a great deal. I really learnt here how to work under pressure and how to work in teams. Because on day one they throw you into the deep end of the pool without any life-saving support and you just have to learn to swim. There are no sympathies; it's a ruthless process; you either sink or swim, it's up to you. It really is high pressure.

I think IIMs culturally attune you to multi-tasking; you just have to juggle five subjects at the same time, handle five different projects. A deadline meant a deadline; if you are late even by a minute they will not take your assignment.

Image: IIM Ahmedabad
Photographs: Rediff Archives
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