Tuesday, June 17, 2008

One, Two, Three, and Counting....

It's been three years since we came to join IIMA. I landed here on a hot Saturday afternoon of May 28, 2005. For one month, we had much fun and enjoyment in encountering so many new things at once. Those were the days of preparatory program - days of least work load possible at IIMA.

Soon after, the dream run was replaced by the first term. Although, in retrospect, even the first term is worth missing - those new friends, new campus, unknown knowledge frontiers, new understanding of known subjects, amazing professors, sleepless times, surprise quizzes, and never ending cases and readings. In between, we still managed some weekend parties, small outings, or just sitting around LKP and discussing nothing with the gravity of most intense thoughts. All of us were so busy in studies that we never got the time to realize how time is flying by.

First year ended, more or less, like this only - without giving us much time for stopping and thinking. And despite all the loads, grades, and frustrations, everything was great. I was growing beyond my imagination - not only mentally but also physically - mess food was too rich to digest by sitting on the study-table only. Nonetheless, the first year was over and to my surprise, I was still here. I always thought that I'm never going to make it through the first year. I had secretly decided that I will not leave IIMA by my own and let the authority kick me out. Fortunately that didn't happen even during the second year.

In second year, we had our area specific courses. In some of the FPM classes, there were barely 3-4 students. When the life got easier for our PGP batch-mates, it got much harder for most of the FPMs. Not only the workload was more, even the quality expected increased and evaluation became more intense. There were the days when I wished for a 50 hours day. Class duration was normally 2.5 to 3 hours and some days had 2-3 of them. With almost 6-8 hours of preparation for every class, my demand of 50 hours a day was not totally unjustified.

The real nightmarish time came with the fifth term, which faded the whole of the first year. I had max credit-load thus far and some courses were too critical and too time-consuming for me. I reminded myself of my old commitment - don't leave, let them kick you out. But like every good (and bad) thing, even the second year came to an end. What seemed like a relief was actually an even bigger headache - the Comprehensive Qualifier Exam or the CQE, which marks the end of the course-work. We had to qualify the CQE to begin our much awaited thesis work. It took us two months of intense preparation and three months of waiting for the result to know that we have successfully completed the course-work and now can proceed to even more hectic part of the program.

I was lucky enough, unlike most of my batch-mates, to find a guide ready with a thesis topic and willingness to work with me. So, for the first time, I was involved in what might be called as some serious research. The wisdom dawned soon - research needs much more than abilities. It needs loads of persistence, self-motivation, and a very high frustration-bearing capacity. I had given my Thesis Proposal Seminar on April 16, 2008 and before that, had earned some papers to my CV. Now I am trying to build a model and collect primary and secondary data, with the hope of being lucky with consistent and valid results.

This is pretty much the story of my academic journey of past three years at IIMA. I have at least one more year to go before I complete my thesis and I wish to complete it within that time. But there is a part of me that wishes to stay here forever, for these are the days that I am going to miss in the years to come. And no matter where I go or what I do, there will be a part of me that will stay here - forever - for this is the place, which has written one of the most beautiful chapters of my life....

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