A doctor’s B School journey – Part1

-Dr. Shubhra Chakraborty

As I sit writing this piece in my hostel room at 2 am at night at SCMHRD, I can hear a buzz. My head is buzzing, the hostel is buzzing, the entire campus is buzzing. The summer internship season is here, or as one of my more wittier batch-mates commented ironically – WINTER IS HERE! But more on that later, let us start from the beginning.

Coming from a complete medical background, where even both my parents are doctors, I was the first doctor from my family to attend this prestigious b-school. Having heard so many stories, theories, warnings, and reading various articles on InsideIIM.com, I came to this b-school with many preconceived notions in my head. Some have stood the litmus test, whereas some (thankfully) have been proven to be false.

The first time I arrived at this college, I remember thinking how polite everyone was. Having studied at a govt medical college, I was a bit unnerved by all this proactiveness. Even the security guard (who I learnt in my marketing class was my first Touchpoint with SCMHRD) was kind and helpful.

A very wise person (yours truly) once said – in a b-school campus time doesn’t fly, it propels through the fabric of your consciousness at the speed of a supersonic jet! It’s not odd to find yourself wondering at the end of the day – “where in the world did all the time go?”

My first week here went into acclimatising myself with my new surroundings, meeting what seemed like a thousand people, trying to remember their names and promptly forgetting them, getting used to the layout of the campus and making some truly wonderful friends. Our outbound learning bonded us as a group and we got to see many facets of people whom we had thought to be unidimensional. Being the only doctor in the batch afforded me a little bit of familiarity as most of the people already knew who I was through our batch’s WhatsApp group. I never thought I would get to meet so many interesting people with such diverse backgrounds and experiences, in a single campus. SCMHRD was fast becoming home. The first few days were spent in a heady mix of conversations, activities and socialising.

And then the classes started! Being the youngest b-school to break into the top-20 institutes of the country doesn’t come without a rigorous academic schedule. Classes went on from morning till evening. We were bombarded with a horde of assignments, tests, group projects, research assignments and presentations. Days started merging into nights and nights suddenly became new days without any warning. Life inside a b-school campus never sleeps and the coffee shop vendor inside the campus became my new best friend.

I had to make an effort to remember the names of all my 300 batchmates, but it was very easy for them to remember mine because I soon went on from being called Dr.Shubhra to just being called ‘THE DOCTOR’. It was a little strange for me in the beginning to be just called ‘doctor’ instead of my name but now this nick-name has become very dear to me because it shows their love, camaraderie , friendship and acceptance. I feel like I truly belong. One of my favourite professors endearingly addresses me as ‘daak-sahab’ and I woudn’t trade that for anything.

Being the only doctor in the batch also means that you automatically become the in-house doctor of the campus. I don’t miss practising medicine that much because I have people approaching me with all sorts of consultations and ailments ranging from hair fall, to  weird looking bruises or suspicious moles.

The faculty also is one of the most patient I have ever seen as no-matter how many times I asked a doubt or how many times I approached them with a problem, they were always ready to help. I distinctly remember, I had gone to the administration with a problem related to the facilities and they rectified it within hours!! I have never in my professional life seen an administration that is so receptive to the needs of the students and so proactive.

Now coming to the true flag-bearers of a b-school, its students. These can be divided into 3 broad categories-

  • THE FINANCE GUYS – these are the BBA, B-COM students and students with a finance background . In the 1st semester, they are the rockstars of the batch. They seem to walk the halls in slow motion with guitar music playing in the background. Everyone is in awe of them. They seem to know all the subjects and concepts and filling out a balance sheet seems like child’s play to them. These are also some of the most generous people I have met. They are in very high in demand during the exam season and tirelessly help the entire batch with their ninja accounting skills.
  • THE ENGINEERS – with almost 65% of the batch being engineers, I have come to know a thing or two about this enigmatic being, that we call an engineer. Engineers come in all shapes and sizes. Engineers have a powerhouse of talent in their community and they have the biggest of hearts. They are always ready to help a friend. I remember my engineer friends patiently teaching me  the whole syllabus of geometric progression, matrices and differentiation in just one night before the maths exam. They are experts in maths but more importantly, they specialise in loyalty.
  • THE OTHERS – this comprises of us ‘non-technical’ people, or ‘muggles’, as we are known in the technical community. We get the biggest opportunity to learn here in a b-school as every day brings in new skills, challenges, lessons and a kind friend always willing to help.

Now coming to the subjects of 1st semester. We have a whopping 17 subjects (yeah you read that right!) and the exams for all these subjects takes place in just 4 days, averaging 4 subjects a day. I dare any MBA 1st sem student to count all the 17 subjects on their fingers in one go (you will always forget to name one or two at least).

Broadly there are 4 specialisations in MBA. I will try to describe them to my medical friends with as much context as possible –

1.HR – or human resources. This can be equated with DERMATOLOGY and RADIOLOGY of the medical field as they both require good people skills, a calm head and come with good pay checks.

2.MARKETING – this can be equated with OBS-GYNAE and SURGERY of the medical field as both require a lot of in-the-field work and a good sales pitch.

3.OPERATIONS – this can clearly be equated with MEDICINE of the medical field as both are the life-force of their respective buisnesses.

4.FINANCE – this can clearly be related to ANESTHESIA in the medical field as anesthesia is what you will feel like taking, if you are not able to understand financial accounting!

No talk about an MBA school is complete without discussing the b-school lingo! When I first came here, I found the words to be a little strange but now they seem to roll off my tongue. I remember last week when I was talking to a doctor friend of mine who was having guests over for dinner, I asked her to offer more ‘deliverables’ in every ‘vertical’. She broke into peals of laughter and now that has become an inside joke in our group.

SCMHRD has given me a whole new perspective, and taught me about my own capabilities. It has taught me to respect everyone irrespective of their background and to be humble in my victories. It has given me a wonderful set of friends and taught me to come out of my comfort zone. It has also taught me that I can survive on less than 4 hours of sleep a day and still function the next day (or at least pretend to). But most important of all, it has given me a community where I feel like I belong.

Now back to prepping for summers because, you know – ALL MEN MUST INTERN, NO MEN MUST SLEEP!

To be continued….

Courtesy: InsideIIM

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