If you are an Indian, then throughout your life you have been advised on why you should go to IIM Ahmedabad. I will tell you when you should think twice, maybe thrice before joining IIM A.
When you are vulnerable under pressure
This is not a joke but a serious advice. The pressure in the first year is intense and some people are unable to handle it. It is mental torture for many. And that, I feel, is IIM A’s funda. If you can bear the stress of the first year, then you are ready to bear any stress in corporate and personal life. But what if you cannot? I will cite an example from personal experience.
A girl had a cerebral hemorrhage attack within 3 months of joining. Although, there is no proof that it was because of academic pressure, I have my doubts as she never had any problem earlier. She recovered and did much better afterwards but I think that this is unwarranted for.
There are many students who cannot cope up with the academic rigor, stay quite depressed and most of them wonder why they even came to IIM A at the first place.
When your undergraduate degree is not from a reputed college
I think that money is the main reason that drives people to the institute. Firstly, the amount is not as exorbitant as you had imagined it to be. Average placement figures are in range of 14-16 LPA. AVERAGE. If you take the average of bottom 50% students in IIM A, the average would come to around 10-12 LPA.
Now, assuming that you will get even average placements would be preposterous because of the following reasons.
- There are 25-30 % IITians. An IIT tag on the CV and a CGPA of 5/10 is better than 10/10 from your not so reputed college (for companies who come to hire)
- There are > 30% NITians, BITsians. They will be given preference over you only because of the colleges.
- Girls (>10%) get preference. Now a decent-looking girl will get preference over you in placements and that is for sure. I call it the attractiveness bias and I think it is normal. Even worse, the percentage of girls is increasing every year.
- Work- ex does not matter unless you have been doing sales and are applying for a Sales or Marketing job.
So, if you are none of the above, and a normal person with a degree from a not so well-known institute, you have automatically put yourselves in the category of bottom 30-35% people which means that the probability of you getting an average placement of 10-12 LPA is almost 100%. Of course there are exceptions but then well, they are exceptions.
So you will graduate with a loan of 15 LPA, pressure of marriage and a salary of 10-12 LPA. You struggled 1-2 years to get into IIM A, you will struggle for 2 years at IIM A and you will be struggling to pay off your loans for the next 3 years. Congrats, you have screwed up your 20s in very nice manner.
When you want to be an entrepreneur
Graduating from IIM Ahmedabad will hinder your pace in becoming an entrepreneur. Why do I say that?
- The loan: It makes job an automatic choice.
- The age: As you grow up, you tend to become more risk averse.
- IIM A won’t make you a good entrepreneur and although it tries to encourage entrepreneurship, you get more influenced by the people around you.
I would say that trying to set up your own small business in 2 years and failing/succeeding at it will teach you much more about entrepreneurship.
When you are not a masochist
Ok. I hate to say this about the institute from which I graduated, but this is what I feel. To an extent, I would call the practice at IIM A (first year) to be sadism. Not physical, but mental. Everyone will tell you that the best feeling is graduating from the first year. It has to be. Because the first year is tyrannical. How will you feel when someone has strangled you for long and releases suddenly? Or you are drowning in water and someone saves you? Or you are released from a prison? You will feel extremely good and relieved. But, do you want to experience that again?
Ask any IIM A grad if they want to experience first year again? If they say yes, then they have a good tolerance to sadism.
When all you want is peace in life
That is one thing, I believe, IIM A won’t give you and it will ensure that you don’t get it for the next 5-7 years in your life.
- Academic rigour for two years at IIM A (second year is a bit chilled out)
- As an IIM A grad, you are expected to work for 11-12 hours.
- Pressure to deliver results when you are in the company.
- Pressure of loan (as mentioned above)
There is no way that you will be living a peaceful life once you graduate from IIM A. Either you will get used to it or you will be cursing yourself because that is not what you would have signed up for.
Don’t just blindly get into IIM A. Collect as much information as you can from people who have been there. Preferably from someone whom you know well. Preferably from someone who is similar to you. If you are a non-IITian and you are taking views from an IITian, it won’t be helpful. They will have a different outlook.
It is very difficult to look at IIM A from an objective point of view because it has been instilled into our minds from a very early age that it is the best and a sure-shot way to success in life.
- This is not a rant and I don’t regret going to IIM A but this is mainly because I got selected by chance and I had almost zero expectations from the institute.
- I have written this post because I have seen dreams getting crushed around me as many people had come with unrealistic expectations.
- Some of the points will definitely be common for other IIMs and MBA in general but since I have not been to any other institute, I would reserve my comments on those.