On the last day of my job, one of the most common aphorisms that I heard was, “Prepare well for your second innings of student life.” I did not put much thought to it then, believed it to be just another adage used by people to bid you off on your journey. The gravity of the statement was realized by me only when I actually entered into the “second innings”. Trust me when I say it, sitting in classes is not the same as before. A few months back, you were one of the ‘artisans in making’ writing codes, handling logistics, consulting with clients and bringing profits to your company. Suddenly, you are back to the basics of all of this, sitting in the lecture rooms learning about these. Of course, you learn a lot while you work in a company, but experiential learning procedure is different from that of an academic curriculum. This made me come up with a small compendium for aspirants with work experience, who are on their way to join B-schools.
I will share my experience of what was different for me from the last time I attended college.
Number one: I realized that I had lost the tenacity to read the big fat textbooks. During my job as a developer, all my learning used to come from ‘Stackoverflow’, ‘w3schools’, ‘CodeRanch’ and many other online learning hubs. The concept of learning from textbooks for me was lost in the mists of time. Thanks to the culture of case studies, I was not completely overthrown. Not to forget the carefully tailored PPTs which cater to your night-before-exam preparation needs.
Number two: The thought process while attending a lecture had entirely changed. During my professional stint, one thing that I learnt was that you really need to listen carefully and process the information. On the first day, when I sat in the lecture, I could unravel my sense of what is important and what can be shrugged off. Unlike engineering, when I had to struggle hard to stay focused for the whole session, I actually find the subjects more related to the world.
Number three: Peer interaction was a lot easier than what it was in the first year of college. This reminds me of the first day in engineering, the shy natured me looking for the courage and tempo to go up and make new comrades for the next four years. It was a lot easier on the first day of my MBA. A smile, a shake of hand and introduction is all it takes (or maybe a little more). Of course, I would dedicate this confidence to my professional stint.
Number four: I started thinking from a broader perspective. The naive me always used to think about the next quiz, the next term, the next examination. Grades used to (or maybe it tried to) fuel the enthusiasm to gain knowledge. But this perspective changes once you face the heat of the real-life symphony. It is no more the next task, the next project or the next appraisal. It’s a constant process of gaining knowledge, for the longer run, the ‘Big Picture’.
Number five: Importance of the intangibles is now well appreciated by me. Teamwork, speaking etiquette, assertiveness, all of these and many more used to be just some boring concepts from the soft skill page of my undergrad curriculum. Never did I realize that these are going to be the parameters based on which I was going to build a stable future. Organisational Behaviour is of utmost importance and hence, I make sure that I practice it in all kind of assignments, class lectures, case discussions and so on.
These are a few pointers right off my mind. Not necessarily is it relevant for all the success mongers but for those of you working professionals, who find your feet fitting rightly in my shoes, here are a few guidelines from my side.
1. # Start the habit of reading again. You may find a few hiccups initially, but it helps nonetheless in the next two years.
2. # Put all your organisational practices in your B-school study too. It helps for the most of the time. Be it team building skills, leadership or simple OCB.
3. # There isn’t going to be a constant inflow of salary, so put a check on your buying habits.
4. # Remember that the b-school did not choose you, you chose the B-School. Act accordingly and set your life goals, assuming that you will have a better understanding of it already.
5. # Lastly, very few people get another chance to relive the student life. Make the most of it. Pick up the hobbies you were dreading to have since long, make new friends, party responsibly and live life. Not saying live life like it’s your last day, but make sure when you leave, it is something worth sharing.
About the Author:
Aklesh Padhy – I am an average guy, trying to break the shackles of mediocrity, to be a Jack-of-‘most’-trades and to express simplistically, the entangled thoughts in my head.