Friday, July 31, 2009

Introduced to a New World

The final day in Pondicherry was an incessant flurry of activity for me. The packing and unpacking, the last-minute shopping, the good-byes over continuous telephone calls with relatives and close family friends... All occupied my time and mind, without leaving room for further thought. Not once did I worry about the one-year course I had taken up in Chennai Business School (CBS) without actually doing any detailed background study of the institution or calling up the alumni for further information. Therefore, on the first day, the 8th of July, I went there with an open mind, ready to understand, accept and work to my best advantage, whatever it offered.

The induction program was two weeks long, introducing the various subjects we had to cover in this course, interspersed with guest lecturers from different industry. There were several aspects of the induction which impressed me, one of them being the gradual acclimatising to the long hours that we had to spend in CBS campus and also studying at home. There were a few assignments given to us in the first week itself with short deadlines of a day or two. So, working in groups, we learnt more about our classmates, while getting back into the academic mode of doing homework. The Governing Council members and the faculty warned us several times that we would not have a second to even blink an eyelid as the year progressed to an end. This was a great challenge and with the fear of being submerged under piles of books and notebooks, came the stubborn desire to find a way up to breath in the fresh air and enjoy the whole course.

The faculty at CBS was another surprise. They were all very well versed in their subjects as well as the current affairs. But the thing that really caught my attention, was their approachability, which was something I had experienced during my schooling and graduation. We felt very reassured that in case of any doubt or difficulty, we could just walk up to them and address the problem. I believe that this is one of the biggest plus points of the institution: the faculty being constantly so inspiring and motivating.

A third aspect of CBS’s system of education which attracted me, was the continuous appraisal through class participation, assignments, debates and quizzes. Again another similarity with my alma mater, and therefore something I was already used to. The major difference being that here we have to take exams and there, there weren’t any. The constant evaluation keeps us on our toes, wanting to do our best at all times. Thus it fairly avoids the age-old trap of studying just before the exams, which leads to mugging up loads of useless information and vomiting it out on the examination table. So, either we know a subject (through regular reading) or we do not, and that is absolutely left to the individual and his reasons for being in CBS.

This brings me to another unusual aspect of the induction program, the 40-page Rule Book, which was something I had never seen or heard of in any other institution. Of course there are other strict institutions, but I wonder if they ever issued the rule books to the students... And immediately our gamut of excuses crashes to the ground!!!

On a more serious note, the most significant asset for any student is the Lesson Plan, which I consider as the best gift we received during the induction program. It is a clear concise route map and a great asset to the time-management skills we have to develop for the course. During a friendly session with the Alumni, they told us, make the best of the time you’ve got here, it’s very short, and not enough to do all that you want to do. So keeping their advice in mind, and still wanting to accommodate my whims and desires, I realised that if we make the right use of the Lesson Plan, we can achieve at least 80-90% of them (including the freaking out!).

In the end, the take-aways from the two-week long induction program are numerous. Most of my friends had laughed and said, “Wow! Two weeks of induction! You guys must be just having a ball of a time!” We did, but more importantly we got an idea of where we wanted to be at the end of the year and how best to get there. It’s the “CBS Way of Learning”, and we are here to make it our own. Good Luck to all of us!

By Ishita Deshmukh, Marketing & Communications Varsity, CBS Batch-4 (2009-10)

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