Back To The Classroom At IIM-I


As the train started from the railway station leaving behind Jammu, the city of temples, the realization suddenly hit home. I was going to be a student again.

That it was going to be at a dream school like IIM Indore was feeling secondary, being dominated by the exhilarating idea of returning to classroom action. To be a student again, is the best that can ever be; at a place where you can question everything and find answers to anything.

A part of me was nervous, to leave behind my family, friends and a lucrative home-posting of a Fortune 500 firm in making a choice of deliberately choosing to be different.

Inside 36 hours, this overwhelming feeling had transformed into exhilarating motivation as I stepped into the campus on a hot, windy April afternoon. The sprawling green campus with megastructures was intimidating for a boy from the Kashmir valley, but all that awe vanished as I met my new friends.


We embarked together, 41 battle hardened people with rich and diverse professional experience, having let go of what we were in our established careers, to become what we might be.

The gruelling past year had seen us conquer the nerve-wracking GMAT, personal interviews, intriguing essays and numerous life questions in our quest to run a different race altogether.

We embarked together, 41 battle hardened people with rich and diverse professional experience, having let go of what we were in our established careers, to become what we might be.

As the sessions unravelled, we understood that being here is just the first step; the dream was free, but the hustle would be overtly expensive in terms of effort, persistence and application. Great things never come from comfort zones, and are preceded by chaos which we found ourselves in, with definition of day and night undergoing a radical shift, usually converging at 5 AM in the mornings.

The restive process of “unlearning” to learn new things began, and “action and application” became the mantra rather than “knowing and willing”.

80-rotations-planet-back-classroom-epgp-iim-indore-reenginerred-mba-campus-admission-gmat-interview-essay-international-immersion-program-cxo-ikon-leadership-seriesThis ever evolving EPGP, one year re-engineered MBA, started at Mach One speed, as core concepts from Finance to OB, Marketing to Economics, Analytics to IS were being hurled at us, with added ammunition of Harvard cases, assignments and group projects. At one point, the ongoing surprise tests simply lost their element of surprise!!

Standing here after two months, having realized that conformity is the jailer of freedom and growth, we are continuously striving to evolve. The awareness is ingrained now, that to improve ourselves, we need to change; but to be perfect, we have to change often and rapidly.

At IIM-I, elite minds with cutting-edge entrepreneurial spirits converge and transform into a new generation of principled leaders aiming to make the world a better place.

Getting grilled and thrilled daily with the fastest of the curve-balls and a finely chiseled pedagogy, has started to shape us into change agents in fulfilling social sensitivity and obligations while aiming at taking massive strides at innovations in management roles.

The upcoming international immersion program at McCombs Business School, USA is generating palpable excitement in terms of providing a global outlook and opportunity of rubbing shoulders with the best in proactive data analytics and deductions.

IIM Indore - campus life

But then, who had thought that we would be creating a legacy of Table Master (TT Championship), Bear & Bulls and CXO i-KON Leadership series in a crunched schedule apart from sports bugs of swimming, cycling to cricket to stretch ourselves while venting off steam.

In these last 80 days at Planet I as IIM I is fondly known, among all skills, the best assets acquired from here can be summed up as, “Integrity and Honesty”. I believe each of us have a responsibility to add great value to the society in whatever pursuit we embark upon, accomplishing feats that will bring good to others as well!

We long to turn into leaders with the ability to not only building bridges, but building them on the right rivers at the right time while creating extraordinary opportunities out of ordinary occasions.To see the difference, you need to live the EPGP.


Nikhil Saraf is in the EPGP (1 year MBA) class of 2016-17 at IIM Indore. He has more than 7 years’ experience in sensitive B2B-C petroleum retail network management, Strategic Sales & Marketing with India’s 5th largest Company. An avid traveller, he holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from NIT Srinagar along with a bravery award from the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. You can connect to him on Linkedin

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