By Shikhar Mohan
The question popped up out of the blue on my screen a couple of days back while I was browsing Quora.
Since I am watching ‘Zindagi Gulzaar Hai’ (Life is beautiful) on Netflix right now, somehow it sprang up as a potential response to this question.
Except, just like in the Pakistani show, where the life of the protagonists often fails to live up to the title of the show, life after IIM, is often more complex.
There are those who don’t get roles they want. Those who find they are anything but managers after the ‘MBA’ having landed Management Trainee profiles instead of roles imagined by most thanks to the ‘Get ready for top Management’ glow surrounding MBA courses in India. Those who regret not pursuing their passions. But lets ignore all these for a moment since such issues exist in every sphere of life.
Lets focus for a bit on the most successful lot, because I think that was the real question – how great is life for those who get what they want out of an IIM degree?
And here is where I was reminded about ‘Humorously Yours’ on TVF ( You should watch it if you haven’t).
At one point, Vipul Goyal, who is a struggling stand-up comedian, is mystified about why he is still surrounded by a thousand tensions despite finally securing a solo stand-up show – his life long dream.
Kanan Gill tells him that he would understand his situation better if he played video games. He elucidates – when you cross a level in the video game, you get a bigger gun, but that doesn’t mean the level is any easier to conquer – with the bigger gun, comes a bigger and stronger enemy since – you have leveled up”.
So even if your expectations from IIMs/ IIT/ OFQ (other fancy qualifications) are matched by reality, you still have to contend with bigger challenges that will come your way since you have leveled up. The silver lining is that they come with a number of positives.
Here are some of them:
Bigger salary with bigger EMIs – Where the education loan ends, the IIM grad worthy car loan starts. Where the car loan ends, the IIM grad worthy home loan starts. Where loans start, freedoms end.
Bigger life, but even bigger expectations – Yes you can afford a simple 1 BHK or 2 BHK on rent. But that’s not what you imagined right? Everyone has dreams of living in a villa with an A4 parked in garage. On to that Startup and funding then.
Higher Salary, Higher targets and lesser time – everything comes at a price, higher salary included. Too many of us define success by how wealthy we get. But it can also be defined by how many experiences you gather or how much time you get for self-development and family. These aspects however will usually suffer for the initial years.
More responsibilities but more office politics too – Climb the ladder, but watch out for the ‘snakes’ which didn’t care much for you till you were walking below their radar
Don’t get me wrong. This is not a contrarian response for the sake of sounding different. There is a whole world of positives good education can bring you and IIMs are no different. But IIMs are not a magic bullet which will set you for life.
Many people who go to IIMs know this. For others knowing there is a flip side to the best case scenario might be useful. Because your neighborhood uncle and aunty won’t talk about their IIM son or daughter who is busy all the time.
Browse to 4 Min 20 seconds in the video below for Kanan’s ‘gyan’ on leveling up.
About the Author – Shikhar Mohan has 15 years of corporate and startup experience. Before starting up OneYearMBA.co.in & TwoYearMBA.com, Shikhar served as Chief Marketing Officer (VP) at CommonFloor (acquired by Quickr) and Brand Head at HCL Infosystems. Shikhar writes on education in publications such as Business Standard, Smartinvestor, Indian Management, Rediff.com & is a frequent speaker at prominent B-Schools. In another lifetime, before he donned a suit (post an MBA from IIM I), he was an advertising copywriter at Mudra, FCB, Grey Worldwide and won over 10 international & national advertising awards in New York, Australia, Singapore. Connect with him on Linkedin @