Looking out of my second floor window towards the Symbiosis campus atop this hill, with the green of the ground expanding beyond the limit of my horizon, I feel an amalgam of different emotions. Some of my batch-mates may feel that being teary eyed may be the only natural expression at this time, since the two wonderful years spent atop this paradise are drawing to a close. Some may believe that they have developed a permanent bond with this college, SIBM Pune, and shall keep coming back to this place to keep those memories fresh as ever. There will be others who shall go out, relieved that the travail finally came to an end, and never look back at the place which did not add much value to them, which did not give them the memories which each one of us inherently covets. I go out with a mixture of all of these, a little here, a little there.
I still remember the day when I came here for the first time to appear for my GD-PI process. Though circuitous, the winding road leading up to the hill top of Lavale was what stumped me. I could not believe that a b-school campus could be located at such a scenic place. The view from the campus goes very far to the semi-hills of the Western Ghats, and at night, the places beyond glimmer as audaciously as the stars above. The entrance of the campus towards the academic blocks consists of a wide boulevard with a fountain at the centre, the ugliness of which stands awkwardly in contrast to the beauty of its surroundings. But the conspicuousness of it all goes largely unnoticed by the average student. Maybe because he is too busy to notice, or maybe he is so used to seeing the splotches of ugliness on the white canvas of appearances.
A lot has changed in the last two years at this place. If environmentalists would cheer at the new well-maintained green cover of grass on the ground, socialists would decry the newly imposed restrictions to the use of the ground for us common people, which places it beyond us, something like a Porsche, only to be admired from a distance. Life a friend said, it is like a father fencing the front yard of their house not allowing his own child to play there, saying “Son, I cannot do much. The neighbour’s child pays me two rupees per day to use the ground”. We see anyone and everyone from other colleges (some not even students) come and play at the ground, which has suddenly become off-limits to us laymen, just because there is a green cover which makes the ground hoity-toity. Then there have been changes in the whole process of placements at SIBM Pune this last year, only for good. Reading the vitriolic comments on the Confessions page of a “sister institute” against the misuse of power by those “special ones”, I realize that this could well have been our senior batch. But I cannot imagine acerbic tone being used to describe the current scenario. In fact, I’m inclined to believe that most favour the transparency.
SIBM Pune has more or less maintained its rank on the list of the “most-wanted” b-schools, something in which the powers-that-be find a lot to cheer about. Sometimes it seems as if this very thing is the end to which the b-schools strive, or maybe it’s the average pay-package. What gets lost in this rat race is what some like to call the academic rigour. Though I agree at this age, the professors are not supposed to make you learn, in fact they cannot. But one responsibility of an able professor, especially one at a b-school, is to inspire his students, to light that torch of hunger to learn more. Alas, not many of the cherished permanent faculty at this institute have anything close to that ability. Guest faculty, which has had a much greater impact in this regard, continues to be ignored. This is one problem which, if addressed, can go a long way in cementing SIBM Pune’s place in the list of the most respected b-schools.
Finally, I believe a b-school is about exposure, execution and experiences. Exposure to the different situations in the form of assignments or group work, and to different cultures in the form of the people you meet (and become lifelong friends with). You learn execution of ideas, and on the way that ability to see your plans through. And finally experiences, which teach you the most. I, for one, learned a lot from the students I was around, and my friends. I learned the value of hard work, and how it always pays off. I learned how little I know about things, about people and about their aspirations. I felt inspired to do more, and I learned about my shortcomings. I learned to let go of the misgivings and the grudges. I learned to forgive.
Last few days left, and I don’t feel too strong an emotion. Strangely I am looking forward to the corporate life, but I know once I go away from this place, I’m going to look back with nostalgia. But I have my own set of memories that I’ve made here. And I plan to keep them safe, like a delicate album which can be looked back upon, time and again.
“The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye...until we meet again”
― Jimi Hendrix