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Hi, I’m here for a 5-year MBA! – Aradhya’s tryst with IPM at IIM Indore

Did you hear about doing your undergraduate from an IIM? That's right. IIM Indore offers a unique course that students join right after schooling, and it takes you to your MBA - All in 5 years! Here we explore that shift to an MBA where you suddenly enter a new environment - where everything looks similar and yet feels so strange. How would you find your place and cope up with people of all ages with diverse backgrounds? How would you fit in?

Today, we have Aradhya Vats, best All-rounder (female) at IIM Indore. She has also won the IIM Indore Medal for Scholastic Performance Rank 1, Certificate of Academic Excellence for five consecutive years (IIM Indore), and Women Entrepreneurship Award (R&D Creativity, Indore).

In addition to these accolades, she is an incoming Consultant at PwC, has worked as a Product Marketing Intern with Google, and was the co-founder of 'Sweet' n' Spice Ventures' at IIM Indore.

Read on to find how she coped with her transition from her undergraduate degree to her MBA in IIM Indore.

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Hey there!

Let's rewind a couple of years and stop! It's July 2018, and it's my first day of the MBA class. Nothing seems to have changed - the monsoon breeze, the college campus, and the good old academic block. I wave to the ground floor canteen's Bhaia as I make my way to the class. Well, it's a different room than usual, and as I enter the room, my eyes fall on at least fifty new faces. They're fondly called "the PGPs," and let's refer to me as an IPMer, at least for the duration of this story.

A quick note - I completed my undergraduate studies at IIM Indore. I am a B.A., Foundations of Management. It is one of a kind course offered by IIM Indore and is a part of a five-year umbrella course called the Integrated Program in Management (IPM, and hence IPMer). I will get into the details as the article goes by.

Today, as I take a walk down the memory lane, I shall share with you my tryst with IPM at IIM Indore.

Initially, I was apprehensive about interacting in the class - with peers as well as instructors. Everything was new, and I wanted to take my sweet time in getting on with the flow. But given the fascinating case studies I used to read the night before class, I quickly gave in to the urge to share my thoughts and participate in class (popularly known as "giving C.P."). But what was instrumental in taking away my apprehension was the support from my classmates. I was amazed at the way people encouraged each other to participate in class. The discussions carried on, even after the lecture ended, and that's how I started making friends in the PGP batch.

How did my undergraduate degree help me? Well, some concepts studied in undergraduate Psychology courses came in handy in Human Resources lectures. Sometimes a base in Economics helped me to understand the working of financial markets.

The IPM program commenced in 2011 to admit students straight after they finish schooling and give a robust foundation in Management studies. Interestingly, the first three years do not have any mention of courses related to Marketing, Finance, Operations, or any other management stream. The formative years solely focus on subjects like Economics, Statistics, Humanities, Computer Programming, Business Etiquettes, Communication, and Performing Arts. Here, I am taking the liberty to categorize a vast and beautifully diverse curriculum into a few heads. I would urge you to check the IIM Indore website for more details.

This cross-disciplinary background makes the IPMers bring something unique to the table, just like PGP participants who hail from different institutes and programs and enter IIM Indore via the CAT.

The class, as well as group discussions, are among the fondest memories I have from campus. Most PGP students brought with them a practical understanding of organizational design owing to their work experience. Many students brought technical and data-driven expertise. It proved to be helpful in various business simulation environments during case study competitions as well as academic courses.

The confluence of diverse backgrounds and knowledge bases helped students make teams that won National level Competitions, and working groups that performed well in assignments and projects. And this beautifully flowed into peer-to-peer learning as students with a commerce background helped the rest of us unlock the Basics of Financial Accounting and IPMers with a stronghold on Humanities helped students with conquering their Cognitive Biases (theoretically).

The diversity in Business Schools is central to their quality of learning. That's why Diversity Reports released every year make headlines. The most common and most discussed, is - gender diversity. IPM batches usually come with a near equal distribution of male and female gender ratios (in the context of the diversity reports where gender is a binary construct).

At the same time, I believe that diversity in educational backgrounds holds a vital place, as well. And in that regard, IIM Indore has done reasonably well, given that more than a fifth of the total batch size is composed of IPMers.

Another lesser-known fact about IPM is that academicians at IIM Indore designed it as a result of the 2008 financial crisis. It was in the aftermath of the crisis that educationists realized that "social responsibility" as a trait needed to be developed in leaders and managers. To inculcate values such as empathy and social sensitivity, it required time as well as fresh, impressionable minds. And hence the five-year Integrated Program in Management was brought into being.

"In every crisis, lies an opportunity," as is rightly said!

From its inception till today, the course has undergone continuous revisions and improvements. The perception of the course in the industry has changed gradually from a risky bet placed upon school pass-outs to a brilliant course that has the potential to create leaders of tomorrow. Some say that the future of Indian management education shall be influenced by the ideas and philosophy behind the course.

But this does not mean that people don't have their doubts. They show concern about the course and the quality of participants. But to resolve that, we have a pool of diligent and passionate Alumni, who are adding feathers to their cap each day.

I think it can be safe to say that if one believes in what they are doing and makes use of opportunities they are presented with, they shall succeed in achieving what they set out to, and maybe even more.

An ancient Sanskrit saying goes - "charaivati, charaivati." It means "to keep walking." My interpretation would be to keep doing what we do without worrying about results. An act done with sincerity and goodness of heart is likely to yield positive results for oneself and others.

So, to all PGPs, IPMs, Alumni, school pass-outs, and everyone else reading this, I would urge you to follow your heart and keep doing what you want to, keeping in mind the best interests of those who are affected by your decisions. May we keep learning from each other and keep winning long term!


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