Committees at B-School

  • Ankit Sinha, IIM-Lucknow, 2002-04
  • Apr 26th, 2017
MBA Committees

One big advantage of joining a 2 year program for MBA / PGDM is the avenue for joining student committees. For some of us, it overshadowed the actual academic piece by a very wide margin. It has been 12 years since I graduated from my institute. Not once have I regretted my decision to dedicate all my energies to activities outside of the classroom.

How did it all start?

As soon as we joined the MBA program (remember it was 2002), we got into an Orientation Program. The senior batch wowed us with their presentation skills, talking through animated slideshows as to how the student committees were the best thing on campus. Flash presentations with music in the background was a rage back then!

Soon enough everyone in the batch had applied in some committee or the other. The serious committees were centered around Industry Relations, Alumni Affairs and Placements. There was of course room for Finance Club, Marketing Committees (multiple flavors), Operations Interest Group, Events - Social and Literary, Music and Arts, Technology and Systems, Sports and Culture.  There were most established ones that had suave members who seemed to know what they were doing. There were rebel committees that existed for higher level nirvana of it’s own members and zero output. There were Presidents, Mess Secretaries, Hostel Affairs, even Academic Affairs secretary. Many of us wanted to be part of the “it” crowd, many were collecting a bullet point on the CV, many were doing going through the motions because of the many others.

Soon enough 50% of the batch was holding a position of power. There was even an Executive Committee to decide what posters could be placed on the Mess Notice Board. Let’s just tag this entire bunch of people like me as “Committee Crowd”. Every time we got busy with committee work and missed an assignment, failed in a surprise test, forgot our way to the library, we reminded ourselves, “MBA is not about classrooms, and I am here to get a real world experience.”

Why did I drift into a committee? I was a “Committee Crowd” back at my Engineering school, so I was a natural. So it was easy for me to choose a committee that promised to suck all my time. I had lost the battle of being in Top 20% of my class early on, so it was important to remain constructive somehow.

How has my “committee” experience panned out?

I made some great friends working in our small committee - we literally grew up together during those 2 years. I could bond with people in senior and junior batches as well thanks to that opportunity presented by the nature of work and those connections are really handy. We enjoyed the chaos to the fullest, did not bury ourselves behind a book (or a screen) and did our best to leave a mark in the history of our institute. The sheer overload of activity has better prepared me for my corporate life. I do value people who take initiative, don’t need supervision, and can create structure from a perfectly ambiguous problem statement.

Many of the electives I chose did not have interesting classes. My CGPA would have been a lesser disaster had I not enrolled my heart and soul in a committee. But those extra 2-point CGPA would not have made a difference in the quality of my 1st job. (Yes, am aware that most Indians see MBA Schools as a Placement Agency). When I visited campus, I saw the ecosystem had matured and focus was on students starting up, rather than joining committees. Now that’s a really positive trend in my assessment. Those of you who are struggling to clear academics because your passion for the co-curricular - stop reading and talk to mom for better worldly advice.

I do love math, I love numbers - but not when they are being used to measure my worth in terms of CGPA then, or Performance Ratings now.

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