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Business & Strategy


BITSians At India’s Best B-schools

Life at b-schools is significantly different from that in Pilani. More night-
outs, tighter schedules, stricter grades and fewer people on campus can
make the transition tough. Amidst the deadlines, projects, case studies
and presentations, how do BITSians cope? Does being a BITSian make a
difference? We find out from students and alumni at India’s top B-
schools: IIMs, XLRI, and the ISB.

Approximately 500 BITSians IIM-A has five in the first year your junior at BITS is your
write the B-school tests every batch and seven in the second senior here!
year. While most of these are year. The second year batch has
final year students, the others a good mix, BITSians who ISB also is attracting a lot of
are those waiting to take a break graduated in different years. All BITSian talent lately. This year,
from corporate life. The number the first year BITSians at IIM A its one-year PG programme has
of calls from the top colleges are from the batch of 2000. ten from the desert. It is possibly
varies every year the only top b-
but many of these school to have
calls are converted married
to final admissions. BITSians in
Most successful class.
students believe
being a BITSian So what really
has a lot to do with is the transition
making it through to a b-school
and the reasons student like?
don’t just stop with One major
the brand name. It issue every
has more to do with BITSian faces
the attitude, the is the
adaptability and the attendance.
personality that a From a life of
BITSian carries out late mornings
of Pilani. (who attended
those common hours anyway?),
Being a BITSian can also have At IIM B, BITSians are all over sleepy afternoons and zero
its downsides. There’s a pretty the place. There are 21 BITSians percent attendance, B-school life
big reputation to live up to. You in the first year- from the is a rude wake-up call.
are automatically deemed to batches of 1996-2005. IIM C According to this author the 90
understand all complex has four BITSians in the first minute long classes were the
mathematical problems and it’s year and only one in the second most difficult to digest- even
tough to accept that you really year. worse than the late night ones.
don’t. However, of course, it’s Life at Pilani has sure spoilt us
not long before everyone forgets The number of BITSians at rotten.
which college you are from. XLRI seems to be growing
steadily. From none in 2003, BITSians don’t really hang out
Of course, there are BITSians there were two in 2004 and this together in these schools. For
everywhere - but how many year there are four, one from 97 one, most don’t have the time.
exactly? batch, two each from the 99 and Another reason is we are a breed
2000 batches and one from the of people who easily gel in with
2001 batch. It can be odd when other groups of people – so we

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Business & Strategy

BITS & B-school

A recipe for business success

CVL Srinivas, Managing (L to R) Rajesh (IIMC), Sandeep (XLRI), Vikram (IIMC)

Director of Maxus India, and Sandhya (XLRI), BITS’ 99, came together at the
manages the agency's XLRI-IIMC meet this year.
operations across the Asia- meet in Kolkota, BITSians
Pacific. A mechanical engineer who had never met at Pilani BITSians also tend to participate
from BITS, Pilani, with a warmed up to reminisce days a lot in non-academic activities.
management degree from from college. While the There is usually atleast one
XLRI, Srinivas took charge of background reverberated BITSian who holds a significant
Maxus India early 2004. Prior with slogans against each post in most of these schools..
to heading Maxus, Srinivas other’s B-schools, BITS They pass on games of purely
was the COO, north & south at laccha happened with full BITSian culture like ‘Beg,
Madison Media – an agency he gusto. Borrow, Steal’ and are often
joined in mid-1998. found at the helm of organizing
The hectic life maybe events. At times even the sacred
He was part of the start-up another issue that can be a BITSian lingo is passed along
team that set up Fulcrum in little difficult to take. In one packaged with the Pilani culture.
term of three months we do The quizzing scenes at ISB and
1995, and spent a year before
the amount of work which is XLRI are dominated by
that at Lowe (then Lintas)
done in two years at BITS. Ramkrishnan (Batch of 2006-
working largely on brand Projects, case studies, PGP) and Lalith Krishnan
Brooke Bond. Maxus is the assignments, and submission (Batch of 2006- PGDBM and
media-buying arm of the WPP keep us perennially running BOB 2002) respectively. We
Group and its blue-chip clients from the group to the seem to lead the pack in theatre
in India in clued Titan, professor to the printer and too. At XLRI, three ex-EDC
Britannia, Hero Honda, Hutch, all the way back. At ISB members are planning to do a
and Walt Disney. things only get worse- the play they acted in while at
whole two year course being Pilani.
don’t really see the need of compressed to one. ‘But then we
hanging out together. party hard too – with OTHER HARD-
“Some of them I dont see them professional DJs and a lot of
for days. It’s a tough place and booze!’ says Raghini Rajaram HITTING
offers people no time for such (PGP Batch of 2006 at ISB). At REALITIES
gatherings” says Kartik Laxman, XLRI too partying is taken very The mess food at B-schools is
PGDBM Batch of 2007 at IIM seriously. Called ‘wet nites’, much better say some while the
A. But, of course, there are they happen the night before others still swear by Sharma’s,
always the few moments when every national holiday and last Nagarji’s and Sunday special
everyone just comes together for till 6 am. In that aspect XLRI grubs. Hardly anyone has seen
a few minutes of Pilani ‘psenti’. among IIMs is a lot like BITS the breakfast table at their B-
At a recently held XL-IIMC among IITs. schools and the most missed

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Business & Strategy
dishes seem to be kela rabdi and though the numbers are small – The big question at the end of
dahi vada. maybe it’s the more equal the article – would these MBA
distribution” smiles Sandeep grads prefer to call themselves
The B-schools have relatively (Batch of 2007 –PGDBM). BITSians first or by the names
less number of students. While Some others beg to differ. “Only of these prestigious B-schools?
the IIMs have about 400 in each in IIMC did I realized the value Some paused and thought for
batch, XLRI has just 180. As a of BITS girls” says Gaurav Shah seconds, some gave confused
result of the various group (Batch of 2003 PGDBM) with a smiles and some rolled their
projects and team presentations, distinct sigh. The BITSian eyes and looked at the ceiling.
there is a lot of interaction women at these schools don’t Then, after a few seconds, they
among the students in each seem to have an opinion on this all came up with the same
batch. On a lighter vein – topic but I’m told that they keep answer- you can take someone
according to the BITSian guys at a good distance from the out of Pilani but you cant take
ISB, the girls are better looking BITSian men whenever Pilani out of them.
there than at BITS. A view possible!. ♦
shared by men at XLRI too.
“The choice is much better here

Life and work at IIMB – by Madhurjya Bannerjee (’01 Instru)

The transition from BITS Pilani to IIM Bangalore was never expected to be a cakewalk.
But neither did I realize that it’ll be one of the toughest in my life. After all, how different
could it be? I never knew that I was to face the biggest culture shock of my life.

The difference in the lifestyles at the two places is immense. First shock was the
attendance. After four years in Pilani when you suddenly realize that this time your
grades also depend on your attendance, things begin to seem scary.

The difference does not end there. The workload is something we haven’t faced even in
our CDC year. The last month of the CDC semesters were always hectic with innumerable
assignments, but that is the norm of life at an IIM. Deadlines come at all odd hours and
here unfortunately they are absolutely non-negotiable. Professionalism is the buzz word
and they begin with punctuality. And no one dares break the rule here for there is no
second chance to rectify a mistake. Only the ‘learning’; so as not to repeat it again.

A huge difference is perhaps in the approach towards extra-curricular activities. IIM B

perhaps boasts of the greatest thrust in extra curricular activities amongst the Big Three
in the Indian Management Education. But the working here is starkly dissimilar to the
way departments and clubs function at Pilani. At Pilani, I have seen students miss their
classes in order to complete the work at the department. I would not say that I support it
but definitely no one can deny the effect of the element called ‘heart’ in the way things
function at Pilani. At the IIMs you see cool, efficient ‘managerial’ organizational skills.
The time management is the first major achievement that a BITSian can learn here.
Things get done and all glitches are smoothed out as efficiently as possible. But
somewhere, the magic of working night after night at SUB seems to be missing.

The way the courses are handled is a study in contrast by itself. The importance is on the
application of what we learn rather than what we can recollect from text books. The
tutorials conducted by senior students are used to take care of all the questions that one
might have regarding specific portions of the course. The effectiveness of the tutorials is
any day better than the ones held at graduate schools across the country. But one thing
becomes clear as the trimester draws to a close. The only reason that today we can say
that we’ll survive the grind of a B-school is because at BITS Pilani we have learnt how to
face any kind of adversity that might come our way.

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