Sharpening the Saw: What you should be doing before reaching your B-School campus?

Once an admission offer from a B-School lands in your lap, your friends and family are as excited as you are and you end up having to throw a party for all well wishers and then-on wait for the D-day to board your train or flight to reach the campus. Yes, you do go out shopping for essentials for the next two years at the hostel.

One question that should spring into your head is that – “Can I do a few things from now till the date of my journey that can have a positive impact at least on my first term, if not the next two years!!” Is this an important question to address? Yes, indeed.

I am very keen that you gain maximum from your two years at B-School. Having met over thirty five thousand aspirants in the last one year during my ‘Bharat Bhraman’, having been part of the panels for selection for B-Schools, and having been a facilitator to a couple of lakh B-School aspirants over the last two decades, and also as an alumnus of an IIM myself, I have few things to ask you to work upon –

Working on your Communication Skills and General Awareness
It is very important that you work on your ability to think, organize and articulate your thoughts. Whether you are already good at it or you feel challenged, you need to work on it. It needs a constant endeavour from each one of us every day. Kindly read a good newspaper – The Hindu / Indian Express every day, especially the features and editorial pages.

Listen to 9pm news on DD and Day’s round up on one of the business channels every evening. You can also catch up latest business news from one of the business dailies. Study the graphs and data to understand the situation depicted.

Make sure you write an article every day – create a blog to express yourself (you can check my website for any ideas). Alternatively, take a topic and speak in front of the mirror while recording it using a Dictaphone or a tape recorder. Play it to listen and introspect – where you got stuck and why? How can you overcome the shortcomings? Take action to be better.

Interaction with eminent leaders

Working on some basics
Three subjects that would form the core for any business education and thereby your performance during the MBA programme are – quanititative ability (statistics), economics and accounting; I strongly urge you to pick a basic book on these to familiarize yourself even before you reach your campus for the pre-term / first term. The best place to start is CBSE Class XI and XII books.

An Introspective Write-up: What I want to be?

There is something even more important. You should be able to first figure out what you really want to do in life. I suggest you spend some time to introspect about this question ‘What I would be remembered for when I leave this world?’

A few questions to help you start off –
1. What do you really enjoy doing? Which industry or company will benefit maximum from your passion.
2. Once you short list the company / industry, start reading about them through various available data and feature sources
3. Are there any personalities you admire and why? Is there and values they espouse or abilities that they have that you want to inculcate? Work on them consciously.

Once you are able to write this note for yourself, I am sure you will get to know what you need to do from now on to achieve your ultimate goals, and how you would like to make maximum of your next two years at the B-School of your choice. Put all these in a note for yourself. I hope this will be a great exercise for your journey.

understanding how butterflies impact success of economies!

Involving in a few Out-of-the Box activities

You can associate with an organization or movement that espouses a cause very close to your heart for a few weeks and contribute there. This will help you understand a whole lot about yourself, working of an organization and also can give ideas about what all you could do during your two years of B-School and after..
A few movements that I am involved actively are – NIF and its Shodhyatras (; SPICMACAY’s ( promotion of culture and art forms among youth etc, engaging in improving learning environments in schools through mentor training ( I am sure you too can identify a cause and contribute during your free time to gain something that can be significant for your journey of life.

25th Shodhyatra (May 14-21st)

I strongly recommend each one of you to try and participate in the coming Shodhyatra, especially those who are very close to Chattisgarh (MP, Bihar, UP, Orissa, Andhra) as this time the yatra is happening in Narayanpur. I will be there along with a few of our past IWSB students too. To know more about it read ahead.

Shodh Yatra is a journey for the search of knowledge, creativity and innovations at grassroots. Shodh Yatra is an attempt on the part of SRISTI/NIF to reach out to the remotest part of the country with a firm belief that hardship and challenges of natural surroundings are the prime motivators of creativity and innovations. Shodh Yatra aims at unearthing such traditional knowledge and grassroots innovations that have not only simplified the lives of men, women and farm labourers but have also significantly contributed towards the conservation of bio-diversity. Shodh Yatra is a journey of mutual exchange and sharing of knowledge. Whatever knowledge and practices that we have pooled in, over the years are shared with the villagers during the Shodh Yatra. We also share the Honey Bee database with the villagers. Shodh Yatra is also a journey to spread green consciousness and we do it by involving women and children to display their ecological knowledge through various competitions.

As an institution, IWSB encourages students to be part of Shodhyatra anchored by one of the foremost thinkers of the country Prof. Anil Gupta (professor at IIM Ahmedabad and also anchor of National Innovation Foundation). You can know more about the movement from my website – Check the NIF related link here

For details of the May 14-21st shodhyatra kindly check the link. check for the shodhyatra details

This shodhyatra is just a strong suggestion and not a compulsory agenda..

Before winding up, I would like to just say that – Kindly be hungry for learning, devour magazines, journals and books; do not hesitate to interact with professors beyond your class requirements, plunge into all activities that are happening around you, take additional responsibilities on the campus that can build your personality.
I am sure you would have got enough ideas to build upon what I have stated here that can be invaluable for your journey ahead.

Wishing you the very best. Enjoy your B-school life.



  1. Mr. sreenivasan,

    Firstly thank you as the article was eye opener as i could’nt think of how to utilise my time till the course starts.

    Mangesh Dumbre


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