Aug 10, 2009

Experience at IIT Kanpur

The past few months have been eventful – oh yes they have and how! The techie in me was finally willing to die owing to my growing interests in the ever-challenging arena of business management. Change was round the corner – I had decided to pursue an MBA.

Destiny, for a change, did its bit, and I found myself with an offer letter from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. The IITs have always fascinated me – the brand spells quality and success. I had my thinking to do though. After four years of quality experience in a challenging industry, was I settling for something below par? After all, weren’t the IITs schools for technology? [The first thing that comes to your mind when one says IIT Kanpur is aeronautics].

It isn’t surprising how misleading perceptions can be.

As I debated with myself, I laid down the facts before me. The IIT Kanpur boasts of an unimaginable infrastructure, quality faculty, a well designed MBA course, established (over-established really) industry interface and recognition, a buoyant student and alumni community and an amazing culture. These really are the very factors that form the framework for a great MBA program.

I convinced the skeptic in me to take the plunge.

For those who believe in the adage “Perception is reality” – I have just two words of advice – ‘Wake up!’ For over the course of my stay at this Institution, I am, simply put, blown away!

The infrastructure is one-of-a-kind. The institution’s academic establishment is exemplary. Great accommodation and 24*7 availability of basic amenities are a given. What makes for luxury are the add-ons: basketball, badminton and tennis courts, cricket and football fields, swimming pool and its shopping centre. To me it reflects the administration’s serious efforts towards ensuring a student’s comfortable stay as well as an all-round development – the latter specifically being a rarity in the Indian education system. The faculty is way above impressive – with its roots in some of the best management institutions within and outside the country. With tremendous industrial experience and network the academia is definitely at par with the best in the country.

The MBA course is a well-defined mix of practical and class-room learning. The pedagogy is essentially the same as that which is practiced in institutions world over – experiential learning, case studies, research, summers … you name it. But what really sets the program above the competition is its practical approach to academics which can be summed up in our faculty’s beliefs – “our program does not put up a pretense of a high-pressure curriculum”. It really is a struggle to not find time for yourself in the day. This is in keeping with the institute’s belief of ensuring a student’s all-round development. And yet there is no compromise in academic deliverables of the program.

IIT Kanpur being an academic hub has another unfair advantage over the rest – it is has a buoyant industry interface. Illustrious speakers and academicians, presentations, seminars – these are commonplace here. These are certain essentials that are always beneficial for the growth of a student outside of the normal academic curriculum. It also helps build an essential network across industries. This of course is the add-on advantage that program boasts of, over and above the regular run-of-the-mill ‘placement’ banter.

The student community is the real ace up IIT Kanpur’s sleeve. If you think this is an exaggeration, picture this: insofar as I have seen, an MBA program boasts of a few hundred students managing various communities and initiatives in close cohesion with academic faculty or administrative members. Here is where IIT Kanpur makes an aberration – a small batch of around fifty students manages the entire show with no intervention from faculty or administration– placements, public relations. This to me implies greater responsibility per head and greater risks. And yet the deliverables are astounding. To me this is a reflective of the potential my peers and seniors possess. The average work experience of the batch is above thirty months in industries of various engineering disciplines thereby bringing in a diverse thought process and perspective. The fact that the institution has various academic programs from BTech to MSC to PHD and MBA isn’t the disadvantage that many traditionalists make it out to be. In fact, it has given me the opportunity to interact with some of the finest brains in the country. Networking is considered to be one of the most important aspects of an MBA – well, here too this institute goes one-up on my ratings.

This fifty year old institution is a constantly evolving phenomenon. Its legacy, stature and prominence in the industrial, managerial and academic spheres is what makes this institution and its programs at par with the best the country has to offer.

All in all the experience has been extremely gratifying, to say the least.

The skeptic in me rests in peace.


Tejas Patel

Class of 2011

MBA, IIT Kanpur

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