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Expert Suggestions on Preparation for Computer Based CAT-09

Life @ XL

- by Suraj Chatrath *

My quest for entering a top B-school ended when I successfully cracked the XAT written exam, and subsequently, the XLRI interview. A lot of my friends had guided me about the kind of rigor the top B-schools have. Initially, I was quite apprehensive about how I would perform at XLRI academically, and otherwise, given the fact that I was back into the student life after a long gap of four years of work in the corporate culture. Working for around four years at the same place breeds a sense of security and tendency to avoid change. A sense of security developed in terms of constant source of income and social circle, which I had at workplace. It becomes really difficult to leave all the things and go to a new place altogether.

As I landed at the XLRI campus, I was full of hopes and aspirations about the future. I just kept thinking what kind of people I may encounter, whether I will find myself out of place owing to my four year of work experience - as per facts the average years of work experience people have in top B-schools in India is zero to two years - what affect will such a work experience have on my final campus placement, etc. Since there were few days left for the preparatory program to begin, days went past just roaming around Sakchi, Bishtupur in Jamshedpur and socializing with new people in adjacent rooms, as I felt the best way to adjust to any new place is to socialize and know about the place better.

The preparatory course started as scheduled and it was quite nice to find that the college was running on strict timelines. It was communicated on the first day itself that the timelines in any assignments, presentations will not be compromised. At that point of time, things sounded hollow like engineering where deadlines were invariably extended. But looking back, I realize today that how true the words were. Hardly any deadlines were modified during the span of first term.

One experience, which every 'Xler' carries with him for a lifetime, is that of the close-knit relationships with his batch mates and seniors, and I must say XL has its own unique way of injecting the XL DNA into the freshers.

The academic rigor started to take the toll by the end of first week into the actual program after the preparatory program. The term started with a bang with a whole lot of assignments, presentations and classes. Engineering seemed like a long vacation.

As it turned out later, the whole academic process at XLRI was designed not only to make a person acquainted with the concepts but also to sensitize about the rigors of the management life. Every now and then, I had to make a decision and prioritize the things I had to do. In fact in the middle of the course, I used to forget about the Sundays too. The major shift in the academic process was the relative grading which used to foster cutthroat competition between students during examination time.

Amongst other things I learned in XLRI how to manage time to get the maximum out of it. I had to really think on the feet on how to manage the situation. There were subjects where some people were proficient enough and others were just new to the subject. Everybody has his own strengths in one subject or the other. Subjects like Quantitative techniques, Accounts, etc., gave nightmares to most of the people. Seniors took lot of pains to make us understand the things better and acclimatize to the situation better by conducting gyan sessions on various subjects and gave knowledge about the summer projects and trainings. That was quite appreciable on their part.

A lot of stress in the course is on the group activities going along the lines of future managerial requirements. Hostel added the spice to the otherwise academically loaded lives. Sleep was the only missing thing in the hostels. Now who could forget those intellectually stimulating discussions at 3:00 AM! There were lots of parties, almost every fortnight, which introduced the person to the XL culture of 'Work hard, Party Harder'.

The best thing about XLRI is that it brings about people from diverse backgrounds together which is a great learning. The batches are equally representative in terms of gender also. Exams happen to be a daily activity at XLRI and it has changed the way I used to look at exam as a one-time activity to a process, which happens daily in the lives of the managers.

The first term has passed in a jiffy, but what it has inculcated is the spirit to put enthusiasm and effort in whatever one does. Yes, 'Magis', i.e., 'excellence in everything' is what XLRI and XLers stand for.

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