Sunday, May 2, 2010

IIM- Ahmedabad, an Experience worth Sharing!!

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It was one of the most prestigious moments of my life when I walked into the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad campus. There was a sense of accomplishment and happiness.
There wasn’t any gap in my calendar, not even a Sunday, since I started preparing for CAT and other exams. First there were the written tests and then interviews and to add to all this, my college exams. Once here, the entire fatigue almost disappeared. However, there was this strange feeling of not knowing what would be coming up in next few days in a strange place full of strangers!
I had joined as a doctoral student but no one seemed to believe it after meeting me. I was the youngest in the lot and therefore had many people to take care of me.  I thank God for that!!!  This is how my life as an FPM started at IIM A.
Fellow Program in Management (FPM) is a doctoral program offered by all IIMs. The FPM program prepares students to pursue a career, which requires high scholastic aptitude and academic research. Therefore, it looks for highly motivated students interested in academics and having an inclination towards research. It is a four and half year long rigorous course which requires lots of patience and focus. At IIMA, It is offered in 10 different areas of specialization.
The institute considers different scores, for different areas of specialization, which include GATE, UGC-JRF and CAT etc. Candidates are shortlisted on the basis of the scores and have to appear for an interview which basically gauges the academic preparation and the motivation levels for research. The interview process is once in a lifetime experience. It is not a stress interview but an opportunity to interact with some of the best minds in the field of management. The interview was fun and I actually mean it.  I recommend everybody undergoes it once just for the experience of it.
 I am a life science student and had no background of management when I appeared for the interview. However, I had revised thoroughly everything that I had studied in my post graduation. The panel asked me questions based on what I had studied and then listened patiently to my answers. The panel was more than happy to hear me out and even guide me if required. And thus with a faculty dinner starts a long and arduous journey called FPM.
 There were questions on current affairs related to agriculture – the area I had applied for, a few general questions testing my knowledge of management and statistics; and some HR questions testing soft skills. And at the end of 45 minutes, I wanted to sit there and continue to chat but they said that they were done. J
The course is designed with several different phases. The first year courses are the same as the PGPs and provide a general overview of management. Second year focuses on the area of specialization with doctoral level courses in the respective areas. This is the time when a student gets to know more about his/ her area and has the opportunity to dig deep into the areas of interest along with development of research skills. The next two years are basically the doctoral dissertation where an individual makes the contribution to the chosen area of specialization. All through these years, an FPM student needs to have patience and the passion to work on his/her area of interest. This is how a long and trying journey of an FPM concludes but the learning continues.
The 4.5 years of FPM will help you grow intellectually, personally and professionally. All you need is to be serious and perseverant and above all, have faith in yourself.
 Varsha Khandkar
IIM- Ahmedabad
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