It is 9.00 am on a Monday morning and all my villa mates are scurrying to have their breakfast and rushing to catch the bus which leaves sharp at 9.25 am. No one wants to miss the bus. Otherwise, a distance of 20 kms from the Banyan Tree ( BT – a resort facilitated by Schulich) to the campus next to Hyderabad airport could get expensive and moreover, you would be late for the class. The Professors are always, always on time, so you better be on time as well.
The bus ride to the School has never been boring. There would always be pre-reads, going over presentations, last minute revisions of concepts for exams, talking about internships and networking, clarifying concepts with fellow students and of course talking about the latest news.
9.50 am: We reach the school, always welcomed with a smile from the security and the administration staff. These guys are so good at their job. They are always striving to make your study life as comfortable as possible.
10.00 am: Class begins. The next 3 hours are the time when you would like to download the Professor’s knowledge and experience it in your laptop or grey matter. All the Professors I have been taught by, come with years of industry experience which they share generously. The Professors fly down to Hyderabad from Canada, and it’s all upto you how much you want to leverage their availability.
The best part of this India MBA program is the small cohort size (35). The Professors get to know the students better as they have a closer and more intimate interaction with the students. It works the other way as well – The faculty is better accessible than they would be on the main campus. Especially, the office hours – you would be competing with a very small pool to get your slot.
The interaction with the Professors goes beyond the course itself. On a weekend, two of our Professors came to the Banyan Tree for a game of cricket. We had an evening party with our Marketing and operations faculty. Effectively, you end up creating a stronger relationship with the Professors. They share their experiences not only on the subject matter at hand, but also on career advancement and networking – on a one on one basis.
Another aspect which I experienced after coming to the MBA in India program is the design of the curriculum itself. At any point of time you are probably focussing only on one subject. At times, it could be juggling between two subjects. The point is, you get to understand the subjects in depth. This, plus the accessibility to the concerned Professor creates an effective learning environment.
6.00 PM: The class is back to BT for the second session, as I would like to call it. More often than not, the students would head back to BT post-lunch. But, as they say for an MBA life – ‘it depends’. Many students prefer staying back and working on group projects in the break-out rooms.
Since almost everyone stays at BT, the synergy and cohesion created is tremendous. This supplements the traditional learning one gets in the class room. Without a doubt, the program is taxing and involves extensive team work. Also, this concept of living and learning together helps collaborate on the deliverables and debating / challenging each other on the subject being taught.
To be honest, I joined the India MBA program with a lot of skepticism, worrying about losing out on networking opportunities and events on the main campus, access to the Career Development Center (CDC) and getting the hang of the whole immigration process to Canada.
But the program and the school more than compensates for this shortcoming. The international relations staff at Schulich flew down and had a one-on-one chat clarifying any immigration concerns. The CDC conducts virtual sessions (thanks to technology) so very often. The industry advisors help with resume writing over a skype call. Most networking, whether you are in India or in Canada, happens over LinkedIn. In fact, networking is just not sending a LinkedIn invite. It’s about building relationships and such relationships take time to forge. Most of us start from India itself.
I personally have connected with atleast 20 alumni in Canada, who are now my friends and mentors. The only area where I feel like I am missing out on are the networking events conducted by companies such as KPMG and Deloitte. But, I intend overcome this by landing in Toronto in summer (the recruitment season starts in the fall) and meet my connections face-to-face.