Not a PPO? Not a problem (what to do in the second year of your MBA)!

“Hey Siri, read my notifications” I was just easing in my apartment, as I commanded my newly enslaved voice assistant to serve me (and this sounds so creepy)!
“You have 7 new messages from a-girls-name-you-need-not-know” As Siri announced this, my heart skipped a bit. I threw my suit on the chair, left my tie half loosened and jumped for my phone. She has been my favorite junior in IIMB. I was eager to know, what she has in store for me, as she moved into her second year and I was getting used to the corporate life.

“Hey Bro, PPO nahi mila. Life is just wrecked up. Bolo 2nd year me kya karu?”

I did not read anything after ‘Bro’ for a while, as my heart broke into pieces. But after regaining my senses, I realized, that I’ve received similar messages from a few more PGP2s, highlighting their despair of not getting a PPO. And like a good old Hindi movie, my mind went into a flashback, as I recalled my despair. You think Long Island ice tea hits you the most? Then you haven’t faced the combination of anger, frustration, and despair, in equal proportions, with a tinge of anxiety, stirred vigorously in the glass of self-doubt. Voila, that was my exact feelings, as I walked out of the company I interned in about a year back.
I thought my career has taken a setback.
I thought the world was over.

I might be exaggerating a bit (just a bit? are you sure?), but these are kind of feelings that a few second-year MBA students are feeling right now (or might feel like the results of their PPO come out).
So, let me wear back that suit of experience thrown on the chair, adjust my specs (just for the effect) and tell you guys, what you can do (and I did) in the second year!

Didn’t get a PPO? Congratulations!!!
I had pinged my senior cum friend cum mentor, Ajinkya Domale, the moment I learned that I am not the chosen one (pun intended). And I still remember what he had said (more or less):
“Guess what, probably not getting a PPO was the best thing that could have happened with you. I’ve seen people with PPO chilling out, becoming lenient, lazying around, and thus not learning or doing anything in the second year. But you, be it because of the pressure or guilt, will focus on a lot of things, like studies, case competitions, and what not. So congratulations on not getting that PPO, cause it has opened a new door of opportunities and possibilities for you.”
And possibilities, my dear friend, are endless!

Are grades important?
Well, I have been asked this question quite a few times now (and I have had asked it 10 times more), so let me give my honest view here. If you are eyeing for that consulting or IB job, or if you are a fresher with monochromatic profile, then yes, gades will matter for you. But there is a catch!
These firms will have a minimum cutoff for the first level of shortlists, but the final shortlist and hotlists depend a lot on your profile. Also, if you are looking for a Prodman, operations or genman role, then your past experience is the key driver. So, it all depends on what you want. Also, if it’s a call between taking subjects you don’t like for good grades or opting for the subjects by risking your grades, always go for the latter.
Having said that, it’s not a bad thing to get good grades, so do study a bit πŸ˜‰

Clubs and committees
I’ve seen a lot of people leaving their clubs so that they can focus on studies and case competitions, while a few also join new clubs to add another dimension to their profiles. While it’s good to some POR’s in your resume, but a club is usually an icebreaker in the interviews and not a dealbreaker for the job. Join that club if you are really interested in the cause it serves and a lot of fun, otherwise, don’t yourself stretch too thin for those resume points. Trust me, wouldn’t matter much.

A word on case competitions
Oh, I still remember those sleepless nights and endless struggles. Corporate case competitions are a great way to earn some bucks and get that PPI/PPO before the final placements, so you should definitely try your hands at them. But remember, so does thousands of others will, and the probabilities will be hugely stacked against you.
Two points here. One: all competitions are not equal. Some will be easier and better suited for you than others. It’s difficult to crack LIME, but what if the competition is just before the exams and you know, a lot of people won’t participate in it? It’s a risk, and sometimes, worth taking.
Two: You learn what an MBA is truly all about through these case competitions (and live projects, of course), even more than all the subjects combined. Those time-crunched last-minute submissions will give you a flavor of what your life is going to be after the MBA.

Live the legacy
Remember the time in your first year, when you were worried about what to put in your resume? Or stressed out over the summer placements? Or heartbroken as your 10th crush said no to you for that date? Ok, maybe the last one happened just with me, but in all other situations, you remember, how one or the other second-year students soothed you and helped you survive the first year? Well, now is the time to fill in their shoes. PPO or not, grades or not, don’t hesitate to mentor those extra resumes, take those mock interviews and GDs, volunteer for summer placements and take them for late-night teas and share your experiences. It’s not just about taking the legacy forward, but also making some awesome friends πŸ™‚

Experiment a bit
PPO or not, if you have not figured out what career you want to choose after you step out of that college, maybe now is the right time. Talk to your seniors, do some live projects, write that story you always wanted to write, put colors on that canvas or just do that startup you’ve been talking about ages. Do anything, do something, but just never settle! (no promotions intended)
And by the way, it’s okay if you don’t figure it out in this year, don’t stress your life over it. The world is your playground, and you’ll eventually know which game you want to play.

And just a final thought
I might be sounding all wise right now, but let me be honest: I am guilty of all the sins I am asking you to avoid. Though I’ve learned my lessons the hard way, it indeed was a fun journey. And that journey isn’t going to come back, as it’s the of college days for the most of you. Grades won’t matter in a year, jobs can be switched shortly, but those late night canteen breaks, sudden hostel parties, endless chatters with your friends and sweet relations, well, they ain’t coming back for you. So, worry a little less, and live a little more.

Make memories now to cherish them for the eternity and beyond πŸ™‚

Published by Abhishek Kshirsagar

Just a misguided ghost, trying to find solace in the stories that the streets have to whisper!

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