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B-schools: Providing matrimonial services alongside MBAs!
Susan Mathen
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October 23, 2007

Youngsters from various academic fields today go all out to prepare for CAT, XAT, MAT, NMAT, SNAP and other such competitive examinations. Little do we know that these students have more than just a steady career in mind when they try to bell the cat, survive the group discussions and clear the interviews.

A growing unstated trend among the management students, they look for more than just the obvious from their business school courses. While they certainly look forward to: 
~ A kickstart to their careers with some reputed and respected brand names
~ Mind-blowing starting salaries
~ Two years of networking and building contacts
~ Enjoying the respect of friends and family for academic accomplishments

~ Journeying to exotic destinations during their b-school tenure
If they are lucky enough, they also expect the bonus of:
~ Meeting
 their life partners amongst their fellow students.

B-school romances are becoming an exceedingly common state of affairs of late. It is evident that young people tend to look for emotional support during a stressful course tenure, which consists of physically and mentally draining rigour, sleepless nights and the urge to prove one's worth in the midst of all the internal politics, bunking, proxies, projects, PPTs and other such turmoil.

Two people ending up in the same work group is the beginning of such a journey. They start sitting up nights together, taking coffee breaks together, covering up for each other's mess ups and in the process get to know everything about each other -- that's the typical b-school romance.

Gaurav Agarwal, 26, an IIM graduate, who now works with one of the best banks in the country says, "In addition to the two year trial period, you are assured of above average intelligence, and a double income future." This statement reinforces the thought that goes through the minds of most students these days. While a relationship is not the sole aim of CAT aspirants, becoming involved with a fellow student is a growing trend today and is an added bonus for most of these youngsters.

The bulk of an MBA class consists of professionals with about three or four years work experience who are ready to settle down once the course has concluded. For such individuals especially, this new matrimony market in the form of b-schools is a sure hit.

Parents are also happy, shedding their inhibitions most of the time as they are aware that on their own, they may not have been able to arrange such a good match for their child. Vijay Nair*, the 26-year-old marketing manager of a Bangalore-based retail brand and N Nethra*, a 23-year-old equity researcher also from Bangalore, completed their MBA from Symbiosis and are just about to tie the knot. They feel that the two years they spent on campus in Pune helped them to establish a friendship before they moved on to the next level. They said convincing their parents was indeed an issue, with the difference in language et al, but that their folks finally agreed because they felt that the sound educational background was indeed a plus point.

Yamini Sharma*, 24, assistant product manager at a Mumbai-based FMCG company, got noticed by a senior student, Abhijit Nandi*, 26, project manager at a Mumbai-based analytics firm, during the first week of her ragging in a reputed b-school in Gujarat. He gave her more and more tasks to complete as part of her initiation, and thus got to know her bit by bit. He persuaded his friends, who were organising the freshers' party, to ensure that he got to escort her as her date. A three-year romance ensued, which ended up with them tying the knot just two months ago; they are now back at their hectic jobs. 

However, there are also relationships that suffer as a result of on-campus attraction. B-schools are notorious for this particular feature -- long standing relationships are suddenly forgotten, broken off, or deteriorate as new love blossoms on campus. Deepti Khanna* from Mumbai had a London-based boyfriend who sent her flowers and expensive gifts while she was on campus and they were to get married as soon as she finished her course. This, however, was not to be. A fellow student called Karthik Swaminathan* entered the picture as a member of her workgroup and of similar college committees and it was Karthik who was by Deepti's side at a tough time, when her brother passed away. Karthik (28, today an investment banker in Mumbai) and Deepti (29, now a project head in a reputed consulting company) are married and they laugh off their pasts -- both are very happy with the way things worked out.

Any person who has had the shortest stint at a b-school is aware that there are several couples on campus and the chances of these relationships ending in marriage are very high. Students also use slang phrases when addressing such a relationship, because it is a very common occurence -- some call it 'getting placed', or 'getting extra credit' and a few go so far as to say 'lock kar diya'!

So you see, this new aspect of b-schools is something that is fast emerging as the niche version of, catering to a very select target group -- and it sure is a roaring success!

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