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9 types of people you will meet at the IIM

Last updated on: April 6, 2012 10:20 IST

Photographs: Rediff Archives Sandeep Dev

From the free rider who does things at his own place to the Kotler derivative who lives by the rules, meet the specimens you can bump into at IIM-Ahmedabad

A study group is perhaps the second most important thing you need to get right at IIM-A (the first being your balance sheet in the Financial Reporting and Analysis exam).

While the PGP Office forms your study group for the first trimester, for the next two trimester you have to form your own group, which is in itself a highly contentious process that often generates heart burn.

Your choice of group directly affects your grades in group assignments and there are plenty of them and would also indirectly affect your grades in individual assignments if you happen to have a group full of free riders who leave everything on you.

So yes, your peace of mind depends on your group. So, what are the typical group mates?

The author is currently pursuing his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from IIM Ahmedabad. He is a graduate in computer science from NIT Surat.

1. The Free Rider

Photographs: Rediff Archives

By far the most obvious. This guy would rarely ever attend a group meeting or reply to group mails or do anything that might be generally useful to the group.

In the initial days, he would do a shoddy job of all group work assigned to him/her (let's not be gender biased now) and soon the other members would realise that the chances of getting good work done by him are far less likely than that of Rakhi Sawant quoting George Bernard Shaw.

While this guy/gal does have the obvious benefit of a far relaxed work load (hey no group work) and you would often find him(or her) going to sleep at 11 pm when you are about to leave for the library to begin working on your group submission for the next day, and therefore would usually have enough time for study and/or booze, don't expect stellar grades.

The group work at IIMA is meant to teach you a lot of those concepts that are talked about in class and if you haven't done those, you won't really ace the exam.

Sure, you would do well, but don't expect miracles. Besides, networking is a major part of your stay at IIM-A and a reputation of a free rider is not the first thing you want your batch mates to remember when you meet them 10 years down the line for some business.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier

2. The One Man Army

This one is pretty much the exact opposite of the free rider guy.

This person treats group meets with utter disdain and is as eager to join a group meet as he/she is eager to get a root canal done.

Not that s/he is a slacker; given a portion of a task (or the whole task) and a deadline, they would happily complete the work and submit it by the deadline, usually not bothering to include any of the suggestions made by the other members.

S/he a typical introvert and does not realise that the life of a manager requires getting work done from others. This person is typically a member of the male species.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

3. The Copy Paste guy

This guy/gal can get your entire group expelled.

While most of us do 'online research' to get material for our reports and presentation, this particular person has either not fully figured out the capability of the pain-in-the-ass software that is TurnItIn or does not understand the AMA guidelines for referencing.

S/he would lift up sections or even pages/slides verbatim from assignments of previous students, Wikipedia, consulting reports and presentation, presentations on SlideShare or newspapers articles, often forgetting to even change the tense or removing [1] and [2] markers from the text.

S/he is usually a moderate version of the free rider but can potentially cause much graver damage.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

4. The Perfectionist

S/he is the serious guy, way too concerned about deadlines and usually insists on starting very very early.

For some inexplicable reason, this person thinks that it would take a month or more for a team of 6, IIM-A students at that, to write a 40 page report.

They also insist of keeping the last 2 days for 'revising' and perfecting the delivery of the presentation and usually insists on weekly or even bi-weekly meetings and would ask you the progress of your part of the work if s/he happens to run into you at CT or Rambhai.

While this person is him/herself very sincere is his/her work, not all (and in fact very few) are that concerned and most IIM-A students, coming from a engineering background, love to work at the 11th hour.

This particular species is usually foreign and here on an exchange program and has trouble in adjusting with the 'Indian way of doing things' (think Common Wealth Games ;-) ).

But as the saying goes "When in Rome, do as the Romans do".

Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh

5. The Idea Guy

This person would browbeat everyone into agreeing to their ideas for a project, they would go out of their way to prevail and force the group to select their choice of industry sector, company, market segment or product for an assignment and the group would inevitably agree hoping The Idea Guy would lend his/her expertise on the assignment.

But when the time comes for the actual work, this guy is nowhere to be seen and would turn up at the last moment and find flaws in the assignment.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

6. The Busy Guy

This guy is usually a part of multiple clubs or Placecom or Club co-ordinator or even the GS and would be forever busy, usually with good reason, and unable to attend group meets.

Being a responsible person that this guy is, he/she will offer to attend group meets or work with members of the group but only at a time that suits their busy schedule -- usually ungodly hours in the night or, horror of horrors, a Sunday.

This guy may also wake you up at 5 am in the morning, which is when he/she found time out of their busy schedule, to clarify something about the group assignment that was assigned to them.

Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh

7. The Project Manager

By far, the most useful guy and also usually acts as the de facto group leader, this guy would keep track of deadlines a month or two in advance usually in an Excel sheet, divide the work among the members usually with something akin to a Work Breakdown Structure, and remind you days in advance about your task.

S/he is the anchor of the group and is responsible for getting everyone to sit in a room together and finish the work, come what may.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

8. The FRA guy

Usually a Commerce grad or a guy who has completed one or more levels of CFA, this guy is the most sought after person in the first trimester at IIM-A where people get tortured and traumatized by the beast that is Financial Reporting and Analysis.

He is loved by the girls and therefore hated by the guys and would be only person in class not hiding his work book from the FRA prof.

Love 'em or hate 'em you can't ignore them because this is the guy whose balance sheet actually ever balances.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier

9. The Kotler

This person has inexplicably mastered the wild beast that is Marketing. and has figured the answer to the age old question "Who are you?".

Somehow, this guy/gal knows the difference between segmentation and categorisation, mission and vision, and can wade through the 4P's (or is it 6P's now?) and 5C's and apply arcane frameworks with the ease at which Shahnaz Husain applies kohl and understands the meaning of TAM, SAM, SOM, making all numbers oriented engineers wonder "Us main aisa kya hain?" (What's so special about him?)

S/he usually is the point (wo)man for all marketing decision sheets and presentations and would often take the suicidal step of raising his/her hand in the marketing class.

Well, these are the ones I could think of from my own experience.

I was lucky to have a very good study group in the first year and worked with some really smart, intelligent, helpful and awesome people (not many people can proudly say that about their study group members.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh