The beginning of SIMS journey. My first day experience!
Converted! Well that does keep the morale high and with the great ROI thanks to the fee structure, SIMS seemed the safest bet not to forget the proximity to home.
So even prior the commencement of the course, we had a set of online tests on the basis of the E-primer (a CD) that contained the basics of economics, math, management and the different disciplines in MBA. A couple of books viz Snapshots from Hell and Good to Great were insightful in terms of what to expect in a B-school.
What different SIMS has is an Orientation which includes physical and mental training. This is what we were explicitly asked to be ready for and come prepared for a gruelling period (indefinitely, as it is only the Director who decides the duration). From Sports gear to saris we were to pack them all. At SIMS, post the allotment of rooms and bonding with roommates we were wondering what lay in store for us ahead. The Director’s speech was followed by the Council taking over the charge of our Orientation. Each division was assigned 2 members and they were in-charge of their division in entirety. The rules of the Orientation: girls completely in saris, with pinned and tied hair, close formal shoes and a folder that they gave us called second soul) was always to be with us, not to forget the I cards. Boys- well a zero cut, formal attire with a tie and shoes with laces. While the guys were cursing under their breath, girls were wondering how on Earth were we to drape a sari! None of us had worn it before All of us were to address each other as Ma’am/Sir. In addition if we had to address any of our seniors we had to follow the format “Full name, Division Roll no, Batch of 2013-15” and then pose a query. (yes, very NDA inspired) When in the auditorium then no moving, no smiling, no hands on the face…you get the picture. If found faulting on any of the rules then a penalty. What’s a penalty now? Well it’s an assignment. Hand-written on an A4 size paper, the number of sides of the assignment on an average 4=2 pages. With all this information in our head we than exited out of the auditorium (in a file, starting from the first row) & yes I forgot 1 of the main rules: No using he centre aisle in the auditorium, either the left or right (quite a task for the one sitting at the extreme end beside the centre aisle-to me this was completely illogical). Once out of the auditorium we headed for dinner and then off to our rooms, gearing up for the next morning.
We were divided into groups of 3 called trimates, roll number wise and we were to make sure each of our trimate was on time for the PT fall-in, if late then the entire trimate would get a penalty assignment. Those who had medical issues had an alternative to write an assignment rather than go for the morning jog. Well a jog for a couple of kilometres and then we had PT exercises and a jog back. In PT we had push ups (yes even girls), races and what not! We were then told our fall-in time as lectures would commence from 9:30 onwards. So fall in would usually be 9:10/ 9:00am. Post PT was the mega war against time. We had to bathe and drape a sari in addition to having breakfast and fall-in on time else a penalty assignment! 4 of us in a room and the mornings were chaotic. A pin here and there and just wrap the sari and run for breakfast not to forget the second soul and I card. Fall-in and then we were sent up to our respective classes. Lectures followed by guest lectures in the auditorium (all sleep-inducing) and then the all-important batch meet. Here’s where the seniors have a chance to give penalties and take our case completely. No smiling, no cell-phones, hair, late or not etc etc. We were now even divided into pentamates-in groups of 5 with each person having the same roll number across the divisions was a mate. All 1s together, 2s together and so on and so forth. Pentamates were to make ppts together, while trimates were to work on written assignments. Of course there were individual assignments as well and batch penalties and individual/tri/penta penalties. The most enjoyable part was definitely the morning outdoor activities, sports, dance, yoga etc. For some strange reason my division always ended up having more of PT and less of the rest (which was definitely compensated for at a later date) Post a batch meet time flew really fast and we’d just stuff dinner and meet in the Complab (thanks to the ridiculously slow wifi connection/for some no connectivity at all). Trimate assignment was usually what we’d finish first, then move onto individual. At submission time we’d be running for a stapler then scampering downstairs to put it in the respective division box outside the library. If even a minute late we’d be given a penalty (yes: members from the council were always there ready with a paper-pen/phone to note down roll numbers! The night didn’t end there, we then had a pentamate ppt to make. Since 1 of my penta hadn’t joined at all, the 4 of us had to work on it-all girls meant we could work even in the hostel post lights out (yaay). We’d usually meet in 1 of the rooms and then discuss and divide the work. The next day one of us was to mail in the ppt and again if the mail reached late-penalty! The evening we were asked to volunteer for the ppt and my penta was first to go. Well we didn’t get a penta off but yeah we were done with it and weren’t going to be called again. The most fun assignment of the penta was one in which we had to make a video to sell a toilet paper. That must’ve been the only night when the 4 of us laughed and enjoyed like mad nuts! Then of course there was a case study which involved us to think out of the box. The format of the case study and ppt ad to mandatorily have slide numbers and a table of contents and references (hyperlinked). We were shown how to embed excel sheets and word docs within a ppt and use prezi to improve the creativity of it. (In my head: who has the time we need to sleep) Sleeping for around 4-5 hours, some for just 3.5 hours for a stretch of 2 weeks we were now certain the orientation was nearing a close. From morning PT timings reaching a fall-in time of 5:15 to reduced amount of guest lectures things weren’t all that bad. I had begun to enjoy this system. Of course waking up in the morning was always a battle. So I had a very simple solution straight from day 1-sleep in my tracks, all I ‘d have to do was brush and race down for PT Yet 1 day all us roomies awoke late with just 2mins to go. No time to do anything, we just ran out with the I card in one hand and reached down for fall in. tying my laces downstairs when queued, I was relieved to see a couple of them reaching much later than us. Phew! Missed the penalty by a few seconds (happy me) there were many such instances all of us had to share. The 2-left feet dancers during the dance sessions were always a humorous sight for us, the squats and push-ups, the yoga sessions wherein a couple of them slept off and the games where we just bonded as a class. We even had debate sessions, a business exercise where we had to go find a job of our own for a day and come back with money. Taking lifts from strangers to ricks, reaching the destination and facing innumerable amount of rejections-finally a job and earning some money: all a wonderful experience, with returning on time and narrating our experience the next morning-we’ve all had something to learn from. The faculty too understood our perils of lacking in sleep and we asked them when it’d end, but we never got an answer. While one weekend we were mandatorily thrown out of the hostel to go out and have fun, another weekend we were trekking either at Karla or at Sinhgad. On our way back we were stuck in the bus for hours together, drenched and tired and for once we didn’t enter the mess in a sari 😉
Come 19th July and we were expecting this to come to an end-entry of the Director in the batchmeet and he displayed his anger against the sub-standard assignments and our incorrigible behaviour. He then declared the orientation to continue for an indefinite period. The council then blasted us for our behaviour and this just meant that the council had to stay on for a few more days and they’d not be able to go home post their internship and work on the orientation instead. We were clearly asked to not carry cell-phones yet people were caught with it in the auditorium, people still slept off during a batch-meet and there were still people late for fall-in. We then groaned and returned to tackle the ET quiz (I forgot to mention this, but every batch meet concluded with an ET quiz). The next day some still hoped it’d come to an end, as people still fainted due to fatigue, most were irritated and frustrated with the illogical reasons for a penalty. Then came the batch meet and we were given a trimate assignment and a pentamate. The 3 of us had already begun to discuss and split the work, while people stood up to exit the auditorium. Then the President of the council called them back and everyone in chorus announced the end of the Orientation for batch 2013-15. The euphoria in the air and the energy, the hugs and little jigs! People were jumping on the stage, walking on the central aisle, boys threw away their ties and girls left their hair loose. Pictures being clicked, the scene was epic! Then we were told we had only time till 11pm to go and enjoy. Everyone rushed out and quickly changed to party that night. The first stop at Smphony, then we went for dinner at FC road and lo and behold I lost my specs on the way. Well that’s what happens when 6 people are crammed in one rick! Scanning the road, yet I couldn’t find it, we then settled to have a quick dinner and soon after left for college again. Some were really high post the partying and even the seniors were now no more in the Sir, Ma’am mode. Just friends and positive camaraderie filled the air. We slept in peace that night, but hey the next day was college as usual, of course no fall in and no PT but I still went for a jog just for the heck of it.
Post the orientation some of us were taken for an outbound learning experience wherein we had team sports and games, ice breaking sessions, presentations and a trek. While this was only for 140 odd student managers, the rest were involved with NGOs and spent the day at blind schools, orphanages or old age homes.
Its been almost a month since the orientation got done and believe you me it’s one hell of an experience- I can say with utmost guarantee that no other college has such an extensive, rigorous orientation entirely designed by the students for the students and with such a great purpose: definitely making a difference. As rightly quoted by a senior, “you earn the right to become a SIMSite” and completing the Orientation successfully is the key to it.