Disclaimer: This post is a mixture of truth, exaggeration and utter lies, but in order to preserve the safety of my provisional summer internship offer I am not going to reveal which parts are true, which are exaggerated and which ones are utter lies. So I am giving a disclaimer within a disclaimer: I am not responsible for this disclaimer nor the disclaimer outside this disclaimer and whatever I post cannot be taken at face value.
I was under the impression that business school involved this high-funda lifestyle where people got together for group projects as if they were convening an annual general body meeting, cracked challenging problems like they were born business magnates, germinated path-breaking entrepreneurial ideas and, most importantly, had absolutely no restrictions to venture into girls’ rooms. Three months into B-school, only one of the above myths turned out to be true (you might hazard a guess as to which one, but I am not revealing it). We still mugged, we still procrastinated everything to the last moment, we still felt happy when people around us did badly in a particular quiz or exam and we still tried our best to catch the cute girl’s attention (at least most boys, and maybe, a few girls).
Ultimately, most of us had one goal for getting into a B-school – placements (most of us won’t accept this openly). The summer recruitment, which used to be a two-month exposure for enthusiastic management students, has transformed into a genuine opportunity at high-paying PPO giving jobs. So the tension of summers was in the air at least a month before the actual process started at my school. I tried to go with the group and force some tension into myself, but my efforts were in vain. I had found a cosy little group which had troubles similar to mine and we ended up preparing together for the summers. Now, imagine three to four people, all pretty thick-skinned to worry too much about summers, PPOs and ‘day zero’ shortlists sitting together every night to prepare for the same. Naturally, we ended up discussing one-sided crushes, Sridevi’s hottest songs, which different place to order food from, how our future wives should be and other such topics. Suddenly Day zero of placements arrived. Obviously, we didn't have any shortlists, but were expected to be present in something called the ‘common pool’ so that we would feel ‘part’ of the process. I decided to add a little creativity to being part of the process by wearing a bright pink shirt and an even brighter red tie for this common pool assembly on ‘day zee’, as the ones who got the coveted calls referred to it. Day zee was a breeze for me as I just sat around for most of it, only getting up to congratulate the people who cracked their shortlists. I had a heavy lunch and decided to take a short nap, commonly referred to as ‘SNAP’ by us lazy non-day zee people. I reached my room, divested myself off the layered apparels I was forced to wear and slept like a baby. I was woken by someone urgently asking me to come back to the common pool as some venture capital firm had shortlisted me for an interview. I cursed the firm and its owner using some choicest native abuses as I struggled with my double knot. As I sat waiting in the common pool, I was handed a copy which briefly described what this firm did. There was no reason for this firm to shortlist me based on my resume or profile, so I was still hoping for some placement rep. to come over to me and apologize saying that there has been some mistake and I was not in the shortlist after all. The placement rep. did come, but only to escort me to my interview room. After an embarrassing forty-five minutes with the founder of this focused Venture firm, I decided to never apply to companies just for the heck of it; otherwise such shocks are bound to occur.
Day zee was followed by the group discussion day, where all the marketing and general management companies’ shortlisted people for group discussions and these people got together and did everything but physically and verbally abuse each other. I got the first shortlist that was out and felt pretty pumped up. It was scheduled at 6:30 am, so I was expecting a day packed with group discussions after that.
That was the only shortlist I got; of course I didn’t convert it.
So we trotted on to day zero-point-five (don’t even ask me to explain the logic behind this bizarre numbering). With no shortlists in the vicinity and people around me getting placed left right and centre, a group of us started to see the funny side of things. We realised that we were the ‘paneer’ gang – the group which stood at marriage hall entrances and sprinkled rose water (paneer) on the guests. The only difference was that we were standing in the common pool and showering wishes on the people who got placed. We formed a circle, discussed random topics, waited for the caterers to appear with the morning tiffin, intermediary fruit plates, tea/coffee, afternoon lunch, evening snacks and night dinner. Overall, it was a perfect marriage-hall experience. I got a group discussion shortlist in between my ‘paneer’ commitments. This time, I buttered up the panel by thanking them for giving us this chance to discuss. Apart from that whatever I spoke had tremendous likeness to whatever I excreted in the morning. As you would have guessed by now, I cleared the Group discussion round and got an interview shortlist. The interview went better than I expected and when the HR lady asked if I viewed their firm as a long-term, say twenty year, career option I was pretty certain that they would be extending an offer to me. I came out of the interview room, phone ready in my hand and my home residence number already scrolled and my thumb on the call button. The placement rep. came and informed me that I can go and wait in the common pool for other interviews as the firm was not considering me for further rounds or offer. I switched off my mobile and went back to the common pool. I resumed my paneer commitments for an hour or so before another PR came to me, stating that a major media firm is calling me for an interview. I trudged along once again, my mind almost blank and my eyes droopy. I remember being asked about brand perception and brand image during the interview and if you ask me even now, I would not be in a position to answer these questions. I do not remember how I answered them during the interview, but the company extended an offer to me.
I entered the common pool with a smile plastered on my face. The ‘paneer’ gang continued its work albeit a touch emotionally, as it had lost one of its members.
The ‘sprinkler’ had become the ‘sprinklee’