I should have posted this days ago...but have just been a lazy bum!!
Better late than never though..
I reached Pune, along with my parents, on 23rd night by train, which by the way I had caught just in the nick of time. The guest house we realized, to our dismay, was a good 11 kilometers away from the institute, where I had to report at 9 am each morning.
The Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, where I had been called for a second round of interviews, was conducting it Fest-o-Comm and Admission procedure for the batch of 2010 simultaneously.
The campus was full to bursting with applicants of 3 specializations and their guardians, easily around a 1000-1200 people. My darling parents escorted me and waited till I was registered and asked to move to another part of the campus to collect my schedule for the next four days.
After the initial confusion, we were directed to the institute building where I met hordes of people, basically my contenders. I say contenders because I found out that we were around 350 applicants vying for just 36 seats!
And what should the first thing I see on my schedule be?? My Panel Interview was going to be conducted in exactly 37 minutes!! Despite my immediate panic I did laugh mentally at the ridiculously "accurate" timings(military style) on the sheet viz.
INTERVIEW 1019 hrs 24th January 2008
Well thankfully I just about managed to gather my wits and my interview went off just fine. After a series of questions about why I wanted to do advertising and what exactly I wanted to specialize in, a couple of questions more and they wrapped it up. It lasted exactly 5 minutes, the shortest interview I've ever given in my life.
I also had a group discussion scheduled much later in the day. I decided to make use of the hours available till evening to socialize and make some new friends. I met some wonderfully brilliant people in the course of the day, some of whom I'm still in touch with. You'd be amazed at the spectrum of people who might apply for an MBA in advertising! A 21 year old Latin American dance instructor, a bassist from Goa who works in the radio, a B.Com honours squash captain from Delhi etc. Every person was infinitely more interesting than the other!
Still left with spare time, I participated in a Salsa workshop and took part in an advertising contest for which I won a cap. I finally wrapped up the day with a satisfactory Group Discussion, to head home tired and sleepy.
The next day dawned bright and early. Completely unused to the temperatures in Pune, I was chilled to the bone in the rickshaw ride to Symbiosis. I was glad for the fact that I'd made friends the previous day as it made 25th infinitely more pleasant and relaxing. It was the Journalism day of, Fest-o-Comm. I attended the seminars which were on subjects like- Brains, Beauty and Broadcast, Is the media removed from the majority addressed by speakers like, Sivanti Nayanan, Vidyashankar Iyer etc. The person seated next to me by strange coincidence was my friend's girlfriend, whom by the way I had never met before. I still dont know how we figured it out, but thanks to her my day was made. After the seminars I had the most tasty Alu parantha I have ever set my teeth into, at Kakke Di Hatti, in the canteen of SIMC. The only thing I had on my agenda for the day was the verification of my documents which I managed to get done earlier than scheduled. Well, after all the day had to have its down side right, I broke my bag and my shoe. But fortunately for me my Pune based friend, who was visiting me on campus, lent me hers. As for my shoe I walked barefoot for a while but was the proud owner of a smart , brand new sandal from Woodlands by the end of the day.
26th January began in the usual way, with flag hoisting in the premises of the guest house where I had put up The third day on campus was the Advertising day of the festival. I was really looking forward to listening to the seminars. So I was there at 9.30 am despite having only a peer interface at 2032 hrs. The six hours from 10 am to 4 pm were extremely informative and inspiring all at the same time. We had eminent speakers such as Ad guru Alyque Padamsee, the brains behind the "toing"(Amul Macho), Mr. Pushpinder Singh and a few others address us on topics ranging from Conceptualizing and Media Planning to the simple generation of an idea. Madhuri, the friend whose bag I was still using, came to spend the evening with the malai kulfi available at one of the stalls, and as a by product catch up with me. We caught the beginning of the rock band competition-Distortions. I then headed for my Peer Interface, where as a test, they made me sell an ugly cat to a finicky feline lover.
That evening I met a childhood friend of mine, Gayatri. By the end of our tete-a-tete I marveled at the ease with which we slipped back to being friends at a level so uncomplicated, its a rare thing in today's world.
27th dawned, a chilly Sunday, supposedly the last day of the admission process. My parents left early to return to Mumbai. I lunched with Gayatri and her family and went ahead to Viman Nagar (location of the SIMC campus). The submission of my Assignment, which each short-listed candidate had to complete, was scheduled at 1329 hrs. I was happy that I would finish early and be able to hang out with my friends for the remainder of the day, but things just spiraled out of control from there on. The Director of the institute, dubbed Spacely Sprockets by some(no prizes for guessing why!), was assessing each applicant's assignment personally and individually. On reaching the specified location I was told that there spill over of yesterdays applicants were being tackled presently and this at 2.00 pm on the last day of the procedure. Things just got progressively worse, the back log and delay increased. It was a scene of utter chaos, confusion, disillusionment and last but not the least frustration was rampant. Amidst all of this who else. but my guardian angel, Madhuri came to keep me company. Though she enjoyed ourselves, speaking to random people and taking on the role of delivery boy for the famished, she got unfairly yelled at and water accidentally thrown at her. Thanks to her, I had a memorable dinner of pizza and a chicken wrap amidst pandemonium. It was actually extremely entertaining, the only drawback being, hungry people staring at you as you eat is not pleasant! The queue didn't seem to be ending, and finally the Deputy Director announced that those who wished could come back the next morning to submit the assignments. The announcement immediately decided my course of action.
The remainder of the night was a pleasant stay over at Madhuri's house.
The next morning I had to miss my pre-booked seat on the bus to Mumbai and go back to the insti instead. But fortunately everything went off smoothly and the director appreciated my work on the assignment, which made it worth the while. Immediately, I headed back for Mumbai in the company of an interesting couple. I finally reached home at 6 pm on Monday evening thus concluding the SAGA OF SIMC!!
A few good things that came out of this:-
1.)I realized that my networking skills are genuinely good and I'm really thankful for knowing all the people that I do.
2.)I met some amazing, interesting and lively people in Pune and mad some good friends who will hopefully last me a while. Also I reconnected with a childhood friend. And last but not the least have come to truly appreciate Madhuri!
3.)Good management should not necessarily be expected from a Management school.
4.)Irrespective of any city I stay in or visit, Bombay will always feel like home!