Ever asked a B school grad who are the most important people in his/her life for those 2 years? Professors, placement reps, room-mates, (girl/boy) friend....?? Na..
Professors can be booted out by giving bad feedback and you can choose competent people to be your placement reps. Girl/boy friends are available dime-a-dozen and if you have a bad apple as your room-mate, you can still work around it by kicking him/her out or swapping rooms so that you get to stay with like-minded people. But if there is one thing which is not "technically" in your control, then it is the selection of your acad group mates. Most B-schools today lay strong emphasis on group work - and more often than not, to form these groups names are drawn randomly from a hat. Trust me, for all practical purposes, these acad groups could make or break your life - these are the people with whom you need to spend a minimum of 12 hours of group work every week besides the tonnes of assignments and presentations and submissions.
I must admit that i was very fortunate in my first year to be part of some really wonderful acad groups. My Trime 1 acad group, as providence would have it, was full of Tams. We were 5 of us, of which there were 2 pucca Tams, me n my bro Venki and then there was GOD, a Tallu (half Tam half Mallu) and then there were these two Palghat people settled in Mumbai, Suchi and Narayan, who claimed the language they spoke was Tamil :-p You can imagine the kind of riotous fun we had in our meetings and group studies. We used to sit in the Bistro, sing Rajini songs, chat and gossip and do everything but work. Finally when push came to shove, we would fight over who would do the assignment and usually boiled down to either Suchi or Narayan saving our skin. My fondest memory of this group has to be the group OM viva- voce we had with Chacku. Or was it Sesha Iyer and QM ? Oh god, we were asked some really stupid Qs (read: Qs for which we didnt know the answers) and since it was a group viva, i recollect each of us muttering in Tamil to the other and helping out with the answers. The best part was when I forced Suchi to change her correct answer to my incorrect one and ended up getting her the least marks. Was she furious ?? Ha Ha Ha !!
At SP, we also had a system by which every student was Course Coordinator (CoCo) for a particular subject in a Trime. There were a few Professors who did not believe in random allocation and allowed students the liberty of forming their own groups with the help of the CoCos. Marketing, which ran across all 3 Trimes in first year, was one such course where we had a separate acad group. As luck would have it, i was one of the CoCos for this subject in Trime 1 and could not believe my luck when i was told to form the groups that would work across trimes and assignments for the whole of first year. Suffice to say that i was one of my the most wanted guys in campus those few days since every Tom, Dick, Harry and Jane wanted favors.
Realizing the gravity of the situation and the seriousness of the decisions ahead of me (:-P), I ran an in-depth profile analysis to select my own group first. With all honesty, i wanted some real diversity so that the learning process would be beneficial to all the members. After some serious soul searching, i chose a Bong, Anirban (O-neer-bon) from the software industry (someone i cud relate to coz i was under the misconception that all Bongs were profound intellectuals), a hard-working n enthu Narayan (it also helped that he was a Mumbaikar and we expected to be invited to his house for food), an intelligent and down-to-earth Mangesh from the manufacturing sector and a freaky, fun-loving fresher Tushar with a commerce degree from St.Xaviers. It all then boiled down to the choice of the female. I had known a few of my batch mates through e-mail interactions before joining SP and i naturally wanted to bond with them closer. But since i had to accommodate some of my friends' requests, I finally zeroed down on a smart lady, Taruni with a Japanese Honors from JNU. My My, what fun we had in our group.
At the start of the year, we had to select a company/sector which the group would track and apply all Marketing fundae in presentations. As self-appointed leader of the group, i scheduled a meeting when Taruni wasn't around and we "unanimously" agreed to select WIPRO and the IT sector :-) Needless to say, Taruni who knew nothing about even computers (at that time) leave alone software industry, was furious. Till today, she accuses me of sabotaging her grand plans to learn some Marketing in B-school. We had great fun the whole year - We fought like crazies, we gave ourselves nicknames (Raunchy, Nari, Mangy, Tusku, Fishfood and Hitler) and we partied hard.
What would SP have been without these acad groups !!