Students from small towns and villages make the grade at IIMB convocation

You can come from a remote village in the country and still be among the rank holders of one of the premier institutions in the country. This was apparent at the 38th annual convocation of the Indian Institution of Management, Bangalore (IIMB), on Monday.

Raghavendran S., who won the gold medal for securing first rank in the Postgraduate Programme in Management (PGP) batch of 2012-13, hails from Thiruvallur near Chennai. The son of an accountant father and a homemaker mother did not in his wildest dreams think he would top his course.

Engineering student

He completed his undergraduation in mechanical engineering in 2008 from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, with a gold medal, and worked for three years at the manufacturing division of a company manufacturing earthmoving equipment.

He took the Common Admission Test (CAT) twice — once in 2008, scoring an impressive 95.6 percentile, and later 94.5 percentile, enough to get him into IIMB.

“I took a two-year break after I failed to clear one of the (then) three sections in CAT. I used to travel two hours (to and fro) every weekend to the coaching class in Coimbatore. What prompted me to join management after graduation is because after engineering, no one gets a proper engineering job. Companies under-employ and over-pay engineers,” he said.

Disciplined

The topper, with his modest upbringing, brought with him a discipline that raised eyebrows.

“I used to wake up at 4.30 a.m. when the rest of the students went to sleep. I missed out on a lot of fun that way. But it is out of practice, as I used to go to bed by 8 p.m. in school,” he added.

Mr. Raghavendran is looking forward to his new job in the manufacturing sector as a management consultant. But his distant dream is not in this field. “Ours was only the second English-medium batch in school. I used to cycle for six hours to reach school. I want education to be affordable, which is why I want to start a school in a semi-urban or rural area, maybe on the outskirts of Chennai, in 10 years’ time,” he said.

The second rank holder in PGP, Dhake Pankaj Jaysing, is from Narayangaon, a village near Pune. He was selected as a National Talent Search scholar. Always among the top rankers, he graduated in computer science engineering from BITS Pilani, Goa. He is headed for a company in Hong Kong to join the equities trading desk there.

Adeeba Ansari, who won the ‘Best all-round performance’ medal in the PGP batch, is a native of Indore. She hopes the skewed male to female ratio in management schools will soon be a thing of the past.

Nine gold medals were given away at the convocation.

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