The Indian obsession with IITs and IIMs and other premier institutions in nothing new. It’s strange how kids from 9th grade are being pushed into “tuitions” to prepare them for “IIT-JEE” (I always call it IIT-ji, the way we say Sonia-ji :P). I am in no position to sit in judgment and talk about what is wrong and what is right. I am the same person who decided to study law after doing my Engineering, so I can totally get it when there are people who are passionate or even obsessed about getting into courses/institutions that they love. What I do NOT get though, is how some of the kids (?) who pass out from these premier institutions, somehow begin to presume that it is their life’s “biggest” achievement and walk around with an imaginary halo around their heads. It is an achievement. No doubt about it. But please give me a break and drop the “MBA from IIM” from your introduction! I sense an immediate “jerk-alert” when someone starts off with “MBA” even before finishing off uttering their surname!
The other day, I was in an intense discussion about marketing trends etc with a couple of friends. One of them put forth an idea, which did not make much sense to me and I made it clear that I could not bring myself to agree upon it. One of my friends immediately took offence and said with a sense of borrowed pride “How can you NOT agree? My cousin who passed out from IIM told me about it” I was mentally punching the air out of my friend and her cousin, but then I shrugged it off and left the discussion hanging mid-air. Its crazy how someone can presume that passing out from one of those biggies will somehow magically morph you into a know-it-all, walky-talky encyclopedia! Some of the smartest people I have known in real life are college dropouts. They have nothing to boast of academically, nor do they have high-paying jobs. But the sheer brilliance of their personality shines through when they behave and carry themselves in a manner which would put any of these biggies to shame.
I am proud of my school and my college and I do attribute some of my finest traits( yes, yes, I do have some J) to the teaching and upbringing that was part of my school and college life. I am particularly fond of my school and I consider myself lucky to have been able to study at such a nice place. However, my school does not “define” me. What defines me though is all that I learnt there. My school is not a part of my introduction, but a part of my personality. And to me, that is all that matters. I have seen an “IIT AND IIM” digging his nose and pasting the booger under a table at work. So no matter where you study and what you do, you cannot claim special treatment or a direct entry ticket into an imaginary elite class “only” because you were part of something that is considered big. And you cannot claim to be right always.
Aunties who frantically fix arranged marriages consider such guys to be the biggest catch. Yikes. Freaks me out! I cannot imagine getting married to someone "just" because he has a fancy degree from a fancy place! This post is not meant to conclude that ALL premier-institute-pass-outs are worthless showoffs or that all the underdogs (supposedly) are complete gentlemen. The point here is that it really does not matter! You have a degree from MIT, good for you! All that matters in the real world is what really came out of that degree. If you want to be a brand ambassador of your institution, you may gladly do so ! But do not expect people to be in awe of you and take it for granted that you are a genius. What really makes a person is his/her personality. Show what your institution stands for, by LIVING in a way which would make your institution proud. Not by making it your middle name.