The eligibility cutoff for IIM Ranchi was 95 percentile in the CAT so although about 15,000 applications came in, a smaller number actually got the convert. The general category cutoff for the batch was 99.65 percentile, according to the students. And many in the 44-student strong batch have said 'no" to more well-established b-schools.
Aditya Somani, for instance, had final calls from MDI Gurgaon, NITIE Mumbai and IIM Rohtak. Ankur Tiwari (PG nickname is IIM_Killer) had converts from MDI, IMT Ghaziabad and IIM Rohtak. Both the students, like the others preferred IIM Ranchi to others b-school (even over IIM Rohtak which also started this year) because of the strong IIM Calcutta faculty support (IIM Calcutta is the mentor institute for IIM Ranchi).
Explains Shubhankar, “The IIM tag is a coveted thing. Being taught by the best in the business (IIM Calcutta) was always going to be a plus point and a big deciding factor for us to choose IIM Ranchi."
For Ankur Tiwari too, the faculty and the high cutoff contributed to his decision.
Faculty members at IIM Ranchi travel from IIM Calcutta and usually stay at IIM Ranchi for two days, deliver a series of lectures over the two days and then fly back. Due to this IIM Ranchi, students rarely have a Sunday off.
“That"s when IIM Calcutta lecturers are free so we keep Sunday as a lecture day and take an off, if needed, during a weekday. But lectures itself are so interesting that a day off is not a big issue here," says Akash Gaurav.
Work experience of the batch
Freshers - 50%
More than 24 months - 16%
12-23 months - 16%
1-11 months - 18%
Since the group is small and it is the first group, every student is part of some committee or the other and so has a role to play in the decision process.
Says Ankur, “It feels great that we as a batch of 44 students are responsible for setting up an IIM. Every student is responsible for starting something from scratch (by being a part of different committees or clubs) which is a great responsibility but then it gives you the feel of being an entrepreneur."
Piyusha Bhagel, the only girl at IIM Ranchi, heads the Academics Committee. Her role is to make sure that her peer group is up to the mark with academics. “My job is to facilitate interaction between students and faculty if there is some weakness or queries in a subject. I also make sure that if there is a student who knows a subject very well, then he gives an extra lecture types for the benefit of the others."
On the issue of whether operating from a government building and sharing space with other offices creates any kind of difficulty for the students, Ankur says that since the number of students is small and the group has grown close to each other within four months of meeting, the size of the b-school structure does not matter.
“It is finally the work being done and the lectures and curricular activities. If these are not getting hampered, then nothing matters."
Rajesh Patro, officer-on-special-duty at IIM Ranchi told PaGaLGuY that talks are on to get additional space.
“There is a place that seems to have been finalised. It will however first hold the National Games and only after that IIM Ranchi should be able to get it. It is huge and when in operation it will be better than many other big b-schools with regards to infrastructure."
Boarding and lodging
Like academics, evolving the mess and hostel culture is a first-of-its-kind experience. While there is a mess committee, much of the food is made on a trial and error basis. The students experiment with the food menu till everybody agrees on it.
The hostel, which is across the road from the campus, is a three-storied building and was formerly used as residential quarters for IAS officials who came there for training. Except for Piyusha, there are two boys in a room. This year, the students even got a Ganpati idol in the hostel building during Ganesh Chaturthi and the warden gladly gave up his room to house the elephant god.
The small night canteen which is right in the centre of the hostel complex is a warm and cosy place. Its kitchen table is marked by a tall pile of egg crates on one side and a string of instant noodle packets on the other. The perpetual aroma of toasted bread and butter gives the canteen a welcoming feel and there is little wonder that students spend much time there.
There is a gym in the hostel which is used frequently by the students. For those not interested in the gym, Ranchi as a city gives them enough fresh air. Except for the cyclewallahs who seem to be everywhere, the rest of the city follows a lethargic pace. With MS Dhoni and Sourabh Tiwary"s photos plastered everywhere on hoardings, the city is a reminder that small towns can produce talented people - and this could hold true even for IIM Ranchi students.