How is life in IIM Ahmedabad
My semester abroad: Pascal @ Indian Institute of Management (IIM)
Pascal Ritter, student in the Master International Business program, spent his semester abroad at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Indore, India. Here he reports on his experiences.
Why did you choose this partner university?
I wanted to get to know a new and completely different culture and at the same time look for a challenge and not just go the easy way. In addition, the Indian Institute of Management has a very good reputation in India and the importance of the country in international trade continues to grow. At the IIM, I also had the opportunity to focus on the area of digital value creation in the courses.
How was life at the IIM Indore? What were the biggest differences to student life in Germany?
The campus is located approximately 20 minutes outside of Indore. At the IIM, all students live in the dormitory on campus. The rooms are furnished, bed linen must be provided by yourself if necessary. There are shared bathrooms, but no possibility to cook yourself. Hygiene is good compared to the conditions outside the campus, but cannot be compared with the standards in Europe and therefore a challenge. Several canteens on campus offer breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, dinner, and midnight snacks.
Thus, all of life takes place within the campus. This is completely fenced and guarded by security personnel around the clock. Every car is checked for prohibited items (alcohol, cigarettes, etc.) and students are only allowed to enter the campus after a complete check.
Since I was in the last semester of the postgraduate program, I had “only” five courses and thus relatively fewer lectures per week than at the MBS. The lectures are designed to be interactive and attendance is compulsory for every lecture. This is checked by students confirming their presence with their fingerprint before and after the lecture. In the case of absent hours of more than 20% of the total hours, the student automatically failed.
In the last few weeks that I was at the IIM, the first WLAN was introduced on campus, but it never worked properly (I hope it will work on the next one). A LAN connection was always possible except for a few days.
Where did you live there And what did you do in your free time?
All students on campus live in dormitories that are separated by sex. There are shared showers and toilets on every floor. With me there were 20 other exchange students (19 French and 1 Italian).
Because the IIM has a student organization for exchange students who introduced us to life on campus and the culture, we were able to quickly connect with new groups. If we had lecture-free periods, we tried to travel and explore the country as often as possible. Mostly a few Indians joined us and we were out as a large group.
What special experiences did you have?
The highlights are definitely the different trips, most of which we took with fellow students from the IIM. The country has incredibly varied landscapes and so each region is unique in itself. Except for one motorcycle tour, we always used public transport. Nobody takes away these experiences anymore, because traveling in India is an adventure in itself.
The big differences between rich and poor were bad for me. In India it is a common image that many people spend their lives on the street and have no opportunity to work their way up. What is impressive, however, is that these people feel no envy at all and therefore crime does not pose a serious risk at any time. In this country, 1.2 billion people with great financial differences and great social differences live together peacefully - that is fascinating.
Do you have any tips for students who are planning to spend their semester abroad at the IIM Indore? What can you expect?
A completely different culture and many situations that are strange for a western culture, but an incredibly exciting country and interesting people who are all interested in the European perspective. In addition, the IIM has an excellent reputation in India and good contacts can be made.
Otherwise, students should bring one thing above all: patience. Anyone who goes to India as an impatient person will learn to be patient there.
What is your conclusion from the semester abroad and what do you take with you for the future?
The framework conditions for a semester abroad at the IIM are not comparable with the other partner universities and the European standard cannot be lived there.
Anyone who goes to India without wanting to get involved in a completely different culture and way of life will want to go home again after a few weeks. However, if you get involved, you will be fascinated by this country. I had great experiences there and met great people with whom I will continue to be in contact.
Photos © Pascal Ritter
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