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Hobby Series - Jyotsna's artistic brain gave her an edge over her peers

Management Paradise | Tuesday 8 May 2012 ( 0 Comment)
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altIn an age where the CAT score defines the success of an individual, many lost touch with their inner selves. While many didn't.

This series is going to be an effort to explore what made certain people stay in touch with their true selves by sticking to their passions or hobbies. 

We hope it inspires other MBA's to revive their long gone passion and manifest in a form of a hobby. 

We spoke to Jyotsna K P from IIM Indore to see what drives her towards her passion

What is the Hobby that you pursue?

Many actually. I love to sing, write, travel, photograph etc etc. But the one thing that I hold closest to myself is art. When I paint, I go to my happy place.

I used to put my artworks and articles on my blog: http://fortheloveoflife.wordpress.org/ and a few people approached me to paint for them. I thought, why not? I would have done it for free, but they insisted on compensation and that was when my hobby also turned in to an alternativeprofession...ve
ry
recently, just 5 years ago.

For how long have you been pursuing it?

For as long as I can remember. I started out by doodling on walls like so many other kids. When I started to speak, I would always keep singing whatever the TV played – movie songs, ad jingles, you name it... I believe I used to drive my mother crazy with my repeated renditions of ‘Chandrakanta..Ki Kahaani’ and ‘Alif Laila’.

However, writing and photography are relatively recent...about 10-11 years J, I think I started them thanks to my Dad’s travel bug... wherever he went, he used to always take me with him, and I wanted those moments to be preserved.

altHow much time in a week are you able to devote to it ?

That’s the best part of having a hobby! You need not ‘schedule’ it per se... once you start thinking about specifically allocating time for it, it takes the fun out of it. I believe that if you are really into it, you will definitely find time. Skip that re-run of TBBT and do your thing!

How do you manage to maintain a balance between the MBA course and your hobby?

Wow! Never really thought of balancing it, you know. But if you want a course of action from me I’d say that a B-School offers you many opportunities to showcase your hobbies as ‘PORs’ (Positions of Responsibility). I was a part of the Creative and Design (Digital) Team in IIM Indore, so that gave me a valid excuse to spend time on my passion, and also learn a lot from my other team members and seniors.

I still like to doodle on walls, but something told me that the hostel authorities wouldn’t be too excited about it, so I have my own private journal where I like to sketch cartoons on the day’s events, like a doodle journal...and yes, during my Mechanical Engg days, I would make a cartoon on the prof teaching us during a particularly slow lecture... However, I would advise against this last one in a b-school; especially if your prof likes to cold call.

Does pursuing the hobby in fact help you perform better in academics?

If you don’t mind my saying so I feel that this question literally begs an answer like ‘yes... it helps me de-stress, and I perform better etc etc’. But to be candid, I would say, to be in the top 10% of your batch, you need to put in work, there’s no substitute for that. Just having and pursuing a hobby will not magically crank up your grades.

Well to understand my answer you would need to know this... I paint in many different media, like oils, acrylics, waters and various styles...like abstract, still lifes, knife painting, Tanjore painting etc... and these do not get done in a day. You have to devote a sizeable chunk of time every day, at least 4-5 hours and you may finish it in a month. So if I started a full on Tanjore Painting in a regular B-School term, bye-bye pass grades! If you have such an interest, you have to make choices. I made mine.

I unwind myself by sketching and putting on music and singing along while making presentations/ writing assignments etc, and this relaxes me.

altWould you let go of the hobby if you start to face a time crunch?

You have to get your priorities right. What is more important to you, and why exactly are you doing an MBA. As I said earlier, I had to make choices. But fortunately, right after my engineering, I opted to take a year’s sabbatical. I travelled. I painted. I retailed a few of my paintings. I worked as a freelancer for content development. When IIM Indore happened a few months later, I was refreshed enough to get back in to the classroom mode.

In fact, I believe my different course of action after Engineering worked in my favour. I changed the form of my hobby. Also, I would always paint during the term breaks. Right now, I am painting a 20’ x 18’ abstract, you will see it soon on my blog.

What would you like to say to those who have let go of their passion plainly to focus on academics?

To be fair to the system, I believe that B-schools nowadays favour diversity in your profile (I agree that it might not be immediately apparent), and prefer both sides of your brain to be in working condition... But my artistic bent did give me an edge over my peers. Also, I was able to bag a summer internship project in Brand Management in one of the biggest automotive companies of India solely due to my creative background.

I would tell them to think about their decision. Are they doing it under any sort of external pressure (be it peer or familial), or because they feel that their interest has run its natural course and it is time to give it up? Because whatever your decision may be, you should do it for the right reasons. Let me share my experience:

I took up piano lessons while in school, and my teacher told me that I showed a lot of promise. Everything was going well. But piano requires dedication. To be decent enough, you have to put in at least two years of regular practice. I started late, and within a year, std XII boards were on me. I chose to give it up completely. I might play a few notes now and then, but it is not the same. If you have to let it go, you have to... and that’s your call.

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