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Engineers are accustomed to being classified and painted in different colors based on the branches they study in. Facebook is filled with memes poking fun at the gender disparity prevalent in mechanical engineering or the humongous salaries offered to students of Computer Science. In comparison to this comic categorization, MBA has always portrayed itself as the ocean where all rivers flow. Not for no reason have B-schools across the country emphasized the importance of ‘diversity’ in their admission processes, much to the dismay of engineers.

While other B-schools try hard to introduce this diversity, XLRI Jamshedpur has never really had to take extra measures to do this. At a recent talk by an industry leader who also happened to be an alumnus of this institution, the audience was posed a question- ‘What makes XLRI different?’

As a part of the audience, I remember scratching my head and while the usual answers about XLRI being a socially conscious institution or one that provides a wholesome education were blurted out, the speaker had a different take on this.

“It’s the Emotional Quotient of the students here, which sets XLRI apart”, he said.

While it may sound distinctly different, the answer seemed pretty obvious in hindsight and one need look no further than the academic courses offered here. The presence of Business Management and Human Resources Management as two different courses speaks a lot about their distinct nature. The different courses with their different nature draw a vastly different set of students through the admission process.

As a Business Management student, the first thing that strikes me about HR are the ‘soft’ courses HR students study. Perhaps, the judgmental engineer in me is still alive. Subjects like Organizational Behavior which teach you about team-work, motivation and other abstract concepts seem to be different, if not ambiguous, than the more real-worldly courses like Accounting, Financial Management or Marketing. Inevitably, the perception of the students studying these courses is colored by the nature of these courses. In the eyes of a Business Management student, HRM occupies the position of a lesser mortal.

Often this perception inspires sarcastic remarks for our brethren in campus.

‘HRM students seem to party all the time’ ‘Maybe that’s a part of their curriculum, eventually that’s what they end up doing’

But while snide remarks are passed between the two, HRM is as much an integral part of the famed XL culture as BM is. Eventually, living under the same roof and working together in the same committees leads to a camaraderie that students in other institutions may never get a chance to experience. Waking up in the morning and having breakfast at the same table, listening to them complain about their eccentric assignments while we curse about our balance sheets and marketing plans is an indispensable part of our daily routine. The skills they bring to the table when it comes to participating in case competitions or organizing events add to our perspective. Eventually, this atmosphere of collaborative learning makes us realize that their aptitude is no different than ours.

In fact, it was a course on Industrial Relations with which XLRI started its journey and over the years, if there is one B-school which has contributed to the upper echelons of the HR departments of large corporates, many of whom have gone on to become CEOs, it is undoubtedly XLRI Jamshedpur.

When you spend two of the most cherished and valuable years of your life, with people who not only complement your skills but also compel you to see things differently, from business problems to lessons on life, it is but inevitable that they end up becoming your closest friends. And if XLRI’s gender ratio is taken into account, sometimes, your life-partners too.

Students of both the disciplines may mock each other, but XLRI ensures that both of them learn the interdependence of the two courses, providing them with that one X(L)-factor, the Emotional Quotient, developed through studying, working and partying together, which ultimately carves them into the leaders of tomorrow.

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