Disclaimer: This piece has been published after permission from Prof. Rakesh Singh
“Its Rocky’s class man…”
“Rocky? Who’s that?”
“Prof. Rakesh Singh… Our Macro Economics Prof.”
“So, why the long face?”
“You’ll have one too if you knew about him. He is supposed to be a terror… “
Thus was my introduction of Prof. Singh. But we’ve had tough Profs before and so I took this in with a pinch of salt… C’mon.. How much worse can this get? Soon I realised the folly of thinking so. Prof. Singh made sure we understood that too. Him being a terror was an understatement! First time he came to class he asked us for our background and since most of us were engineers, he pooh-poohed us and got on with the class. He even told us that he knew he was known to be a tough nut… And he plans to keep up the reputation! At the end of the class he gave us an assignment that we were to submit by the end of the day.
All of us went to work and came up with what we thought were good reports. But he scoffed at these too!!! Man! This guy was sure hard to please. This cycle of assignments-submissions-scoffs went on for days with our patience running short as each day passed. Its not that we had a problem with doing the assignments per se (it was expected of us, and we are willing to do it too), but the way he reacted to them. And the worst part was, he would not even explain anything much to us save some funda about basic Macro Economic variables. But as to how it all tied together with the assignments we did, we dint have much clue! We were all in a state of utter confusion… Not knowing what is right and what is not. People began to crack, tempers started running high “Why on earth is he coming here Man! He dosen’t even teach anything! What a waste of all our time. Anything I’ve learnt in macro is purely due to my hard work in understanding it.” So on and so forth.
After a week and a half of this torture, we got a long break from him – about a week. But later we came to know that we were scheduled to have his classes for the 2 days preceding our term exams. Damn it! He is gonna give us some assignments and we will have to sit up late into the night doing them instead of preparing for the exams. And that’s exactly what happened. He asked us to figure out why the crisis of 1991 occurred and what after that. Tough one. But we managed. We even managed to write the exams pretty ok.
Then we had his last class on a Sunday @ 12 noon (the next day we were to have accounts and stats term exams). All of us were jittery, yet most of us were present even though there was a nasty rumour of a surprise quiz. That din’t happen, instead Prof Singh started his discourse on the economic history of India – since the time of independence. There was pin drop silence in the class. He went on and on and soon one and a half hours had zoomed past. At 1:30 PM Prof. Singh asked how many of us wanted to go for lunch. Just 3 hands shot up. The rest of us were glued to our chairs and waiting for him to go on. True to his word of him being democratic and taking the majority vote, he went on to speak for another 1 and quarter hours.
At 2:45 PM, a riveting 2 hours and 45 mins later, he stopped his story stating “And that is the India story. Thank you” and majestically walked out of the room to a sea of applause. I can honestly say it was the loudest we had given to any of our Profs. We were all amazed at the things he said, the clarity with which he summarised his thoughts and at the way he explained it all to us. It took most of us another 5 mins to budge from our seats. We were all in a trance…
Soon after this we were discussing this amongst ourselves. “Why couldn’t he have told us all this before itself? Why did he have to put us thru so much agony and mental torture?” The answer came to us almost instantly. There was no other way he could have taught a subject like Macro Economics in 10 hours. By putting us thru all that grind and umpteen assignments, he made sure that we had had most of our foundations intact before he told us the real thing. Otherwise we would never have understood or even appreciated the subject.
Needless to say, the Macro Economics Subject has been one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had this far in my MBA education. So much so that I cant wait to go thru this same harrowing experience with Micro Economics… But sadly, that will have to wait for 4th term…
Class of 2009