“System is fair in the long run” is one of the most frequently used phrases by the LUMS faculty and it takes special position whenever students complain about their grades. If this statement is read against the grain, one can infer that the current system has flaws and it is fine not to get dishearten due to a lower grade because somewhere along the way looms a higher grade. This then suggests that intellect and hard work have little or no role to play in the final evaluation.
From personal experience, I can say that the faculty enjoys immense discretionary powers and most of the times; the impressions are what weigh more than the actual performance. With the exception of a handful of instructors, the majority does not even make an effort to explain the grading system or give feedbacks on individual performances. Students on the other hand are expected to fulfill every criterion which the teachers lay out.
Ironically the entire grading system is supposed to follow statistics [read objective measurement] but the faculty relies on its subjective assessment while grading and makes no effort [openly so] to objectify it. For a first year student it is important to get acquainted with the rules of the game as soon as possible. Based on my own experience, awareness to the following rules along with a certain degree of hard work may stand a student in good stead. * It is not necessary to prepare case studies to make a good impression on the instructor.
In fact it is your ability to talk your way out of a situation. I must confess that after the few first classes in the beginning of the program, I lost interest in reading cases and I would just sit in the DRs listening to others or just looking at the exhibits at the end of the cases. That prepared me just fine to take part in the “vigorous intellectual activity” in the class. * Learning how to control your emotions especially your facial expressions is a key to get a good quartile.
One should know how to nod their heads in consent with the teacher even if the most atrocious topic is being broached or assertion is being made. The opposite also holds true. A great way to get a CP call is to vigorously shake your head in the opposite directions or sport a condescending smile when another student is making his CP. * It does not harm to wear colors or clothes that seek attention. One of the instructors even admitted to being a sucker for red shirts. The mantra of “standing out from the crowd” is a value that is aggressively ingrained and defended. The instructors tend to have blind spots towards the periphery of the class. Students sitting on the fringes on average get fewer CP calls. One way to mitigate this is to forge great relationship with the PCO and get them to change your seat. * Quite a few students try to approach an instructor after the class is over. The idea is to create a favorable impression on the teacher. This increases the chances of getting a CP call in the next session. * A few students ingratiate instructors and besmirch other faculty members subtly.
The idea is to resort to blandishment in a way where the instructor starts thinking of himself to be a great multi disciplinary specialist, who knows better about other disciplines than the PhD’s in that area. * Knowing about the proclivities of the faculty is also recommended. Instructors who are religious can always be met outside the mosque. For others who consider themselves to be liberal and “liberated” a range of topics like the virtues of capitalism/socialism/secularism/feminism/mullah bashing can be broached. For the latter, knowledge about a certain topic is not even required.
Just a phrase or a statement can start off an “intellectually stimulating discourse. ” * A certain section of the faculty is pro Syed Babar Ali and it is highly recommended to quote examples of Packages Ltd. and its “excellent” operations and management. There is yet another section which does not exactly like industrialists. It is therefore advised to bash Syed Babar Ali, Razzak Dawood et al to excel in their classes. * Lastly, the ability to regurgitate and repackage is a pre-requisite to make it to the top of the pyramid. One only needs to keep their eyes and ears open and just restate what has already been discussed.