Why not entrepreneurship?  

Passion, People, Perseverance, Positivity – these are the 4 P’s one must have to be a social entrepreneur according to Ankit Kumar. One might have several doubts and questions in mind about starting one’s own venture. Ankit Kumar tried to address some of these worries through the story of his entrepreneurial venture, when he delivered a session on campus recently. Here is his story and some of the tips he shared with us.

Story

Ankit Kumar had a passion for bringing change in the lives of underprivileged by being a part of the system through a for profit model. Free time during his college days gave him the opportunity to get himself acquainted with several policies and schemes of the government in agriculture, public policy and rural development. The National Biofuel Policy of 2008 got his attention and he wanted to do something by utilise the policy to pursue his dream. When the government announced the introduction of MGNREGA scheme, Ankit got the idea of having plantations of Pongamia, a biofuel plant, through the labour force of MGNREGA and build a business model by bringing it under the biofuel policy. Through his journey of the establishing his venture by working with the government, Ankit shared his experiences of difficulties he faced – a missing coma in a policy, the red-tapism of bureaucracy and the policy gaps like politicians and bureaucracy being unaware of policies, no revision of price of biofuels, inhibition of direct engagement for dealership with The Railways.

Tips

  1. Start your venture as early as possible – you will have lesser problems when you are young
  2. Use your MBA knowledge to become an entrepreneur – analyse your idea for your course projects
  3. Build Network Quotient – nothing helps in forming your venture better than a good network
  4. Burn the Bridges – take risk and make that big leap forward and start it

Agribusiness Opportunities

  • Social Forestry
  • Integrated livelihood: Social fishery, poultry & plantation
  • Identify the needs of people: Government, CSR, Community
  • Community Resource Centres
  • 2nd generation biofuels: Cellulosic ethanol and Bio-Oil
The event was organized by the Agri-Business Club of IIMA. (http://stdwww.iimahd.ernet.in/abc/)

PGP ABM 2011-13 Final Placements complete at IIM Ahmedabad

The PGP-ABM placement process for the batch of 2013 was completed successfully on 4th March, 2013, with students pursuing career opportunities of their choice within the agribusiness and allied domains. The robust placement process was well received by both recruiters and students, effectively matching talent with opportunities. A testament to the strength of the process and the calibre of students was that companies created special roles for candidates based on their profile.

Leading Recruiters

Despite adverse market conditions and dampened hiring sentiment, the program was well received by the industry as a provider of high quality talent to the agribusiness sector. Over 25 companies participated in the placement process, and the batch attracted a diverse pool of recruiters, ranging from MNCs to small and medium enterprises as well as notable start-up firms. Syngenta, Frontal Rain, GSFC, and Yes Bank were the top recruiters, and recruited three students each. IFFCO, i3 Consulting, Escorts, Frontal Rain, Nancy Barry’s Enterprise Solutions for Poverty, and GlaxoSmithKline hired for the first time from the program. The placement season also witnessed regular recruiters such as Syngenta, Rabo Bank, Godrej Agrovet, StarAgri, and Yes Bank. Notably, Bayer CropScience Limited offered its Commercial Excellence Leadership Program for the first time in India, by recruiting from IIM Ahmedabad this year.

iimapic1.jpgA variety of roles were offered across diverse domains including Seeds, Fertilizers, Pesticides, Corporate Banking, Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory, Logistics and Warehousing Management, Platform Development, Plantations, Commodity Trading, Agricultural Machinery, Rural Banking, and Consulting.

Entrepreneurship

Two students opted out of the placement process this year – one to launch an entrepreneurial venture in warehousing and the other to pursue a career in the social sector. The institute supports entrepreneurship by providing a two year placement holiday to students who launch their own start-up venture.

Prof. Kirti Sharda, the Chairperson of the Placement Committee, IIM Ahmedabad said, “The enthusiastic participation of recruiters in PGP-ABM placements lead to creation of new and interesting opportunities for students, and enabled them to get placed in a variety of roles both in international and domestic locations. We are pleased to announce that the PGP-ABM batch of 2011-13 has been placed and the PGP-ABM Final Placement Process at IIM Ahmedabad is complete.”

Sanjit Singh, the Recruitment Secretary of the PGP-ABM Program said, “The PGP ABM program continued to attract challenging and rewarding roles in a sector that has a strong requirement for managerial excellence. This year we maintained our international ranking as the finest program in agribusiness and food management and as a team were delighted to provide excellent opportunities for our students to build careers in this sector.”

Further details about the placement process including details about compensation will be released in an audited report, as per the Indian Placement Reporting Standards (IPRS) – an initiative introduced by IIMA to bring about greater transparency in B-school placements across the country. The IPRS report for ‘Final Placements 2013’ will be released 6 months from the date of graduation, and the link to the report will be shared with all stakeholders, once released.

The Post Graduate Programme in Agri-Business Management (PGP-ABM) is a residential 2-year full-time sector-specific programme designed to meet the diverse demands of agri-business and allied sectors through specialised managerial talent. IIM-Ahmedabad’s PGP-ABM program has been ranked No. 1 worldwide in the MBA (Agribusiness) / Food Industry Management Global Ranking for the second year running by Eduniversal, Paris (2012).

Official Link – http://www.iimahd.ernet.in/users/placement/files/Finals%202013/PGP-ABM%20Press%20Release%20Final.pdf

IIM Ahmedabad’s PGP-ABM Program retains its World No. 1 Rank

The Post Graduate Programme in Agribusiness Management (PGP-ABM) at IIM-A has been ranked as World’s no. 1 for the second consecutive year in the ‘Best Masters in Agribusiness / Food Industry Management Global Ranking’. The ranking is given by the France based Eduniversal, a rating agency specializing in higher education.

IIM-A’s programme scored above similar programmes offered by universities based in the US, Europe and South America, including courses at Paris-based ESSEC Business School (with which IIM-A has active collaboration) and Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, which were ranked second and third respectively.

“The PGP-ABM program at IIMA has done wonderfully well in the last ten years. It is probably for the first time that any program from India has been rated Number 1 for two consecutive years. PGP-ABM today demonstrates how specialized masters program can make a difference in management education in India,” PGP-ABM program chair – Professor Goutam Dutta, said.

IIM-A has been offering a special package in Agriculture since 1974. In 2003, this programme was re-engineered as a Post Graduate programme in Agri-Business Management.

PGP-ABM 2012-14 Summer Placements Complete at IIM-A

The Summer Placement process for Post Graduate Programme in Agri-Business Management started on 8th November, and completed with every student in a batch of 43 placed by the end of next day.

More than 20 firms participated in the placement process, including regular recruiters such as Syngenta, Godrej Agrovet, Rabobank, Marico, Heinz, APPL, Excel Crop Care, and Enercon. This placement season also marked the entry of a number of new firms to the placement process, including Mondelez, PricewaterhouseCoopers, DuPont, TAFE, Sathguru Management Consulting, Frost and Sullivan, PI Industries, Cremica and GreenNGood. Some of the firms conducted pre-placement processes on 7th November. Notably, 5 students chose to sit out of the main summer placement process to pursue their interest in the developmental sector by working with Jeevika, the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project.

Syngenta, a global agribusiness giant, was the largest recruiter and made offers to six students for 11 challenging projects spanning diverse functional domains. Officials from Syngenta commented “This is our second year of participation in IIM-Ahmedabad placements. We were delighted by the talent, diversity and enthusiasm of the candidates and we look forward to build this relationship further.”

In all, a variety of roles were offered across sectors including FMCG, Agricultural Inputs, Consulting and Advisory, Banking, and Plantations. Functional roles available to students included Strategy, International Marketing, Business Development, Research, B2B Marketing, Supply Chain Management, Sales, and General Management and Leadership.
IIM-Ahmedabad’s PGP-ABM Program has been recognized as World’s Number 1 programme in Agribusiness and Food Industry management by Eduniversal (2011), and the variety of roles and recruiters in Summer Placements 2013 has kept pace with the increasing excellence of the program.

IIMA will publish its audited summer placement report for the PGP-ABM program as per the Indian Placement Reporting Standards (IPRS) once the audit process is completed.

RURAL IMMERSION MODULE: Redefining The Rural Landscape

A distinguished blend of faculty, highly zealous students from diverse backgrounds, a rigorous academic curriculum, an impeccable alumni database are some of the ingredients that helped the IIM Ahmedabad’s Post Graduate Program in Agri-Business Management (PGP-ABM) become the No.1 Program globally in the Agri-business / Food Industry Management category.

One unique feature of the PGP-ABM program is Rural Immersion Module (RIM). The Rural Immersion Module helps acquaint the students with the ground realities of the rural landscape, which is home to almost 70 percent of our country’s population. Every year the students from PGP-ABM are required to spend 3-4 weeks in a certain pre decided village. It takes place in two phases. In the first phase the students need to understand and analyze the problems faced by the rural people. The students also brainstorm on the prudent and viable solutions for these problems. The next phase focuses on the implementation of the solutions which are worked out by the students.

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The programme management comes up with the states and villages to visit after much discussion and deliberation. The focus is always on the regions where certain major issues are cropping up with regard to agriculture or livelihood. This time around the management chose 2 villages each in Andhra Pradesh (AP), Patna and Jharkhand, and a group each was allotted to these regions.

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Andhra Pradesh was chosen because farmers declared a crop holiday in some villages within this state. Students were required to understand the reason for crop holiday. They conducted In-depth interviews with the members of farmer community, visited government offices in and around the villages. They figured some negative effects of NREGA scheme on the labour availability for agricultural purposes. Major shift in land use pattern such as towards aquaculture was observed. Increasingly decreasing returns on agriculture produce was discovered as one major reason for this shift.

In order to deal with these issues, students have ideated increasing extension services to educate farmers about the drying techniques. This would ensure higher returns on produce through minimum support price on a higher grain volume when grains meet the stringent quality criterion set by the Food Corporation of India. Students also opined an alternative means of revenue – setting up coir industry using the abundant coconut tree shells as raw material.

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Of the two groups that went to Jharkhand, one was handed over the task of determining the effectiveness of implementation of various government schemes at the grass root level in the Jamshol village area. The group visited the houses and surveyed around 70% of the villagers. They discovered major issues with the schemes like MNREGA, Public distribution system, Indira Awas Yojana and Anganwadi. The villagers were either negligent of these schemes or the authorities vested with the responsibility to carry out these schemes were taking advantage of the uneducated people. The group conducted a Gram Sabha, where the villagers addressed their concerns in front of all people of authorities and a formally signed document was submitted to an active NGO- SEEDS, before leaving.

The group experienced and understood the SHG model setup by Kalamandir at Junmdih for raising livelihood opportunity for the Bhoomji tribes. Kalamandir has provided round the year employment for the otherwise sporadic workers who face exploitation at the brick kiln factories of the area through the grass mat business. As students of the agri-business program, they were able to come up with solutions to problems that are preventing the business from scaling up. Inventory system, aggressive branding and marketing strategy, product costing and a better streamlined process with proper documentations were advised.

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Coming onto the groups that were sent to Patna (Bihar), one of them was entrusted with the task of looking after the problems that are prevalent with Madhubani Paintings and the ways to promote eco-tourism in the area. After having talked to a lot of people in the Madhubani region, the major problems that came out with the paintings was absence of channel for marketing and advertisement, large scale exploitation by middlemen, no other source of livelihood, as a result of which artists have given way to artisans. The solutions proposed were – a website to market the product, Expos in major cities through collaboration with existing NGOs and export houses, and the reissuing of ID cards. And for the promotion of tourism – advertisements on major holiday sites, link with several festivals and focus on domestic tourists, the money from whom will help in straightening out the infrastructure, were the solutions that were prescribed.

The other group was made to visit the Vaishali and Sitamari region in Bihar. They devised a model through which a farmer can be advised about the mandi in which he can sell his produce and get the highest returns. They also suggested ways in which tourism can be promoted in the region so as to make the region more prosperous. In Sitamari, the biggest issue that came up was of intermittent electricity supply. The students recommended a rice husk plant to produce electricity in the region and also did the cost-benefit analysis for the same.

Looking at the above instances, one could easily see the multitude of issues that the students were able to find out and analyze. Such an interface between the management students and the villages that RIM was able to provide could go a long way in improving the condition of the people residing in the India’s heartland.