Meenakshi Lekhi visits IIMA campus

Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi, MP, Govt of India and Supreme Court lawyer, visited IIM Ahmedabad on July 6, to give a talk on “Ms. Meenakshi LekhiPerspectives on Indian Economic Development and Policy Making”, as part of the Speaker Series organized by the PGPX batch.

Ms Lekhi began her talk speaking about the situation in which the current government took charge, and proudly spoke about its achievements in the past year, including reduction of fiscal deficit, improvement of current account deficit and containment of leakages. She spoke about a two-pronged strategy for development- augmentation of the current resources and distribution to people who require it. She touched on a number of issues, such as the contribution of food and a healthy lifestyle to economic development, creation of an economic policy for the unorganized sector, focus on renewable energy and the PM’s pet project, Make in India. She justified the dismantling of the Planning Commission, saying that it carried the burden of a “dole out” economy. She also laid out the new government’s idea of using a quasi-federal structure, with a central policy but localized implementation.

She moved to talking about Delhi and criticizing the previous government’s land acquisition policies. She took to task the fact that there were slums and squatters on government land authorized for development. She spoke about smart cities and waste management systems required for better management of resources. She ended with a flourish, declaring that India deserved a UN Security Council seat as it was part of the country’s destiny.

After what seemed like a slightly haphazard speech, touching on a plethora of topics while not giving specific insight into the vision of the government regarding policymaking, the floor was opened up to audience questions. A gentleman questioned the lack of direction in the government’s plan on implementation of reform in various areas, such as administration, judicial and labor. Ms Lekhi refuted the statement that there was a dearth of talent in the government, and asked the audience to have faith, affirming that the GST bill would be passed, and stating that improper articulation about the land acquisition bill led to the current state of confusion. She skirted the question about implementation of policies, and avoided the question on the government’s education plan.

When asked how much black money would flow back into the country, she joked that she was bad with numbers but said that means needed to be created to make the black money white and bring it back. On facing a tough question about postponing investment in flashy things like the Sardar Patel statue or bullet trains until necessities for all were achieved, she stated that while necessities were needed, it was also necessary to generate pride in oneself, and hence some of the above expenditures were required. She avoided the tougher questions about the government’s plan of action and repeated that the country needed to have faith in the PM’s vision and desire for change.

In all, the talk summarized the achievements of the government since election, but did not give much clarity or perspective about the state of policy making in India.

– Arundhati Hazra (PGP 2014-16)

Image source

An A perspective

 

For most this may seem like a “first world problem”ish article, but who said that they aren’t fun? To begin with, “Animals may not have been hurt during this process” (except may be for the dogs we would bump into while running for the 8:45 class) but life sure was hell, at least for the first month. Everyone kept saying that things would get worse, and boy were they right! They did.

But not because of the workload or complexity of courses. The pain was more or less self-inflicted. Here you had a bunch of 400 people, almost all of whom struggled at one question during an interview, “When have you have failed? “ Coz most of us did not know what failure looked like. Setbacks yes. Maybe an A-. But never an F. Never a reject. You can counsel someone when they are bad at something, not when they are bad at failing. Kind of defeats the purpose of counselling, doesn’t it?

But with the introspection time that you quite often get between 1:42 and 1:45 waiting outside the mess, hoping for the “no quiz” announcement, you realize, that more than half of your pain was self-generated. That the entropy was always going to increase, you knew that in the first year thermodynamics course, but forgot to apply it. As you progress, assignments increase, cold calls get worse and WAC reports longer. We all knew that. We kept procrastinating, pushing our luck. 6 slots and a million assignments later we now finally accept it.

However painful exams might seem (they are usually worse than you think), they sure are fun. Before you judge me, I would like to make my case by recounting a Macroeconomics end term paper, where in the question read, “…The oil crisis has hit the country. You are the RBI governor. What will you do?” or something to that effect (this is one course I sincerely cannot understand). Now why I appreciate this is because no one in engineering ever told me, “Imagine you are Bernoulli”…or “Imagine you are Stokes”…”Now what will you do? “. I mean, give the kid a perspective, tell him/her that, “you are now solving issues that Pascal or Schrodinger or Jobs spent their life on, that made them famous”. This is what MBA lets you do. It shows you that you are solving real life problems that day-dreamers like me need to get serious about and write “real” stuff, that the cases you read, the problems you solve, the balance sheets you make actually happened. Someone lost their job or made a fortune. The course is as real an education as you can get.

Speaking of real, while adrenalin kicks might require cash in the outside world, you get them free of cost on a 1+1 free offer here (apart from the fees you paid of course!) So it is important to enjoy the moments when you need to make decisions when you are shit scared, the moment when your group looks up to you at midnight to make that ppt before 8am or the cold call you survive when you have no idea what a debt to equity ratio means. It is about staying calm and letting yourself outdo your expectations (or not). The way your friends grin or laugh at you at the end of it while eating your Maggi in Tapri is worth the pain.

(Ooh…and since I have mentioned Tapri…if you ever happen to be on campus at midnight…do go there for tea. I honestly did not know how to fit this anywhere in the article, but trust me you can forget all I have said but for this bit. )

And although talking about Tapri has got me a bit “senti”, MBA is all about people, but what isn’t? If I am ever so thankful for anything other than the Sunday ice-cream and the Tuesday Pav Bhaji in mess, it is the brilliant people I meet here on an everyday basis. While this may sound like an alien feeling oh-so-happy about meeting earth-beings, in all honesty, the plethora of people, opinions and conversations that you encounter, leave you inspired and humbled if not anything else.

So while I have cribbed about this last one year to whoever willing to listen (or read), this has been a roller coaster ride. Do I want to do it again? Are you kidding- one 5000 word WAC report is enough! But I would certainly recommend it. The red walls may signify “danger”, but they certainly have seen many battles lost and wars won.

 

-Madhura Prabhudesai (PGP 2016)

Golden Jubilee Convocation

Convocation

IIM Ahmedabad hosted the Golden Jubilee convocation for the batch of 2015 on March 21, 2015, at the famed LKP lawns. The Chief Guest for the convocation was Mr. Ajay Banga- PGP ‘81 and CEO, Mastercard.

Mr Banga spoke about his experience at IIMA and had some words of wisdom for the graduating batch. He spoke about the incredible learning opportunities he had obtained while at IIMA. “The first lesson you learn here on day one is that everyone around you is incredibly smart… You get a huge dose of humility on day one…something you probably were not used to before getting here. You quickly realize that you have something to learn from everyone around you.”

“You learn that the hardest thing is to simplify your thinking and communicate in a way that everyone around you can relate to,” he added. “It’s all about taking very complex thoughts and communicating them in the simplest possible way.”

The campus wore a festive look for the convocation ceremony. Students clapped and cheered as each of their batchmates received their coveted degrees, as the proud parents looked on. The best students of the batch, from an all-round achievement perspective, were felicitated with gold medals. A number of other awards were handed out at the convocation farewell function, such as the Outstanding Teacher Award to Prof. Saral Mukherjee, and the Outstanding Researcher Award to Prof. Anil K. Gupta.

As part of the convocation celebrations, a video retrospective of the IIMA’s journey over the last 50 years, was released on IIMA’s official Youtube channel. The video had a rare clip of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, speaking at the first convocation ceremony, as well as photos of the graduating batches over the years, some famous faces among them, whose achievements have made the institute proud.

We wish the Batch of 2015 all the best in their future endeavours, and trust that they will keep the flag of the institute flying high through all their actions in the future.

The entire convocation ceremony can be viewed here, on the official IIMA Youtube channel.

Picture courtesy Shashank

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/)

Inviting Applications for A Day @ IIMA – Joy of Giving Week

DayAtIIMA_JOYW_1

Like every year, IIM Ahmedabad would be celebrating Joy of Giving week this year from October 6 to 12. Prayaas, the NGO on campus, will be conducting this week. IIMA has a strong legacy of celebrating the Joy of Giving week with events such as Wish Tree, Clothes collection drive and A Day @IIMA. A Day @IIMA has been one of the most looked forward to events during the week.

A Day @ IIMA

In this event, people from outside the IIM Ahmedabad community will get a chance to spend a day at the campus and soak in the lifestyle of the campus of the most cherished B-School in the country. This event is scheduled to be held on Sunday  – October 12, 2014. In this event, a new batch of up to 90 students can spend a day in the campus and live it up with classes, case studies, quizzes, club interactions and campus tours. They will get the opportunity to interact with the students and the professors.

We take this opportunity to invite applications for participating in A Day @IIMA and urge them to send in their applications well within the timeline.

Procedure for Selection of A Day @ IIMA

The aspirants for the event have to fulfill the following criteria:

• Submit their thoughts on one of the following topics. The writeup should be

limited to 500 words.

o Primary Education

o Sanitation

o Healthcare

• Fill in basic details in this Google form

Submission to be made to email id: joyofgiving@iimahd.ernet.in

Submission format: JOGW_Name.doc

Any queries to be directed to the above mail id

Important Dates:

Launch of event participation: 20th September 2014

Submission Deadline: 25th September, 23:59:59

Result Announcement: 26th September, 23:59:59

Confirmation from participants: 27th September, 19:59:59

Waitlist movement and final list: 28th September, 23:59:59

Business Etiquette and Client Interaction Workshop

The Business Etiquette and Client Interaction workshop was held on 12th Feb with an impressive attendance of around 60-70 people comprising of PGP1s, PGP2s, PGPX and AFP. The workshop was conducted by Ms. Rama Moondra who is an IIM C alumnus and a listed Premium Educator with Harvard Business Publishing.

The workshop was divided into two sections; the first half of the workshop was devoted to role-plays where participants from the crowd had to enact a typical business situation in each of the sectors mentioned below:

  1. Consulting – Brainstorming session between a partner and his junior
  2. Investment Banking – A banker pitching for services of a potential client
  3. Healthcare – A committee meeting for tackling new diseases
  4. FMCG – Sales Review meeting for territory expansion
  5. Ecommerce – IT head and Sales head meeting to improve customer experience
  6. Media (entertainment media) – Promoting B2B advertising in entertainment media
  7. Startups – A new company pitching to a venture capitalist

After the 7 role-plays, the 2nd half of the session was devoted to feedback on the role-plays. The feedback included an introduction to the sector, how to deal with clients in a particular sector and relevant tips for working in the sector.

Apart from these role-plays the feedback session also touched on body language, content delivery and the right attitude to be followed in an organisation. It was a highly interactive session, one that completely did justice to its theme.

Snapshot from the workshop

 

The session was also video-recorded so that the participants to volunteered for roleplay, could have the feedback on their performance and the accompanying guidance on record. Overall, the workshop was a huge success with large attendance from students of all progams at IIM A and enthusiastic participation in the interactive session.

 

Music to WIMWI ears

The Indian Navy Band performed at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad on the 21st of February. The concert was organized by the ninth batch of the Armed Forces Programme 2013-14 and was the first of its kind at IIMA. The band had come all the way from Mumbai and has performed at numerous concerts across the globe.

The concert was a musical feast set against the (backdrop of the) amber hued Louis Kahn Plaza. The Band performed different forms and genres of music, producing a rich tapestry and embodying India’s abiding characteristic of ‘Unity in Diversity’. They left the audience awe struck by their magical performance. Their rendition of ‘Cornfield Rock’, ‘Bharat Humko Jaan Se Pyara’, ‘Rock and Roll Medley’, ‘Havana’ and ‘Sare Jahan Se Achcha’ were some of the highlights of their performance.

The turnout was overwhelming with the entire LKP filled with people who at times hummed to the tune of famous numbers like ‘Tum hi ho’, ‘Monica, Oh my Darling’ and at times were spell bound at the immaculate execution of tracks like ‘Toss the Feathers’, ‘The Final Countdown’.

The Director of IIMA Prof. Ashish Nanda praised and marvelled at the performance by the band and presented them with a token of appreciation. The concert ended with the Band playing the Indian National Anthem.

The concert was a true testimony to the glory of the Indian Navy Band and to the fact that the men in white know how to have their share of fun.

 Image

The Milky Way

The Agri-Business Club of IIM-A organized a visit to the Amul plant and a nearby village recently. Here’s what someone who was lucky enough to be a part of the trip had to say about it.

The Sunday started like any other with most of the students making the most of the late morning and waking up by 11. But post that, a long day lay ahead, entailing a visit to the Amul Factory in Anand. A big bus filled with students from IIM-A, with a higher proportion of PGP 1 students as compared to PGP 2s, reached the Amul factory by 2:30 pm. The visit started with a short session conducted by the PR Officer of the Amul plant. Within a small time span of 30 minutes, he covered the entire Amul story. Right from its origin, to the story behind the Amul butter girl and the operations of the factory at Anand. Many students asked questions associated with the operations, organization and marketing of the products, and most of the answers talked about implementation of the knowledge gained in class.

Post this session, we were taken on a visit of the plant. It started off with us observing a huge display of all Amul products, and most of us were surprised to see that the product range was more diverse than we had ever anticipated. Awestruck, we went around the plant to see the assembly line where milk powder and butter were manufactured. For a lot of us, it was the first time that we got to see an assembly line in action, which we have studied about in detail in our Operations Management class. For 15 minutes, the entire group kept peering in through the glass panes at the butter getting cut into cubes, and getting packaged at unbelievable speeds. For almost 2 hours we observed the operations of the plant and then proceeded to Bedwa village, only after we binged on the Amul products to our heart’s content.

After Anand, the group proceeded to Bedwa village, to observe the milk collection process. Being in a village was a unique experience for most of us. The process of milk collection was highly efficient and standardized. The fat content in the milk being brought was measured within seconds during the collection process, and payment was made to the villagers on the spot. The village was relatively more developed than what we had in mind, with all basic amenities such as electricity, continuous water etc. available, and also a bank branch and an ATM. Most of us believe that the contributions of Amul had a major role to play in that.

The entire trip was an amazing experience for all the students, and not one that we would forget in the near future. After all, the Amul girl has been around us since as long as we can remember, and we are pretty sure that she is here to stay eternally.

Qawalli at WIMWI!

Qawwali concert, an event organised by the Heritage club of IIMA, left the crowd completely mesmerized. Rafiq Warsi, a veteran in Qawwali, took the crowd to raptures by presenting a diminishing art form rarely seen today in such a pure form. Rafiqbhai is from ‘Agra Gharana’ and has been performing qawwali for the past 20 years. His expertise lies in Sufi qawwali and he sings composures of the legendary sufi saint ‘Amir Khusro Dehelvi’, who is credited with being the founder of qawwali. Rafiqbhai firmly believes in communal harmony and togetherness and promotes it through his performances. Tonite’s performance included well-known songs like ‘ali maula ali ali’, ‘duma dum mast kalandar’, ‘tum to thehre pardesi’, ‘hum ek hai’, among many others. This event adds to the growing fame of the Heritage Club of IIMA, formed with the objective of promoting Indian cultural art forms by giving an opportunity to the lesser known and struggling artists. And it promises to up-the ante next time. 

Do check out more pics on our Facebook page! 🙂ImageImage

IIMA’s Armed Forces Programme holds its first ‘Convergence’

For the first time, a conclave – “Convergence” – was organized by ninth batch of IIMA’s Armed Forces Programme. The event took place on 15th February 2014 at the KLMDC Conference Hall. Themed around “Nation Building through Ethics and Enterprise”, eminent speakers from the government and industry shared their perspectives with the audience in the one day-long event. Faculty members and students of the institution along with 64 participants of Armed Forces Program (AFP) attended the conclave.

Image

The event was inaugurated by Prof Arvind Sahay , Dean, Alumni and External relations. He said that he hoped that this first edition would set precedence for the coming AFP batches.  Mrs Rita Teaotia, IAS, Additional Secretary, DoT felicitated the discussion which revolved around the need to codify “Ethics” and how legality will strengthen the ethical stand of organizations.

The conclave, held over a day, had two panel discussions. The first session, ‘Bridging the Gap through Technology and Innovation’ had Mr. MV Kotwal, Member-Board, L&T and President, Heavy Engineering, L&T, Lt Gen(Retd) AK Chandele, Ex DGEME, Indian Army, Mr. JS Kochar, Executive Director, (n)Code Solutions and Prof Anil Gupta, Founder, Honeybee Network as panelists.  Prof Arvind Sahay while delivering the inaugural address hoped that the conclave will set a precedence for the coming AFP batches to follow and looked forward to insightful and interesting discussions. Mrs Rita Teaotia mentioned the need to codify ethics. She said legality will strengthen the ethical stand of organisations and citizens. Mr MV Kotwal found the topic relevant but difficult to put in words. He started of with examples like Aadhar and geospatial communications and their many applications. He elaborated on how indigenous technology and innovation resulted in marvels in the strategic sectors of nuclear, defence and aerospace and gave examples of innovation at work in L&T. He also hoped that the public-private equipment sourcing equilibrium tilts from existing 70-30  to 30-70. Lt Gen AKS Chandele, starting on a lighter note, said, he was told very early on in his military career ” Anything moving, salute it and anything standing, paint it.”Speaking on “Bridging the gap through technology and innovation”, he spoke on how the Indian Army’s Technology Centres were fostering innovation at a divisional level.He also addressed the need for modernisation of the equipment of Indian Army. Prof Anil Gupta conducted the panel discussion flawlessly and was able to successfully steer the course to an extremely insightful and educational discourse.

Image

The second panel discussion saw a mélange of speakers starting with Mr Ravi Saxena, IAS (Retd), Ex Addl Secy, Gujarat Government, Mr. KV Viswanathan, Additional Solicitor General, Govt of India, Mr. RS Sodhi, MD, GCMMF and Mr. Nayan Parikh, CEO, Nayan Parikh & Consultants, sharing their views on ‘Ethics in Governance’.  The second panel discussion saw a melange of speakers, starting with MrRS Sodhi who spoke on the value systems at AMUL, set in place by Dr.Verghese Kurien and how he selected employees based on their integrity. He said AMUL was born because of the social unrest caused by unethical practices of Polson dairy.Mr KV Viswanthan gave an insight into corporate governance and about how many clauses in the companies act 2013 were codification of ethical practices. He asked a pertinent question ” Is ethics doing what is right or doing what is right for you”. Mr Ravi Saxena elaborated on corruption, its types and its causes. He gave some amazing statistics about the extent of corruption in the modern world. He also brought out references from Upanishads, the Holy Bible and Kautilya’s Arthashastra which talk about governance and its role in a prosperous and peaceful society. Summing it up, Mr Nayan Parikh, the moderator said that ethics is for each individual to decipher and act upon and every individual irrespective of the legality does know right from wrong. He also said that governance should create a framework where the practice of ethics is encouraged and it gradually the ethical way becomes the only way to live your life.

The discussion was enlightening and witnessed exemplary speakers who shared their opinions and experiences. It covered a wide canvas of topics that included empowerment through technology and innovation, self-reliance, institutional reforms to improve transparency in corporate governance and nation building through public-private partnerships.

Kudos to the AFP team for a successful event!