Posts filed under ‘Bloggers of class (2010)’
Great Lakes Management – We thank you!!! The sessions with Mr.Vittal, former Central Vigilance Commissioner, as part of a course on Ethics and Governance have been awesome. They have been thought provoking. During the course of 5 sessions Mr. Vittal covered so much about life in business and politics. He shared his experiences and showcased how one can change one’s methods to adapt to times and yet stick to one’s values. One of the topics he discussed was the rampant corruption in government and business. To borrow his words – “the nexus of the Neta, babu, lala, jhola, and dada”. He raised concerns over corrupt people’s innovative abilities.
Mr. Vittal highlighted the various issues involved in staying true to one’s values. He used anecdotes to great effect and illustrated how the individual and society together create rules of engagement. Students posed queries on various ethical dilemmas they have encountered which elicited some very interesting viewpoints. The delightful part was that he encouraged all sort of questions – the dirtier, the better he said. Mr. Vittal’s ideas and learning drew inspiration from various sources including several scriptures of great importance such as the Bhagwad Gita. Often discounted as simply religious texts, he proved that these are sources of abundant knowledge for life and business alike.
During one of the discussions, he stated that Corruption Free Service should be made a part of our fundamental rights in a bid to tackle corruption. He threw light on how Indian civil servants have converted corruption into a low risk, high return industry. To a question on whether lobbying, if legalised, can help control corruption levels and moderate the politician-businessman nexus, he answered in the affirmative. The US Lobbying industry has flourished in the legalised format. We could take a leaf out of their book and create a similar system in India. This would help rid of a lot of black money in the market. Further, it will give a chance to the common man to voice his/her interests. We could use a Pro bono publico system to achieve the same. A report by World Audit ranked India 64th in corruption in the world. Perhaps we need to LOBBY to legalize LOBBYING in India.
None of us wanted Mr. Vittal’s lectures to end but they had to! However, learning the importance of ethics in governance and business from a person of Mr. Vittal’s stature is indeed truly rewarding…
- Prannoy Kankaria
When we think of role models, rarely do we think in terms of the common man. It is always some celebrity or star or expert that we think of and aspire to emulate and become. But, as we have learnt over the last few weeks, there are numerous men and women in this country who work ceaselessly, away from the dizzying lime lights of fame and glory. Rather, suffice it to say that these men and women are quite happy to do their duties that befit their positions and context, they find themselves in. They are worthy of emulation because of the commitment and sincerity with which they go about performing those duties. This is a post about one such person – Ravi, the headmaster of the Government high school in the village of Vengampakkam, around 10 kms from Mahabalipuram and close to our institute’s campus. We have learnt a lot just by observing him in action.
The Karma Yoga program built into our schedules here, not only provides an opportunity to work at the grassroots level in the villages around our institute, but also gives us an opportunity to empower these villagers in ways that we can. When the village of Vengampakkam was assigned to us, we wasted no time in deciding to visit the school and learning what the students might require of us. The very first time, we met Ravi, it was evident that he was not somebody who is a stereotypical Government servant, one who basks in the security of his job and hardly bothers with anything else. He immediately sensed that we can help the students of class 8 and 9 with the basics of computer education. He led us to a locked room where many systems were lying unused and explained that the school does not have computer literate teachers to make use of them.
We devised a plan to teach Office Software to the students. Mr. Ravi made sure that the best students of class 8 and 9 get to learn from us. We realized the sincerity of his intention and made every effort to make the students understand, starting from the very beginning. After 2-3 sessions, Ravi wanted to learn how to operate the laptop he had. The Government, contrary to what we might believe, has provided these schools with a laptop each. We taught him how he can make use of technology to carry out day-day activities of the school like tracking teacher and student records. His eagerness to learn something entirely new and master it completely is a lesson in itself.
On one of our visits, he spoke to us at length on some of the proposals that we had for the village. We learnt that, instead of expecting something we preconceive, we need to first assess the exact state of affairs that was prevailing. The school for example, neither has adequate number of teachers nor has enough space to accommodate all the students in classrooms. Some of the students, as a result, learn algebra and physics sitting in the tree shade. The compound wall of the school is not complete, neither is there a proper gate. The students do not have proper sanitation facilities. They do not even have the access to clean drinking water. One would assume that in this kind of an environment, there is hardly any motivation to make things happen. Yet, strong willed men and women don’t need cozy offices and furnished spaces to effect change. We wanted to plant saplings around the school building. We wanted his help to spread word among the students’ parents about the availability of expert guidance from MS Swaminathan research center (in Chennai) on matters concerning agriculture and cattle rearing. He lent a patient ear to all of these and gave his valuable inputs. Hence, It is the intention to effect change and the sincerity of purpose that ultimately matters!
Mr. Ravi told us that the students should get motivated by seeing us, talking to us and learning from us. He asked us to teach the students only in English (even though the school follows Tamil as medium of instruction) so that they make every effort to understand what we speak. So, we taught these students computers, algebra, physics, poetry and General Knowledge in simple English. We counseled the students on the career options available to them after higher secondary. Seeing their eagerness to learn, we felt glad. Mr. Ravi assigned a teacher to every class we taught in, so that she gets to observe us, as we teach and later incorporate some of it into her own style when she engages the students in English. He also briefed us on how he has to rely on PTAs (Parent Teacher associations) for each and every approval. He spoke about the mindset of the students as they progress to give their board examinations and the school’s results. He shared his intention to instill in every student, the spark necessary to continue his/her education after passing out from the school. As he spoke to some of the students, we could see that he was being a disciplinarian and a father figure at the same time. Inspecting the mid day meal, he showed us what the students have for lunch. He is a man on a mission, not that of changing the face of a large corporation or a huge country overnight, but that of laying the foundation stones for a section of people to slowly progress – people, to whom, a decent existence is still an ideal.
Our country needs men and women of the mettle of Mr. Ravi, people who are unfazed by the difficulties that stare them in the face and who don’t care for any reward and recognition. The only thing that matters to them is how they can improve the lives of the people around them in whatever small measures they can! They are well and truly, our nation’s silent foot soldiers.
- Sivaraman Natarajan
“Rain rain go away” is not the rhyme one recollects often in Chennai and August is not the time you expect it to rain. But with this Gladiators batch, the weather has changed so much. It has been raining, like it does in Mumbai or Kerala. We often pinch and ask ourselves if we are in Chennai.
After incessant rains, Rain Gods took a break on Sunday morning (22-Aug-2010) to make way for a pleasant day. It was not just another Sunday for us – we had planned to conduct an Eye camp for the villagers in Nallur and Nathamkariacheri villages near our campus, as part of our ‘Karma Yoga’ initiative. It had taken us three weeks of planning and groundwork – we had roped in a reputed Eye hospital from Chennai, coordinated with two village heads, found a common venue for the camp, roped in an Optical shop, spread word around in the villages by distributing pamphlets – and we were waiting for the D-day.
At least 20 villagers seemed to be punctual and were present when the camp started at 10 am. We put up banners at important locations like bus stops and village ration shops to direct people to the camp venue. Women, mostly in their 50s and 60s, turned up in good numbers. One of them, who seemed to be in her late 50’s, did not know her age – she said it is 40! Many others did not know their address, the details we needed during the registration.
A health camp or an eye camp is a place where we get a chance to show our communication skills. Some of us went around the villages to get the people to come for the eye screening. One of us remarked – “It was like marketing a new product or a service – people are not willing to take it even if it is free”. We won over many of them and brought them to the camp. The other tough part was to convince the old people to undergo the cataract surgery at the hospital. They believed a pair of spectacles would rectify their eye problem.
It was poignant that some of the old people who visited the camp did not have anyone to take care of them. They were still laboring on their own for their living. We tried to persuade one old lady with poor vision to undergo the surgery. She pleaded with us that she cannot afford to miss her daily wages even for a few days. She also did not have anyone who would look after her after the surgery. We finally managed to send five people to the hospital for surgery on the same day. The rest told us they would come some other day, but we resolved to follow up with them.
We had already screened around 100 people in our camp when rain started playing pranks again, around half past twelve. By 1:30 pm, it started raining continuously and we were nearing the end of the camp. After the screening we sent back the people by buses and vans to their respective villages. Finally, we wound up at 2:30 pm with some of us completely drenched in the rains.
In the end, we all came back with lots of satisfaction, having given our best, to serve and uplift our fellow human beings who live around us. Rain did not deter us and did not stop the villagers either. In fact, it made way for us in the morning. We once again realized that when we do good things selflessly, things fall in place – the spirit of Karma Yoga prevailed!
Photo Courtesy: Tripti Motwani
It is amazing how a group of creative thoughts can bind and rejuvenate your spirits even on a tiring day. Here is an instance that takes you through the magic of creativity and curiosity.
You might think, it’s almost impossible to attract students for a voluntary academic discussion given that their day was packed with a Human Resource Management Quiz, a mammoth Managerial Accounting assignment and a three-hour class apart from a visit to the nearby villages as part of their Karma yoga course. Not humanly possible, isn’t it?
But hey, at Great Lakes, we are witnessing the emergence of a new species. Driven by curiosity and the desire to excel more than 100 Gladiators came together to experience marketing in a new avatar. The Marketing Acumen Club (MAC) organized its first official Knowledge Meet, Konnect on the 5th of July and it proved to be a resounding success. Here is a snapshot of events as they panned out.
The curiosity started building up, right from the day before the event. Gladiators (Class of 2011) were intrigued by some interesting illustrations placed in strategic locations depicting a whole new interpretation of marketing concepts. While everybody knew that it was Siddesh’s (our very own R.K Laxman) creative genius that was behind the illustrations, there was some confusion, as far as the source of the thought was concerned. All the illustrations drove attention to the date and venue of the event and the turnout was a testimony to the success of the campaign.
GDP meets Marketing
As the seats filled up, the show began with the setting of an interview room with our very own GDP (Gayatri Deshpande) finding herself in the last round of HUUL’s placement process. The interviewers (Ujjawal and Nitin) looked in good spirits but little did they know of the catastrophe that awaited them. The next 5 minutes found the audience go crazy with laughter as GDP redefined Marketing to the world leaving the interviewers in a sate of delusion. The 4P’s found a whole new meaning with Presumption, Pomp, Presentation and Promise replacing the obsolete ancient framework.
Soccer and Marketing
The interview culminated to set the stage in order, as it was now the turn of Marketing and Advertising fundas to find a place in the packed soccer stadiums of South Africa. The trilogy of creativity, stars and strategy left the audience spell bound as Atul, Rahul and Priyambad took the audience through the enthralling campaigns of Nike, Adidas and Pepsi targeted to leverage the global appeal of the Soccer World cup. Not only did the audience enjoy the presentation but also vehemently expressed their views about the strategic nature of the campaigns and whether they assumed critical mass of generate a significant RoI.
Quiz and the brands dominating Great Lakes
Next in line was an attempt to highlight the Stars at Great Lakes who have already created a brand for themselves. Right from the ingenious efforts of our very own Newspaper Hero, Narendran to the Mach 2 speaking speed of Shefali, the branding satiated the glamour desire of our stars, at least for the evening. Hey, how can a MAC event go without testing the wits of the participants? Priyambad came up with a short, yet intriguing quiz that touched different tenets of the marketing function. Right from strategy to creativity, almost everything found a mention and guess what, the Gladiators were up for the challenge. One reply after the other, the three teams (total audience was divided into three teams) were at their competitive best and the result was a fantastic show that revealed a lot that was unexplored and stimulated learning, that, only a quiz can pull off.
The Fate of Nokia
Next on the menu was the ‘intellect’ heavy Nokia case study prepared by Ujjawal and Vishal that highlighted the strategic dilemma of the global giant in the present context. The case description got the Gladiators thinking and the managerial acumen reached its pinnacle as the moderators left the floor open for discussion. Right from the technical imbroglios of the Symbian Platform to the pricing dynamics of the premium segment phones, the professional diversity and thought leadership of the Gladiators found an apposite platform to express itself. The event ended with a thunderous round of applause from the audience that made all the effort of the MAC team worth it. It is these special days, thoughts, people and the camaraderie that make Great Lakes, an experience, so magnificent.
On the 26th of November, 2009, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji blessed the green campus of the Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, with his divine presence. The occasion was the inauguration of the MILK (Meditation and Inspiration Center for Living and Kindness).
While taking a look at the proposed plan of meditation centre at Great Lakes Institute of Management Guruji said,” We need to convert the square places into to quixotic places. It should be zigzag. Management is converting the squares into rounds and then again rounds back into squares. Management is all about just going along with what exists. Not making something new but going along what is there already.”
Great Lakes is fresh out of the inauguration of facilities on the campus: Bajaj Piazza, Bajaj Bistro, India Cements Amphitheater. The swanky Piazza houses Table Tennis, Gym, carom, student activity center. Talking of Table Tennis, Ramya Ramesh of Class of 2010 is a national level Table Tennis player, and I must tell you, guys are scared of playing against her.
Its midnight and the glittering water fountains are such a wonderful sight that it feels like spending the whole night looking at them, but gosh! Need to complete that Empirical Research submission.
Got to rush to my room, but before I forget we have yet another dazzling ceremony ahead of us. Honorable Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Thiru M.K. Stalin is visiting our campus. We are eagerly awaiting to listen to the words of this charismatic leader.
That night, as I was walking towards the water dispenser to fill water in my bottle; I noticed a massive space ship landed beside my hostel block. It was badly damaged, lacerated all over the spherical surface fuming red hot sulphuric acid gases. On its way, the space ship must have hit the light post and the adjacent compound wall, for the wall was no more and the flag post melting under the exposed heat of the ship’s surface. The spherical ship was balanced on a tripod that extended into the ground floor corridors of the hostel block and curiously enough, one of the legs pierced through the cement structure above the stair case as if the structure was virtually inexistent for the sphere’s legs.
Everything was happening so fast that I failed to notice the sphere’s apparently wavy surface. With every foreign particle that hits the surface of the sphere, the disturbance created by the impact traveled through the cross sectional surface of the sphere in waves or undulations, it was as if one was holding a mat at one end and flipping it.
Then as if I struck the right chord of my memory coil, it occurred to me that the sphere might as well be a projection of a five dimensional body into the world of four dimensions. The ship was not complete, what I saw was a projection of ship, a gross reduction of actuality.
Now a clank and then with a hissing noise, the door of the space ship opened. As minutes passed by, I watched the unfurling of the episode with great curiosity. But, for a long while, nothing dramatically significant happened apart from the light inside the sphere dissipating. I could not fight the irresistible urge to enter the ship any longer, so I descended the stair case to reach the door, pulled open the door ajar and the door fell onto the floor caressing the ground on one end, while still latched in its position on the other end. The insides of the ship were infinitely superior to any technology I was hitherto exposed to on earth; some consoles had differential equations written on it. A huge screen in the middle of the ship displayed numbers and their equivalents in music compositions written in chord progressions. Perhaps the mode of communication was no longer English, it was perhaps mathematics and music.
A case with words ‘to earth men’ inscribed on it was left in a protective shield encased with a plastic resin of some sort that I never found on earth. I carefully loosened the grips and removed the case from its original locked position. It was closed with a number lock. I looked around and could not find anything, and then I turned the case upside down to reveal in a dent carved in the bottom, a series of numbers. It was a puzzle, I sat down and after few failed attempts, I was able to open the case. The case had a metallic disc in it protected in a plate of viscous fluid. I cleaned the disc off the fluid and made a vain attempt at comprehending the grooved inscriptions on it. Something was bothering me, the thought that the whole episode unfurled as if someone deliberately planned it like this, for I was previously acquainted with the particular number series, otherwise I wondered, if I would have ever deciphered the truly ingenious puzzle. The viscous fluid trap was also easy, for I knew beforehand that the tip of the object should be held up exactly vertical for over two minutes and the fluid slips off the plate all by itself. Without prior knowledge, one would have hurt himself terribly with the fluid’s awfully superior property of eating into human’s skin and bones.
It took a while, but eventually I accepted the unnerving conclusion that the disc was indeed designed by me in 2009. Blenched with fear, I began palpitating incessantly, how long have I been asleep? What is the current year?
“WHAT!? WHY!? HOW!?”
“Eww… look at that!”
“Yuck! What a sight!”
“What’s that sticking out of that thing!?”
“How can something so big and round be so sickening!?”
“Ohh… I think I’m gonna be sick!”
“Arrhh!… I think I’m having a heart attack…”
These were but some of the reactions I got when I went to class on the morning of 4th october, 2008… Now before you crazy heads out there think that I have something sticking out from somewhere let me tell me confirm I don’t! (have it sticking out I mean!!)
Ahh! 3rd October, 2008! A day to remember! 2 Exams back-to-back, 3 case studies, 3 assignment submissions, 2 classes, 1 presentation preparation… all in the span of a mere 8 hours of college time… ofcourse for us students, it was a matter of days and days of preparation… not to mention sleepless nights… groups of 5-6 working together towards the common goal – Come out alive by the end of the day!
Some one told me that day “George, 3rd October is one day we will never forget in our lives” True! We will never ever forget that day. Especially me… since 3rd October, THE most fantastic day yet in our MBA studies, also happened to be my Birthday!!! And what a way to celebrate the day!
The reason for the comments in the beginning were due to a fit of insanity I had after this day… What did I do? I went tonsured my head! I guess I was half expecting the barber fellow to slip and cut off my head in the process… but unluckily for me, he was a through professional…
Now I’ve gone from Brahman to Bhrandan! (mad man) See pic below…
And my roommate Mr. Vivek also calls me “Shrek” now… and he also took a pic of mine to prove the point! Please see below!
The Shrek Avatar