It was yet another day at campus, but there was something really special about it….something which had brought all hands to work together, all minds to ponder on planning and execution and all preparations to make it gargantuan as it was so exceptional to all of us…yes it was; the Great Lakes Founders Day and an accolade to the Man behind the Show, our very own Uncle Bala (Dr. Bala V. Balachandran) to complete his platinum jubilee. It was his 75th birthday and indeed a big day for all of us as we would be enlightened with a lot more insights into his life and achievements and would get to know how the place where we are now came into being and its journey through excellence. This called for a grand celebration, so we were all game to “Make it Large”.
We were all excited and in high spirits as it would be the first ever event for “The Mighty Mamallas”. And when it’s a B-school it had to be the “Manager’s way”, Events committee took the charge and made an Agenda for the Grand Day; and to augment our exhilaration there was yet another add-on to the list “PGDM inaugural ceremony”. So now it was even bigger, with a series of events to take place the very day. With the grueling schedule of lectures, seminars, quizzes and various curriculum related activities, we were still energetic to plan and prepare for the day to come. In the retrospect of the beginning of our course, we realized that we were a huge bunch of talents and recognized it through the “Student Talent Activity”. So now it was just the task to putting all the pieces together and put up the show. Many of us volunteered for the performances we wanted to do and charted out the sequence. It was tiring, overloading, grilling yet it was thrilling, amusing and exciting to put your heart and soul into it. Late night sessions of practice, rushing after the lectures to catch up with sleep, coming up with new ideas to make it creative and distinct was our routine for the entire week. Lot of cultural performances – dance, music, play, video clips, and graffiti were on the cards.
So here we were at the grand day for grandeur of celebrations. The day had 3 major sessions to take place – Founders Day, PDGM inauguration and Uncle Bala’s 75th Birthday celebration.
The amphitheater was chockfull with not only students but some new faces, The Junior Mamallas and some very distinguished people reflecting lot of wisdom and experience; they were the dignitaries who came down all the way to congratulate Uncle Bala for his wonderful journey and be the man to take Great Lakes to such heights. The event began with a video about Uncle Bala’s life right from his childhood till how Great Lakes came into being. This video was dedicated to all his achievements and struggle throughout his life persistently with great power of thoughts turned out to be a visionary. During his speech and interactions he has always guided us with his own laws like “Be distinct or be extinct”; “There is no free lunch”, “Ability with Humility”; we could picturesque all that now through his real life experiences and how he made his way out through all the challenges and maladies and made his way into the list of Top 10 Global Indian Thought Leaders. Not only academics where he completed his Ph.d in record time of 2 years, there is a lot more to his cadre of accomplishments. He was part of Indian army when China called a war on India in 1962. He joined Kellogg’s School of Management as Assistant Professor and in a mere time of 3 years became a Professor. Being one of the founders of MDI, Gurgaon and ISB, Hyderabad, he has been instrumental in promotion of Management Education in the country. For all this, it would not be hard to believe that he was honored with the 3rd highest civilian award by the Government of India “`Padma Shri”.
Dignitaries like A Mahendran, MD – Godrej Hershley Ltd; Padma Shri & Padma Bhushan laureates Mr. N. Vittal, Mr. K. Raghavendra Rao, Dr. S.S. Badrinath; Mr. Gopal Srinivasan, Chairman & MD – TVS Capital Funds & Mr. B.S. Naidu all came together to bestow their wishes on the splendid success of the institute and congratulate the Man of the Moment “Uncle Bala”.
Watch the extensive capture of Uncle Bala’s persistent efforts and achievements: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM0A_q7dLt0&feature=player_embedded
PGDM Inauguration – Campus Dedication Day
The ceremony made all of us nostalgic and we were taken into the flashback as to how we were addressed with a warm welcome, a formal ceremony with distinguished guests to be a part of this renowned institute which is now so much like our home. The rousing part of it was to know how it all happened as now we were the part of managing and witnessing this ceremony (it’s always good to know the other side of the fence) to welcome the very first batch of PGDM students and most importantly the delight of having juniors as we were the first ever batch to experience this. And it was big, in fact gigantic because of the esteemed personality to be the Guest of Honor – Dr K Rosaiah, Governor of Tamil Nadu. As a tradition, the ceremony began with an invocation song, this time presented by students from villages of Karma Yoga, our Leadership Experiential Project. The song “Thamizh Thai Vazhthu” sung in Tamil by the small kids mesmerized all. Following which Uncle Bala presented to our honorable guest – Dr. K Rosaiah the Ponnadai (A silk cloth in golden color put around the neck like a garland for respecting the august presence of a VIP). Dr. Rosaiah lauded the efforts of Uncle Bala and his vision of putting Chennai on the international management education map, which eventually led to the setting up of the Great Lakes Institute of Management. Present among the special guests were Mr. Shantanu Prakash, founder of Educomp Solutions, shared his vision to transform the teaching-learning process through the use of technology and best practices and Mr. Mohan Lakhamraju, Director – Great Lakes.
We now knew how our very own institute was not just a center of management education but had been built upon dreams and vision to take it to the heights of one of the most premier centers of learning and excellence and its backbone is one man “Uncle Bala”. His vision for Great Lakes is providing Quality Education at an affordable cost and building Human Capital for Emerging Economies, while remaining true to its core ideals of ‘Global mindset, Indian roots’. A visionary who foresaw a sea change in management practices in the aftermath of globalization, has redefined modern management education in India, for which we dedicated this campus to him for his obstinate efforts. The ceremony ended with National Anthem and it was now time to give some relief to our taste buds with the grand lunch and to be on the marks for the fun filled cultural event that we had all planned and prepared for the day.
Birthday Boy: blowing the candles!!
Fun, Frolic & Celebration!!
Here came the most awaited part of the entire day which each one of us had been yearning for, to make our mark in the golden pages of the institute. Needless to mention that all the preparations and exertions were dedicated to the Man of the day, rather it would be apposite to call him our “Hero” – to dear Uncle Bala. Ever heard a birthday celebration without a cake? Could not be, so we had the birthday boy blowing candles over his giant 75th birthday cake and the theatre roared with applause and ecstasy. We could not think of a present that could match up to the caliber of the dignified man so we decided to extend to him the attitude of support and our hands reaching out to the world to accomplish his vision in the form of graffiti. We were also proud to launch our official magazine “Gravity” – current issue: Technology for Inclusive innovation on this auspicious occasion. The inspiring words from Uncle Bala encouraged us to feel at home and give in our best to the institute.
The Mighty Mamallas had set the stage on fire with a series of performances – songs, dances, poems, music and a skit. It was a magnificent start with a flash mob performance followed by some impressive Bollywood dance performances. And that was not all, no celebration can go on without our band of boys – PAAST and this time they were “Rolling in the Deep”, entire auditorium tuning to their every beat. And the list goes on with exuberant pieces of talent impending turn by turn. Most mirthful of all was the skit – “Meaningful Cinema” which left all of us rolling into our seats. It was a blend of mockery of Bollywood stars and scenes and a satire on management education, but was heartfelt with the theme – “Forget all the logics, just laugh your heart out”. It was super fun and we made it the most happening day till now. No wonder why they say “The more the merrier”. We were all spellbound with a sense of accomplishment and content in our hearts to “Make it Large”.
Watch the amazing performances: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGf2rWj19ao&feature=related; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuRcu8fGBQs; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foRPx9d3itQ