On 28th morning, the new Umeed team formed as part of Utsaha continued with their welfare activities. The team reached Janpav Kutti at 10 a.m. and began with a workshop on basic sanitation practices for the children there. Advice along with demonstration was conducted, on inculcating habits such as: Washing hands before and after meals; Not indulging in open defecation and washing of hands after; Primary care when one is suffering from cold & cough to prevent it from spreading to others around; Self-sanitation practices including taking a bath everyday. The children were enthusiastic and promised to follow the measures and teach everyone around them to follow them as well. Colourful handouts with pictures were distributed to the children who promised to stick them up in visible places.
After this, a workshop on making LED bulbs was held for interested men and women in the village, with the support of the village sarpanch. LED bulbs are safe and consume much lesser electricity than other options; LED bulbs sell in the retail market for Rs. 200 a piece. Raw materials were made available during the workshop for a few trial pieces to be made- once everyone is comfortable with the process, a continuous supply of raw materials will be made available. The sarpanch plans to facilitate selling of the bulbs (to be priced at Rs. 50) as well as usage in their own homes. The young men in the village, some of whom are tech-savvy were even introduced to the idea of selling products including the handicrafts made by the village women online.
All in all, a morning well spent. A press release was then sent out in the early hours of the evening along with a bunch of nice pictures.
In the evening, the farewell, Au Revoir for the senior batch was held. There was a dance performance by Vibes, the dance club; kela awards were given out for random achievements including ‘best maggu’ and ‘hottest couple’. The seniors were all dressed in colourful ethnic wear- the women in sarees and the men in kurtas and jeans/dhotis/pyjamas. A photo-booth had been setup with a bunch of funny props and dinner had been arranged. The evening was a myriad of colour and emotion. It was hard to digest that the IPM seniors we’d gotten so used to having around for the last 4 years would no longer be on campus to share stories and dole out advice. People were sad to be leaving the place they’d called home for over 2 years; everyone pretended to be happy at this last evening when the whole batch was celebrating together.
29th began with an SM quiz at 2:30 p.m. - the quiz followed the exact same pattern as the last one and was fairly simple. There was then an SM class right after. I then headed to the Admissions Office to pass on an applicant’s request for rescheduling of his IIM-Indore interview- the Admissions Office is swamped with emails and phone calls at this time of the year and more often than not, they fail to respond to queries and requests. Luckily, this issue was resolved by the next afternoon.
There was then an RCB class; the football league continued in the evening.
One batch-mate was particularly sad to see the seniors leaving and put all his feelings down into a rather long e-mail that he sent to everyone- perhaps it was meant, in part, to be a reflection of everyone else’s unsaid feelings too!
Tuesday i.e. 1st March began with a LAB class followed by a Finance class and then another LAB class in the evening where we discussed patents, copyrights and trademarks. The prep comm team was finally announced after a week-long, rigorous selection process. The official placement report was published and that definitely got people talking- the first-ever IPM Batch participated in placements this year and that result was something that a lot of people were watching very keenly. The placements seem to have been better than the last year, with an increase in the average salary and the number of recruiters; many first-time recruiters made an appearance and a few recruiters showed up on campus after a considerably long hiatus.
In the evening, there was an article review to be sent in for the workshop on leadership- we were to pick any article in a leading journal that has leadership as its central theme and review it. I picked an article from the Leadership Quarterly that is the first of its kind- path-breaking literature. A lot of literature exists on the challenges women face in the corporate world, and the unbreakable glass ceiling that they inevitably encounter for a variety of reasons. This article dealt with the challenges and obstacles that women face after they’ve successfully shattered the glass ceiling- the daily predicaments of women in top leadership roles in the corporate world- as CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies and the like. They face resistance from their colleagues and subordinates and continue to be subjected to judgments being drawn up about their physical appearance and leadership styles. The same attributes that are seen as positives in male leaders are judged as clear negatives for female bosses. The first step to changing something, especially something like an attitude that is deeply rooted, is to realise that it exists, to acknowledge its existence in our lives. Only then can we actively work to changing what is needed. The worst part is that women must rely on MEN in the workplace to acknowledge these obstacles as reality and work to change them- for the women all face these, every single day; it is the men who are oblivious to or choose to ignore (or worse, perpetrate) the injustice around them- their numerical strength puts them in an obvious position of driving or participating in the change.
I was a little concerned about my review being a little too opinionated but our mentor reassured me saying that opinionated leaders are the need of the hour.
Debsoc held an event in the evening- their annual Hooked & Booked where each participant gets 3 minutes to pitch a book/movie to the audience and the judges. I looked on forlornly, as I walked slowly past where the event was taking place- I was even called out to by one of the Debsoc members who asked me to participate. I had to refuse and head up to the acad block for class instead. I remember participating in an older edition of the same event where I’d turned up without any preparation and made a hilarious pitch about a Durjoy Dutta book. Some lines in the book I will honestly never be able to forget.
After class, we settled in my room, mainly discussing the placement report- that’d been the topic of discussion since it came out. We were feeling a little lazy and very hungry and decided to give the newly launched Airlift service a try. They have setup a website, replete with tempting photographs of the food on offer and a login in access. It asked for a detailed address which even included the country- they could easily do with just the hostel/room numbers and we thus found this absurd. We promptly keyed in SR12, Kampala, Uganda. Not surprisingly, our food was indeed delivered to the right address in about half an hour. Anyway, it’s a rather useful service that’s definitely here to stay!
2nd march i.e. Wednesday began with one single LAB class- the term is coming to an end and there aren’t a lot of classes left to happen. We had a Finance Quiz in the evening- the third one this term; there’s apparently one more to go. Anyway, the Finance quizzes are short and interesting so no one really minds.
Right after the quiz, we strolled to the faculty mess to get some maggi. Maggi has not just regained its popularity, but has in fact managed to soar in popularity after its comeback following the brief hiatus owing to the ban.
There was a Retorica event in the evening- an open house debate on the Budget and another on the JNU issue. Prizes were handed out to the best speakers in each debate.
Meanwhile, we received an email announcing the launch of bi-weekly yoga classes in the evenings. We received another email stating that the night mess would remain closed for pest-control related activities- a flurry of emails followed this one. The night mess has its scheduled weekly off on Thursdays and no one was very happy about this maintenance taking place on a Wednesday night. Some PGP2’s even lamented the loss of their chance to have a last meal at the night mess and take ‘one-last-time’ selfies. The last time this’d happened, the student complaints led to the maintenance being rescheduled to Thursday but this time, nothing.
The good part about the gates being fitted with CCTV cameras is that one no longer needs to make an entry in the student register- one has to merely smile for the camera before heading out. Perhaps, they’ll eventually do away with physical record-keeping altogether seeing as this place is all about emails anyway.
Thursday morning began with the last LAB session, a Finance class and then the last SM session. The professor ended the last session with a quiz- that’s just how things work around here!
There were a host of meetings to attend in the evening, what with all the new fest teams springing into action before we leave for our term break. It began with an i5Summit media team meeting at JAM where we discussed relevant media activities that ought to be undertaken in an endeavour to scale-up the event this year.
There was then a meeting of all the vertical coordinators for Utsaha- the coordinator had decided to hold the meeting in his room- I’d questioned this, wondering how it was possible for nearly 15 people to fit in one hostel room. I turned out to be wrong and somehow, we all fit comfortably. We spent about an hour discussing ideas to get more corporate partners handing out projects and wondered whether it would be okay to get some sponsors since Utsaha has typically been funded by the fees paid by the corporate partners for successful completion of the projects handed out.
I then headed up for an IRIS all-hands meeting- all the members of the senior team were present and this was more like an induction session that began with everyone introducing themselves and ended with small groups being formed and work-related discussions ensuing.
Right after, we had the last session of our leadership workshop. We filled in a questionnaire to determine our leadership style; we then filled in a feedback for our mentor. By this point, given that it was well past 2 a.m., we headed back to our rooms, via the night mess of course.
Friday began with an RCB class at 2 p.m. and an SDM class at 5 p.m. - where we were to discuss a case that dealt with a District Sales Manager making promotion/warning/firing/no action decisions about all the salespersons in a particular district- enough quantitative as well as qualitative data about the salespersons had been provided to help us make these decisions. We’d even submitted a group assignment outlining our decisions and the reasons for taking those decisions. The highlight of the SDM class was a quiz we had- this was the kind of quiz that they talk about in stories and movies. 40% of the quiz had questions about the case for that session; another 40% asked us to state the decisions made by our groups about each of the 8 salespersons while the last question asked whether we’d finalized a product and made any field visits for our industry analysis group project. The quiz was clearly aimed at identifying the level of coordination within the group more than anything else.
I managed to get my LAB assignment printed right after class- we had to pick from a list of cases spanning 6 categories (one case from each category), read about it and then state in detail the facts of the case, the principle of law used and the future implications of the ruling.
Later in the evening, I drew up a presentation for the Leadership Workshop- we were to pick a company that had faced a crisis sometime in the past and describe how they had successfully responded to the situation, effectively handling the crisis. We picked ICICI Bank’s response during the 2008 global financial crisis and how they effectively averted a loss of consumer trust.
There wasn’t much to do on Saturday other than an SDM class where the case discussion continued from where it left off in the last class.