Wednesday, August 25, 2010

GIMME A BREAK: Freshers Party for the MBA Batch of 2010-12

The 1st orientation week was quite hectic with the faculty and seniors giving us some hard time with their ides of serious fun. Hardly slept!! Anyways the next week began and we found ourselves in the DAM class starring at the slide show and subsequently this became a way of life. That was quite monotonous and to add insult to injury were the attributes of quizzes, presentations, assignments and what not.

While passing by a group of seniors, we heard the five letter word “PARTY”. It gained weight when one of them prefixed it with the word “FRESHERS”. Just the mention of a party rejuvenated our souls and so it all began. Seniors enlightened us that there will be two parties. One was which the college hosted in form of a formal lunch. The best part of which was the “DYNAMITE SOUP” which made us doubt the credibility of rest of the food. Anyways, that part ended and we landed back to hostel safe and sound.

The second one was an informal party hosted by our seniors and this was something highly anticipated. Finally, the day dawned. In marketing terms “CONSUMER SATISFACTION IS WHEN DELIVERY MEETSEXPECTATIONS” and it was nothing less than that. I can vouch for it. The theme set up for the party was 'TWINS' - People had to come paired up like twins & there were cases of Siamese twins too wearing identical outfits and posing for shutterbugs!

When we reached VGP resort after a gala time in the buses, we were welcome with a drink after which the grand Bay of Bengal welcomed us. People who hadn't frequented beaches went berserk and had the time of their lives soaking in the waves at sunset time. This was followed by some beach football and volleyball where the experts mingled with novices making both playing and watching the games real fun.

High tea was served later and exhausted participants took their seats only to realize they couldn't rest for long as the DJ had already started preparing to arrange the music system - And thus it began! Rocking beats, rollicking songs and a rapturous crowd comprising both the batches set the beach ablaze as people rendezvoused and familiarized with others. Even a sumptuous dinner couldn’t stop people from getting back to the dais. What could only stop us stopped us - TIME. At around 10:30 PM, we reluctantly started back & the way back was pure fun too as chorus in Hindi songs rocked the East Coast Road – A rarity for ECR!

We reached back DoMS at around 11 PM and after striking a few group-poses in front of the department, we made our long walks back to our river banks. The memories of the party were saved intact in memory cards of digi-cams & more importantly, in our minds!

Shrey Sharma & Sivaram L,
Mba Batch of 2010-12

‘Open Collaborative Innovation’ by Dipankar Ghosh, Caterpillar Inc

Corporate Wisdom Team DoMS IIT Madras hosted the first session for the academic year by Mr. Dipankar Ghosh, Operations Director-Engineering Division, Caterpillar Inc. The session was on ‘Open Collaborative Innovation’.
The concepts of collaboration and innovation are age-old and well known. But the phrase ‘open collaborative innovation’ was the theme of the session.

Very initially, innovation was attributed to individuals. But that notion was corrected over time. Innovation was the result of a collaborative effort on various ideas by various individuals. However, the collaboration was often done by people belonging to the same organization. This, as Mr. Ghosh said, was the ‘closed collaborative innovation’ system. At first, this model was successful and this concept fuelled ‘Research and Development’ departments world over. But people change, trends change and so do the success streaks of those who are loathe to sharing knowledge. The wheel of fortune had turned and the new formula for success was the ‘open collaborative innovation’ system, where anybody and everybody could contribute to the innovation taking place anywhere on the face of the earth. Organizations that had adopted the ‘open collaborative innovation’ model had superseded their counterparts adopting the older and vastly more myopic ‘closed collaborative innovation’ model. Products and services such as Lego Mindstorm, Apple iPod and Bharti Airtel were indulging in the benefits of the open collaborative model. More and more organizations were changing with time and adopting the open model. But like all other things in the world, this model too had its flaws. Mr. Ghosh was wise to warn us at this point (for most MBAs have a tendency to gravitate towards ostensible win-win situations and we at DoMS, per se, are no exceptions).

Just as the presentation ended, a storm of questions was hurled at Mr. Ghosh. But Mr. Ghosh, like that master that he was, answered every query and the storm had died down eventually.
Mr Ghosh then went on to explain the importance of team work. A team of a few people is largely the same as a team consisting of the entire world. The difference lies in the amount of knowledge the two possess. Even though Mr. Ghosh had come to tell us of innovation methods adopted by organizations he ultimately taught us a great deal more.
If the first session of corporate wisdom can invoke such realizations I imagine that with a couple sessions we would have insights far beyond the scope of our experience.

Lakshmi Shrikanth,
MBA Batch of 2010-12

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Excuse Me Sir, I'm a student at DoMS"

While going to malls and public places I have always dreaded strangers who come to you for either surveys or sell some schemes. Just imagine, you hanging out with your friends and suddenly somebody comes by saying "Sir could you spare a moment please"; you are in a dilemma whether to turn him down or take off your attention from the conversation. The situation becomes worse when the person is a guy with imploring looks or girl with a beautiful smile. But today tables were turned when I had to conduct a small survey for my marketing management assignment. We assembled in front of Gurunath around 2 o' clock. For the next half an hour we kept on prying on people even when whole place was jam packed. Every one appeared too busy to be bothered, it felt very awkward to disturb them but something had to be done. After contemplating for a while I chose a bunch of students taking among themselves. With the lord’s name on my lips and couple of deep breaths, I mustered courage to walk to them and say "excuse me, I am student of DoMS and we are conducting a survey..... ". Thank God, the guys were good enough to answer our questions politely. Now that ice was broken; with the new found confidence we went around campus asking everyone we came across same set of questions till evening.
Overall, the survey part  of assignment was a good experience where a few interesting incidents happened. There was a couple sitting at Gurunath, I went straight to girl, and after finishing my questions when I asked her “are you a student here?” the guy gave me a dirty look and said "I study here and she is my friend";  some  students just shrug, their shoulders and said “we have already responded to a couple of surveys today”, few people made deep inquiry into nature of our survey, then one man gave detailed answers to our queries while we were looking for one word answers and then we also came across an elderly man gave us a "buzz off" look and said "ask all this to students here don't bother me ". But the best moment was when one of my classmate said “if this is what marketing is then I am up for the challenge”.

Contributed by 
Varun Joshi
MBA 1st Year

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New beginings ........reloaded

Of Experiences and First Impressions… 

The countdown to the 26th of July 2010 began long back. We had all been waiting for this day for such a long time and had planned and packed so much, that our parents began to wonder if we were actually going to DoMS to study. Despite all the fun promised to us, I imagined a tedious admission process and all the big-wigs taking turns to come forth and spew out their typewritten speeches. Well, it was slightly different when I actually got to DoMS.

Day 1:
I was taken to a classroom in the department, where my future classmates were already busy filling out forms. Some people, I had met during my GT/PI process. Some I recognized from their pictures on Facebook. There was a smattering of parents too in this crowd, making small talk. Then, the big-wigs made their appearance. They did speak, but it was all direct dil se. They welcomed us warmly to DoMS and assured our parents that we were in safe hands. We were then given time to set up house in our hostels. In our hostels, monkeys, cats and women co-exist peacefully. So long as you keep your rooms locked, your food is safe from them. These monkeys are essentially harmless but they are intelligent enough to unscrew a bottle to down its contents or check out their reflection in the mirrors on the bikes. Now comes the nasty part. We discovered that our rooms in the third floor could be reached by stairs only, no elevators were available. And no daddy’s allowed inside. So my mum and I lugged my numerous bags and boxes one by one and got the housekeeping staff to clean our rooms a bit. When I met my roomie, we made quick introductions. Post lunch, my parents said their good-byes, “good luck”s and “keep calling”s and went back home. I went back to the department where a team-building game was in store for us. We were given a pair scissors and a wad of newspapers and we were instructed to build a bridge and a flyover over a bench in the given time. It was chaos, but we eventually finished our construction, complete with coconut trees and a ribbon to be cut to inaugurate the flyover. Sadly, our engineering marvel didn’t win any prizes but we had fun doing it and made a few friends along the way. After this, we were shown a 2 hour long documentary on…. the rise and fall of world economies, I think. I could be wrong. Prof. Rahul put a stop to the documentary saying this was only the first part of three and hoped that we would see the others before the semester ended. I think the Professor must be a very optimistic person. In the evening, we were informed that we had an “interactive” session with the seniors starting at 8.30. Only someone really dumb would have asked what this meant. Well, I don’t wish to elaborate what transpired in that room - it would only spoil the surprise for those batches that are yet to come, but by the time we were through, it was well past midnight. The seniors wound up by informing us pleasantly that we all had a presentation to give the following night. We decided that we would worry about it the next day. But when reached hostel, we thought since it was so late, we might as well go buy ourselves some tea in “Olive Garden”, a fifteen minutes walk from our hostel. Well, it turned out that there was no tea or olives in that garden, but we all had some juice and returned back to the hostel, singing.                                                  

Day 2:
The next morning started at six for us – campus tour of IIT by a few seniors. When we returned, we had a session with Prof. Thenmozhi on “Learning through case-study method”. After being taught how to, we were given case studies and asked to solve within a given time frame. Considering that this was our first case study, I think we did pretty decent. But then, the Professor told us that on many occasions, students ended up feeling dissatisfied as they did not arrive at a firm solution, but she explained that this may not always be possible and the Professor would only just act as a mediator or a guide but not an arbiter. We left the class feeling relaxed as there was nothing else planned for the day but document verification and registration. This was done in a matter of a few minutes for each person and then we were free to go. Suddenly faced with an entire afternoon with nothing to do, I slept like the dead. It was then evening and with two and half hours to go before the presentation, we were all a little worried. We started working with gusto in the CafĂ© Coffee Day next to the Department and before long, it was time. I had at least had a borrowed half of a paneer bun, but most others presented their topics on an empty stomach. It didn’t matter. Everybody was sick with nervousness and performance anxiety. Some breezed through them and some faltered, but I thought most put up a good show.

Day 3:
On the third day, we had a session in the morning on Business Communication by Professor Shekhar, a visiting faculty at the Department. We then had Professor G. Sreenivasan sharing with us interesting stats and tidbits about IIT Madras. Which is when I learnt that there are actually over 7000 people living on campus! The whole place is so self-sustained that it’s almost like a civilization in itself. Col. Jayakumar from the central IIT Placement Cell was next on the list of speakers for the day. He had a commanding voice and presence but he had a sense of humor too. He answered all the queries we had regarding placements and told us a bit about his life in the military and how his acclimatization to civilian life took place. We had a thoroughly enjoyable session with him. The last person with whom we had a session that day was Mr. Kalyan Vaidyanathan, an IIT alumnus and graduate from Cornell University, who shared his experiences of being an entrepreneur. He told us the story of Nadhi, his brainchild and how it has transformed and grown from its nascent stages. Somehow, entrepreneurs generate a lot of curiosity and interest from their audience and this instance was no exception. Just when we thought we were done for the day, we notice a sign on the notice board, saying that we have case studies to prepare and present to the seniors in two hours. So we get to work frantically and when we are nearly done, the seniors graciously offer to treat us to dinner, since none of us had the time to have any. We dined at Tiffany’s and then went to present our harried study of the case at hand. We later learnt that they were actually pretty generous in according us with two hours to prepare as some teachers at times, gave students just about an hour to do the same thing!

Day 4:
The last day of formal induction started with a communication workshop by Professor Shekhar again. The next session was on “Climate Change Crisis” by Professor Chella from the Humanities and Sciences department. It was evident from his presentation that he had poured a lot of time and effort into doing his homework and although it was pure science that he was talking, each one of us listened with rapt attention. In a way, I think IIT Madras is doing its bit in this crisis, by imposing a ban on students’ usage of motorized vehicles on campus. I learnt the hard way that bicycling after several years can be a bit painful, but once we get time to explore the campus, I’m sure cycles would be a great way to do it. Professor Rahul then took over and explained the program structure and the concept of credits and audits to us. One of us asked him if we could do more than the 82 credits required to complete the course and he replied saying that given some time, such a crazy idea would never enter our minds! The rest of the evening was awarded to us, to practise for the cultural program that we had to put up for the graduating batch of 2010. In a way, I think the imperfection of our performance made it all the more hilarious and added to the fun quotient. It was a night to remember and a memorable end to our induction at DoMS. 

Kavya S,
MBA Batch 2010-12                                                                          

Re-innovation and Rural Development by Prof. R Chidambaram

The new session at DoMS IIT Madras began with an encouraging session by Padma Shri Prof. Rajagopala Chidambaram, the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India and former Director of India's primary nuclear research facility, BARC.

Mr. Chidambram emphasized about the need for interaction between the industry and the academia for India to truly evolve as a world leader. He primarily focused on re-innovation and how it could help in development in Rural India. Rural development is the key for India’s development and as he put it India will be a developed nation once the quality of life in rural India matches the quality of life in non urban areas of developed nations. To ensure that happens we need to focus on incremental innovation where we are not always inventing the wheel but rather modifying it to suite local conditions and needs; where the need for concept transfer is greater than the need for technology transfer. India as a country is attempting a paradigm shift where we are moving from product innovation to process innovation and further to process and design innovation. Having talked about innovation he also stressed the importance for interaction not only between government and industry but also between academia and industry. For this he pointed out various initiatives which have been undertaken by our government, namely, CAR (Core advanced group for Automotive Research), RuTAG (Rural Technology Appreciation Group), NKN (National Knowledge Transfer) etc. The question answer round which followed including various questions like ‘How can Management students contribute towards Rural development’ and ‘ Balance between Advancement in technology and Primary education’ eliciting enthusiastic responses from Mr. Chidambram .

Neha Khanna,
MBA Batch 2010-12

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