EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF GIVING
India’s top business school hosts underprivileged children for a week of service, celebration and joy
It isn’t just about high-paying jobs, stiff collars and superior qualifications. India’s top business school—where even the café is called Café Tanstaafl, which stands for ‘There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!’ — has shown that it isn’t just about business. At least this was the message the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad ( IIM-A), conveyed when it organised a host of events for underprivileged children as part of ‘The Joy of Giving Week’ between October 2 and 8.
There were drawing competitions for children, self-funded entertainment programmes and concerts. There was also the vastra samman, a clothes collection drive to promote recycling and reuse of clothes. A ‘wish tree’ with stickers of the children’s wishes was passed around the campus for students, staff and others to choose from. The flagship event was ‘A Day at IIM-A’ which allowed members of more than 20 NGOS and 50 other persons to experience life at IIM-A. The participants were treated to a gamut of activities such as classes, surprise quizzes, club interactions and, of course, a guided tour of the campus.
Then there was the ‘Dinner of Joy’, hosted by the students for the junior staff who keep the place running—the housekeeping staff, water and electricity utility workers, security guards and even the frail old woman whom half the campus depends on for laundry requirements. The dinner, planned by MessComm, a student’s committee that takes care of all food outlets at IIM-A, was elaborate, says Vatsal Jain, 24, who is in his secondyear of the post graduate programme in management.
The dinner was not funded by the institute but from voluntary contributions made by the students, in all close to Rs 45,000. “We are really proud that almost every member of the IIM-A student fraternity contributed willingly to this cause,” says Kritika Prasad, 26, a second-year student of the post graduate programme in agricultural business management.
Their study schedule doesn’t allow
IIM-A STUDENTS HAVE A HISTORY OF LEARNING FROM THE UNLIKELIEST OF PEOPLE: THEY HAVE DONE A CASE STUDY ON A TEA VENDOR.
them much time for such events, yet the students pulled it off. They are not sure if their effort achieved the goal of sensitising the community to selfless service, but the experience, they say, was invaluable. For one, it required more work and time than they had bargained for. “Many of us had to use a lot of those operations management theories they taught us in class for the first time and in quite an unusual setting,” says Jain. He learnt, for instance, that formulae look much better on paper than in real life. “To use management jargon, no one told us that lead time is not just a function of the production rate but, apparently, also of how many minutes have passed since a person has consumed his last gulab jaamun,” he adds.
IIM-A students have a track record of learning from the unlikeliest of people. They have, for instance, done a case study on Rambhai, who runs a tea stall just outside the institute’s hallowed precincts.
And the institute, which was ranked No. 1 in the Business Today survey in 2012 as well, refuses to rest on its laurels. The business management school, established in 1961 by space scientist Vikram Sarabhai, Kasturbhai Lalbhai and Ravi J. Matthai, is set to launch a dedicated centre by November this year to analyse the impact of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act. The Eklavya RTE Resource Centre aims to discuss and debate elementary education and the impact the Right to Education Act is expected to have on it.
In July this year, the students’ media cell launched FacConnect, a social media initiative aimed at extending the institute’s online outreach. The website provides people, even those with no management education, an opportunity to interact with the institute’s faculty online and engage in discussions on a set of chosen topics, usually related to management or business administration. With institutions looking for novel methods of teaching, IIM-A’s online initiative will only add to its repertoire.
IIM-ADIRECTOR ASHISH NANDAWITH STUDENTS
STUDENTS GET READYTO SERVE ATTHE DINNER OFJOY