EX­PE­RI­ENCE THE JOY OF GIV­ING

In­dia’s top busi­ness school hosts un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren for a week of ser­vice, celebration and joy

India Today - - SCHOOL SPECIAL - By De­vika Chaturvedi

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.

Www.in­di­a­to­day­im­ages.com

IIM-ADI­REC­TOR ASHISH NANDAWITH STU­DENTS

SHAILESH RAVAL/

Www.in­di­a­to­day­im­ages.com

STU­DENTS GET READYTO SERVE ATTHE DIN­NER OFJOY

SHAILESH RAVAL/

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