Freedom is in the air. The sky is just waiting to be coloured with the beautiful saffron and green and in the midst of all this we bring this month’s edition in its true spirit: “Freedom”.
After the roaring success of last month’s “Pandemonium” we continue in our pursuit of enlightenment. “Happiness Machines” is an eye opener about the way advertising today fuels the wants of the Consumer. “Peer group approval – interviews redefined” elaborates about the inclusion of relaxed interviews by peers. “Illusion of Freedom” gives the pre and post orientation comparison of “freedom” as perceived by the student managers. “Gandhi, the Manager” presents an interesting take on how Mahatma Gandhi is probably the best manager our country could ever have.
Starting from this month we are introducing “The Month That Was” which briefly muses over the happenings of the previous month with a whiff of nostalgia. This issue covers the 360° talk by renowned nuclear scientist Dr. Anil Kakodkar, the enlightening insights shared by Mr. John Clark, MD, Credit Suisse, the funfilled ice breaking event between the senior and junior batch, the blood donation drive conducted by Pranay, and “Vichaar” the first Annual Inter Division Debate competition.
Wait, there is more! Continuing with the tradition this time’s Vox Pop divulges the student managers’ take on freedom and the notorious Rumour Mill in its tryst with tales is here again to befuddle you (Be careful where you’re standing?). Read on…
The oxymoronic title* of this article is an ode to the way we buy, and the identity that we associate with the things we own. Post 1945 something beautiful happened for marketers everywhere. Society moved from a need based economy to a want based economy. This was helped along greatly by the surplus production in America due to the War. One can go so far as to say, the Cold War Era was about Want (Capitalism) Vs. Need (Communism). In keeping up with this understanding, should we be surprised that our need to find acceptance and satisfaction results in our materialistic desires?
“Your identity is my pay check”, said the Ad man to the consumer.
We are constantly bombarded today with messages across the television, internet, radio and other such forms of media. So much so that it can shape the way we dress, eat, posture, express and indeed, think. Advertising today is all about attaching perception to a product. So a man wearing Ferragamo shoes, and Armani, carrying a Vertu phone is perceived as affluent to the world, as compared to a person wearing a Max shirt, a Westside trousers and who carries a Nokia colour phone. Both identities are created, positioned and propagated by advertising, and aspired to by two very different target audiences. The heady combination of perception and mass media has shackled our minds to desire. We have to increasingly search for an identity that is devoid of influence from external sources.
Freedom; or the lack thereof
In England, Johnny Walker is allowed to advertise freely and indeed has won awards for their advertising. In India, where we perceive alcohol as a vice, Diageo and Bacardi only sell soda and Music CDs. What news and advertising a Chinese national perceives as the truth is perceived as propaganda by Chinese immigrants abroad. A whole country’s perception is propagated through censorship and tradition. “The consumer is not a moron; he is your wife”:- David Ogilvy In today’s industry, many companies have stopped creating products that fit consumers; they just create consumers that fit their products. With a whole diaspora to throw their message out to, it’s easier to find a new market than innovate. So narrowed are positioning strategies today that the saying “God made man” could soon go to “Brand made man”.
*The title is from a critically acclaimed documentary called “The century of self”.
PEER GROUP APPROVAL – INTERVIEWS REDEFINED
Gone are the days of conventional hiring of candidates. Companies, these days look for characteristics in the candidate that emulate their work style and culture. So if you have the ‘Googliness’ that Google looks for or if you are the next ‘Brand New Tripper’ that fascinates MakeMyTrip.com, you can definitely see yourself working with them and creating wonders. But don’t be surprised if after you get selected and start working you see one of the panellists in the interview process as your peer in office!
The concept of peer interviews is being adopted by many companies these days. An immediate manager looks for skills required to do the job. An HR manager analyses if the prospective candidate will fit in the prevailing work environment. But a peer assesses the candidate’s inter–team dynamics and his levels of adaptability. Peer interviews are casual and informal and give the candidate freedom to relax and converse at ease which in turn gives a better idea of the candidate’s potential.
In a casual environment, one gets to learn things about the other person that are not so apparent in a formal structure. This helps the peer to gauge facets that could directly or indirectly affect the work performance. Also, the peer interviewing gets a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction as he is involved in the hiring process. This helps in strengthening bonds within the organization as well.
“Cultural fit” and “high performance potential” are ambiguous terms and it takes multiple eyes to get it right, which is why a large number of companies are adopting this process today.
EVENTS IN AUGUST
10th August : Delhi Corporate Dinner
10th – 11th August : Delhi Alumni Meet
15th August : Independence Day
20th August : Rakshabandhan
07th Aug to 20th Aug : Delhi PBP/CV
GANDHI, THE MANAGER
Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a skinny, dark, balding man, whose energy and leadership inspired millions of our forefathers to leave the comfort of their homes, come out onto the streets, and fight the British without any fear in their hearts. At a time when Indians were losing hope, he taught us to keep our heads high and stand against the greatest imperialist power the world had ever known. Such was his charisma that at his one call, men, women and children stood in line to be thrashed by the police danda, with unflinching faith! This man was M.K. Gandhi.
One would argue that he was a great leader. But a manager? That seems too farfetched, doesn’t it?
It is all a matter of perspective. Consider India to be a company, downtrodden and overpowered by another competitor, the United Kingdom. Gandhi was the man who turned the ‘company’ around. He had a foreign education when even stepping outside the country was considered unholy by superstitious India. He had the experience because he had revolted for his seat in a train in South Africa and had gone ahead to lead a revolution there. He had strong ethics built by a lifetime of witnessing injustices. These are just his qualifications.
But over and above this, he had great vision and insight, which, by an MBA student would be referred to as having a great approach and strategy. He could foresee the situation and act accordingly. Yes sir, he had his BCG, ETOP, and SWOT analysis in place for this vast company!
Indians feel emoted at the thought that Bapu took to Khadi for the liberation of India. In fact, now everyone knows that he had calculated that the only way to kill the East India Company was to go indigenous. Dandi salt was another example of a PR campaign for the Swedishi movement. Still feel there could be a better manager for bourgeoning India Inc.?
Each move he made during the freedom struggle was backed by large amounts of passion and a unique vision for our nation, yet deliberate and calculated to get the maximum from it. If a large Indian company ever wants to learn better ways of managing and motivating its employees, they need not look any further than the father of our nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Manager.
FREEDOM? OR IS IT?
They cheered and lost their voices, they partied till they lost their heads. They thought they were celebrating the end, they had no idea it was just the beginning. From the time the girls could put their hair down and the guys could do without a tie, we all thought it was over, the blizzard of assignments, the arguments with pentamates, the gruelling sessions in the auditorium and the early morning rush. Who would’ve thought that the difference lied only in the change of attire and the early morning stretching which now only happens while in bed.
If pentamates were a pain, try making a presentation with 10 others and then present it not before our dear seniors but our respected faculty and for what? MARKS. We called it being bound when we had nothing to lose in the orientation except for maybe a wee bit of dignity.
Did most of you say bye to the Air conditioned four walls only to know that we had to be seated their again and again and just when you think you didn’t have to, AGAIN.
Talking about that thing around which we make our other plans, “Sleep”. How many of us have actually slept for more than 6 hours off late? If it isn’t an internal assessment, there is some work you must do, there is some washing you “need” to do, and there are some errands you must take care of. So sleep hasn’t come and neither has that free day we always demanded during the orientation.
Freedom? Or is it? However, let’s not break our bubbles just yet for you know what they say, illusion is the first of all pleasures and so let it remain.
VOX – POPULI : WHAT IS FREEDOM TO YOU?
THE MONTH THAT WAS
1. 360 degree lecture series : Dr. Anil Kakodkar
A nuclear scientist, the Chairman of Solar Energy Corporation of India, Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan winner, Mr. Anil Kakodkar is an eminent, dynamic and visionary person. With the commencement of the 360° lecture series for the new batch 2013-2015, he was gracious enough to accept our invitation to be our first speaker.
Mr. Kakodkar spoke about “Development through technological empowerment at the grassroots”. His emphasis was on the key issues of wealth disparities, challenges in education, livelihood in rural areas, nutrition/health, search for a better standard of living etc. He elaborated how all these contain an element of empowerment which is essential for progressive and sustainable development.
Livelihood conditions in rural areas aren’t up to the mark, which results in migration of people to urban areas. Hence, he suggested addressing the challenges by knowledge and technological inputs and developing talent with the right mind-set within the rural space itself. This could also, in his words, be a ‘game changer’ for our country.
In conclusion Mr Kakodkar emphasised that we need to develop, nurture, motivate and encourage the youth of our country to think out of the box, come out with innovative ideas and techniques to empower our country and make India a land of opportunities. He stressed that the responsibility of the country now rests on our shoulders and was confident that we were competent enough to take up that challenge.
2. Placement Cell : Talk by Mr. John Clark, MD, Credit Suisse
SIMS student managers were exposed to yet another insightful session by the intuitive and eminent personality Mr. John Clark, the managing director at Credit Suisse which is part of Credit Suisse Group AG a Switzerland-based multinational financial services holding company. He was accompanied by a few of our SIMS alumnus working in Credit Suisse.
Mr. Clark familiarized the students to the concept of Centers of Excellence. The CoE Initiative, which started in 2006, is Credit Suisse’s global off shoring approach to leverage their talent around the world and maximize the efficient use of the bank’s resources. Today these have become important sources of top talent. He spoke about the deployment Centers of Excellence in Pune and how it has created a talent pipeline that adds to the value chain of Credit Suisse.
Furthermore, he elucidated how CoEs play a critical role in improving operational effectiveness, reducing cost base, and ensuring a high quality of products and services for external clients. He later delved into a one on one interactive session whereby through his intuitive guidance he gave key pointers for choosing a career. He stressed upon making oneself important to the organization and not irreplaceable, in his words, “an irreplacable person can never be promoted. You don’t want that!”.
His advice to the aspiring student mangers was to be flexible and never have a false sense of security and to always keep their running shoes on. He ended his talk saying that in life, at a professional front, never be afraid of taking calculated risks; because the consequences are never that dire and cannot possibly be worse than not trying.
3. Pranay : Mission Liquid Love – Blood Donation Drive
On the Occasion of the 78th Birthday of our founder President Padmabhushan Dr. SB Mujumdar, a blood donation drive was organised at SIMS on 31st July at the AV Hall of SCHC. The aim was to provide a hope of living to all the unfortunate people who suffer from accidents and other casualties. In an unfortunate reality, where thousands of Indians lose their lives each year owing to lack of blood in the blood banks. It is praiseworthy to know that a staggering 179 units were collected.
The event was conducted by Pranay, in collaboration with SIHS and SCHC. Of the collected blood, 152 units were donated to Poona Hospital- Rakesh Jain Memorial Blood Bank and 27 units to Gholap Blood Bank. SIMSites continued to make a difference with their enthusiasm, especially student managers of batch 2013-15. Also actively participating in this noble cause of blood donation were student managers of the executive PGDM batch, SIMS faculty, doctors of SCHC and SIHS, supervisory staff, working staff of the SIMS mess and even the security staff of SIMS.
To protect the interests of the donors, a team of doctors and nursing assistants made sure that the people willing to donate were fit individuals with a healthy haemoglobin count and blood pressure levels. It was also ensured that the donors immediately got food to re-energise their energy loss. At the end of donation, a certificate of appreciation was provided to all the donors, acknowledging their efforts.
31st July 2013 was a different kind of birthday celebration at SIMS. SIMSites donated blood, the necessary fluid for survival. SIMSites celebrated life and living.
4. Abhigyata : “Vichaar”, the 1st Annual Inter Division Debate Competition
On 20th July, the Library Cell of SIMS, Abhigyata successfully organised the 1st Annual Inter Division debate competition “Vichaar”. There were two participants from each division of the junior batch. The competition was judged by Dr. Suruchi Pandey and Ms. Vanishree Pabalkar. Also present during this event were librarian Ms. Dipali More and Ms. Vaibhavi Zende.
The topic of the debate was “Is Consumer really the King in India?” The event started off with a beautiful Ganesh Vandana dance performed by student managers of the first year. The debating took off and the ensuing minutes saw respective divisions cheering their representative speaker with unfazed zeal.
Naturally, the intensity of the debate went up with every passing contestant with newer ideas, facts and rebuttals coming in. Questions were posed both from the audience and the judges. The experience was indubitably entertaining and rewarding.
The debate ended with Abhishek Gupta of Section E and Shivani Sharan of Section B being declared as winner and runner-up respectively.
5. EVENTS CELL : ICE BREAKER
“Best of friends are made in the craziest of times.”
Ice Breaker is an age old SIMS tradition and one of the most eagerly anticipated events which both the senior and junior batches look for ward to. In the midst of all the running around for assignments, evaluations and what not, this event was like a much needed stress buster.
It started with Musical chairs where the juniors were seated in the inner circle and kept moving. As the music stopped, the junior faced any random senior sitting on the outer circle. Each senior made the junior go through any ridiculous task he deemed fit. It didn’t take more than a minute to ‘loosen everyone up.’
After bursting into booming laughter, the seniors themselves started clapping and cheering for the juniors. A few seniors seemed sympathetic enough for the tongue tied juniors, asking them to ask out any girl they liked, all under the pretext of a task by the seniors. The intention was clear: forget any embarrassment, just have fun.
On day one, the class was made to do a Harlem Shake and be rest assured, the whacky standards of the Harlem Shake were maintained. Not to be outdone, the next day had junior students dancing to the beats of Gangnam Style. A tug of war was the right addition to keep the spirits high. It was climaxed by really breaking an ice slab! Not surprisingly, the junior breaking the ice won! 😀
The friends made in those few minutes will be cherished, remembered and loved. It was fun, it was cool, it was the SIMS ice-breaker!
Rumour – We have a holiday on the 15th of August.
Reality – Despite it being an academic day off, students still have to report for the flag hoisting at 7. There are also a lot of assignments to do, so plan your day accordingly.
Rumour – The land under the academic block is sinking! Cracks have been spotted at the backside of the building.
Reality – Civil engineers say that the cracks are just due to rough or uneven setting of cement and there is really no reason to worry. Well we hope that is the case 😉