EPGP Orientation 7th April – 9th April 2010

The 2nd batch of EPGP began with a 3 day orientation programme on 7th Apr – the day being a very light affair with registration, photo-op in suits, more introductions (with a success rate of remembering names at an abysmal low) and subscribing to the Airtel CUG plans. However, on 8th April as we strode into the Auditorium there was an air of expectation what with the dean for academic (Prof. Trilochan Sastry), IIMB-Director (Prof. Pankaj Chandra) and EPGP chairperson (Prof. Malay Bhattacharya) slated to address the gathering and extending the official welcome to us. Having worked for 8.5 years, it didn’t take long to rediscover the respect and anxiousness one would associate with any kind of closed classroom education (not to be confused with claustrophobia). Prof Malay was the first one to speak and he touched upon the history of the inception of this programme, the uniqueness and the considerable thought put into differentiating it from the rest of the one-year programmes. It came as a surprise to me that two professors went and observed the similar one year programmes offered by MIT, Kellogg, INSEAD, and another institute, to design EPGP structure. Prof. Shastry,based on his experience with the first batch, delved into things which needed improvement and also on the value of education per se. Finally Prof.Chandra invoked the need to align our goals and contribute to the development of India, and emphasized on the need to make the Seminar series a more successful one. During the Q&A session it emerged that the Seminar series definitely needed to be taken more seriously and the need to drawn speakers from non-management sector. It was gladdening to note that the faculty were overly impressed with the class participation from the first batch and highlighted the reasons for the same.

Prof Jose, the Chairperson for the Career Development Services, did some serious plain talking and got the audience participating actively with his occasional lighter comments. It emerged that the overall placement of the first batch was very good and exceeded his expectations, but it had its share of troughs and crests vis-a-vis the number of recruiters visiting the campus. He implored our batch to have realistic expectations and not to be swayed by the mood set by the media and hype existing in the society around the placements in IIMs. The biggest re-iteration came from him on the fact that IIM wasn’t a placement agency and it was up to the Student Place-com to drive the show, and his office would step in only on a need basis.

Post a crowded and quick, but grand, lunch we convened for the ICE BREAKING SESSION conducted by KWEC ( kwec.net – an agency specializing in behavioural sciences ) and anchored by its founder – Rahul Kapoor. Like any such training, the idea was to get the relatively over aged corporate denizens and army honchos to shed their inhibitions (within permissible limits), that would help expedite the mutual learning processes. To a large extent, the programmed seemed to have served its objective, going by the enthusiastic response right through leading up to the final two moments of quiet reflection on our parents. Rahul was all energy and it was quite amazing to notice that he lasted the course with the same vigour. As Rahul pointed out, there could be many takeaways from the entire exercise, however, he urged us to inculcate at least one to make the most of our time spent in the next one year. He signed off to take up the mike at Chinnaswamy stadium for RCB’s home game against DC. Komala, part of the CAO office, got a deserving applause from our batch and KWEC team for facilitating the entire event.

There was a “SAY CHEESE” moment with the official IIM-B photographer on the lawns of the institution, which I presume would be for next year’s brochure. That just about rounded up the second last day of the relaxed pre-cursor term before the real grind.

The final day of orientation had two sessions, the first one being on “Individual Learning Styles” by Prof.Vasanthi Srinivasan. The very first 1.5 hr classroom of the one year rigour didn’t seem to bring any of the usual phobia one would associate after a hiatus as long as 8.5 years from formal education. On the contrary, the participation from the whole of the class was very spontaneous and engaging, which I believe was due to the very engaging and humour-laden discourse from the faculty. Prof.Vasanthi expounded on the 4 types of learning styles, the associated learning patterns and what we should aim for over the next one year. The next session on “Political Entrepreneurship” by Prof.Rajeev Gowda started off on a humorous note when the Prof did a “Ungowning” himself : aka Jairam Ramesh. For the next 40 minutes or so the Prof walked us through his political aspirations which gained ground from his childhood days. Going by the session title, one would have expected the class to be about exploring Entrepreneurship in the political arena and the associated pros and cons. While that didn’t seem to be the case, at the end of around 40 minutes the Prof presented a slide seeking answers from his audience as to what he has been doing wrong which has resulted in him not getting a Lok Sabha ticket. The session wasn’t didactic in nature and it seemed to be more of context setting for a problem and what could be the plausible solutions. While we wondered the relevance of this session, I personally liked the class and it seemed after all not that a big deal to sit in on a non-curricular session :-), but was equally cognizant of the fact that it wouldn’t be the case with the academic courses. Later in the evening we had a welcome dinner arranged by IIM-B and were glad to spend time knowing each other, while also interacting with Komala and Prof.Sourav.

The real grind unwinds on Monday and we already have quizzes slated in 3 days time !!

P.S : Amidst all the information, inspiration and indulgence, text books too were distributed.

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