My days at IIMA – III: Visitors galore!

Like I’ve said before, all good things must come to an end…. so that better things can happen! 🙂

One of the highlights of an MBA at a “Well-known Institute of Management in Western India” or WIMWI, as IIMA is called in certain circles, is the set of opportunities it provides for students to interact directly with top leaders of the business-world/ government. We regularly have dignitaries visiting campus and giving guest lectures as part of various initiatives at IIMA like the ‘CEO on campus’ and ‘Speaker series’.

Vasant Sanzgiri, Group Head, Human Resources, at the renowned Construction company Shapoor Pallonji Group, was the first of the honchos to visit IIMA, on 6th July, 2010. Mr Sanzgiri gave us invaluable insights into his company’s operations, the challenges, concerns, its vision for the future and the expectations he and his senior management team had from the students of IIMA (prospective employees?)

Shiv Kumar, the MD/ CEO of Nokia India ,gave us a talk on 8th July, 2010 on leadership/ management as part of the ‘CEO on campus’ sessions. A few of us, sitting in the front of the auditorium were contemplating displaying our non-Nokia cell-phones prominently, but then better sense prevailed!

Harsha Bhogle, a distinguished IIMA alumnus, ace Sports commentator visited our campus on 25th July, 2010, with his wife Anita, also a WIMWIian (Hmmm….), taking a special session on leadership for the PGPX folks in our classroom and then going on to make a presentation in the main auditorium on campus, addressing the whole IIMA student community. The overall presentation was quite insightful and entertaining, with several scenarios that I could relate to on a personal level… The greatness of sportspersons like Sachin Tendulkar was one such aspect! 🙂

No! I’m not tooting my own horn! Harsha spoke about how Sachin manages to stay focussed for hours on end while at the crease on the cricket field, outwitting bowlers ball after ball and ignoring the fielders’ sledging. One of Sachin’s secrets has been his ability ‘to blank his mind out – to think of absolutely nothing’ when he went out to bat. “Hey!” I said to myself, “I do that too.” And that’s where the similarity ends. My blanking of the mind happens at a most inopportune moment, in the examination hall! Need I say more??? 😦
Ravi Raina, President, India operations at Astonfield Renewable Resources, met us on 9th August, 2010, to talk about Diversified Solar/ Renewable Power.

Sanjeev Chaddha, CEO, Pepsico India and an IIMA alumnus returned to his old campus on 14th August, 2010 to tell us ‘Things I wished they’d taught me @IIMA,’ as part of the CEO series presentations. He regaled us with his anecdotes from his immense experience in the corporate world and his IIMA days. Several members of the audience could relate to the topics addressed in his presentation. One of his key talking points was “It’s not about the brains….” and when he noticed that several students began to grin unabashedly as soon as he had mentioned it, he quickly added “…. well, it’s not only about the…..” He went on to talk about several other matters, including the importance of maintaining one’s health. He insisted that physical fitness be made a ‘ritual’! When he mentioned that a significant number of IIMA students find their life-partners on campus and that he had to ‘move fast’ to ensure success (thanks to the appalling girl-boy student ratio), I squirmed a little. It was clear that although I was on the same campus, I wasn’t making the right ‘moves’! Ah, well, there’s still hope for a bachelor like me, I guess! 🙂
More about Dr Kalam’s Visit in my following post ..
Navin Rajendran
PGPX , Class of 2011


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