My days at IIMA: ‘LEM’ming mentality

One of the many privileges I share with fellow WIMWIans is the ability to interact with a distinguished professor/ entrepreneur called Sunil Handa, who teaches a course on Entrepreneurship. His “Laboratory on Entrepreneurial Management” or LEM course is immensely popular among IIMA students and each year, there is intense bidding by the 2-year MBA folks to obtain one of the limited seats. Luckily, PGPX folks have been spared that ordeal and have been allowed to attend most sessions of this course, on a non-credit basis. The classroom sessions were power-packed and entertaining. The professor had anecdotes galore, about the good, the bad and the outright ugly side of entrepreneurship. We learned that there’s a price to pay for freedom from ‘bonded labour’, as Prof. Handa puts it. But then again, here’s what I fervently believe –  “Good things come to those who wait…. and persevere.

A friend and classmate has a great write-up about entrepreneurship at IIMA. Here’s a link to his blog-post: Chain of thoughts

As part of the LEM course, students are taken to diverse factories and other business establishments to give them a first-hand experience of watching and learning…. and listening to the entrepreneurs speak about how they did what they did….and why they did it!

At the IRM OME factory

Although a good number of visits were organized throughout the LEM course time-frame, I was part of the visits to a Vulcanized Rubber factory, a Health-care company – Vasu Health Care (Vadodra) and a pharmaceutical company – Claris Life Sciences.

These were eye-openers for many of us who’d never set foot in a factory or seen such huge machinery at work before,other than in videos and magazines or while reading ‘cases’ as part of our MBA studies. The proximity to the machinery/ equipment and the sights and sounds of man and machine working together on various inter-related functions within the factories/ laboratories gave us invaluable insights into the dynamics of organizations, in ways that textbooks, or even videos, never could.

It was amusing to watch the workers ‘doing their thing’ while trying not to be too conscious of the many wide-eyed students gaping at them and trying to appear intelligent while thinking, “Duh! I wonder what they’re doing with that machine thingy?!” At the Health-care factory, I couldn’t help but smile when I noticed some of the ladies who worked there waving at the crowds and a couple of students sheepishly grinning and waving back!

The visits were especially enriching because on each occasion we had an experienced guide who took us around the various divisions/ sections of the factory/lab and gladly answered all the questions the students had. Each tour was followed by a round of interaction with the head-honcho of the organization who was gracious enough to spare some time for B-school students. A common statement that some company heads made was, “We need people like you to help us run our companies better…. We hope that some of you consider joining us someday.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!

Navin Rajendran,  PGPX Class of 2011

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2 Replies to “My days at IIMA: ‘LEM’ming mentality”

  1. This design is incredible! You most certainly know how to keep a reader amused.

    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog
    (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job. I really enjoyed what you had to say,
    and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

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