Solaris – A grand success

The inaugural management fest of IIM Udaipur, Solaris, was a two day extravaganza held on the 7th and 8th of November. The fest was entirely conceptualized and executed by the student body and earmarked the exponential growth the college has seen since its inception. The fest encompassed a wide array of activities from summits, workshops to umpteen competitions. The summits and workshops covered all domains of management and were graced by industry veterans and provided huge impetus for learning. The competitions too provided an interesting mix ranging from testing participants on core domains such as finance, marketing to a short film making competition and the high competence level helped bring out the best in the students.

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The first day started with an address from the director of IIM Udaipur, Prof. Janat Shah. He outlined the key focus areas of the institute’s growth and how the concept of Solaris was directly in sync with the college’s focus on holistic growth. He emphasized on research, transformation and contributing to society as the key pillars of growth of the institute. Prof. Shah’s address was followed by an enriching talk from industry behemoth and keynote speaker, Mr. Subir Gokarn( recently appointed executive director of the IMF). He helped provide a comprehensive view of India’s growth potential and the means to eradicate the present frailities to exploit this potential.

The keynote address was followed by the first summit, The Leadership Summit. This is the flagship event of the Media and Industry Interaction Cell of the institute and as in the preceding three editions, this time too, the summit had industry veterans such as Mr. Unnikrishnan(CEO, Thermax), Mr. Sandeep Budhiraja( Country Head, MMR Research Worldwide),Mr. Ajay Gupta( COO, Decimal Point Analytics) and Mr. Manish Rastogi( Head, Metro Cash and Carry) attending. Their speeches helped provide detailed perspectives on specific industries and the macroeconomic situation. They helped provide unique interplays on the central theme “Evolve” by helping elucidate as to how companies consistently break through existing norms and bring about innovation in all spheres to cope with the present times.

Samvaah , the marketing conclave organized by the marketing club Marclan, was the other summit held on the first day. The theme for the event was “The Future of Marketing”  and had a keen focus on the advent of new marketing techniques in view of the tried and tested concepts becoming obsolete in the present scenario. The conclave had industry marketing wizards such as Mr. Ramamoorthi (Managing partner at Ogilvy and Mather), Mr. Abhishek Joshi (Director- Digital Marketing and Customer Acquisition at Redbus), Mr. Atindriya Bose (Country Head of Sony entertainment) and Ms. Gayatri Ojha (Brand Communications & Insights Head – M-Pesa at Vodafone India).They emphasized on the dynamic nature of the marketing field and the practices needed to remain abreast with this dynamism. The speeches covered a wide array of topics such as digital marketing, new age advertising and also marketing techniques to popularize novel initiatives such as M-Pesa.

The second day commenced with Arth-Samvaad, the Finance Summit which was organized by Finomina, the finance committee of the college. The presence of industry stalwarts such as The Chief Economist at YES BANK– Dr. Shubhada Rao, Associate Director at NVS Brokerage- Mr. Kamlesh Mehta and Executive Director of IDBI Bank Ltd.– Mr. N.S. Venkatesh helped provide the ideal platform for future financial managers to interact with them and help understand the intricacies of the financial world. The panel discussion was on the topic “Currency Chaos: Where will it lead to?” where the industry experts helped decipher the intricacies and position of the Indian Rupee along with the market swings brought in by the Chinese Renminbi. The panel discussion was followed by Mr. Deepak Mohanty(Executive Director of the RBI) addressing the audience on the objectives of the central bank and how the RBI has coped with global financial pressures in the past. Mr. Mohanty helped enrich the audience regarding the key financial indicators and how performance on these indicators is a sign of growth. The summit concluded with the dignitaries unveiling the finance magazine-Arthaarth and hence concluding another successful edition of the summit.

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The final summit of the fest was Technovate, the IT-Entreprenuership Summit which focused on the booming world of startups and how technology was the key enabler for this boom. The industry leaders in attendance were Mr. Manoj Sharma the Chief Technical Officer of Quikr, Mr. Vishal Verma the Operations and Logistics Manager of Uber, Mr. Anil Joshi of Unicorn India Ventures, Ms. Aditee Rele, the Lead in Technical Evangelism at Microsoft, Mr. Piyush Poddar, the Director of Professional Services at Axelerant and Ms. Lalitha Yanamandra, the General Manager of Enterprise Services & Delivery at MartJack and they spoke on the topic “Evolution of entrepreneurs in IT”. The summit was an extremely engaging medium as the panel discussions helped shed light on various facets associated with startups i.e. investment , target market, evolving technology etc. Mr. Anil Joshi, founder of early stage investment provider, Unicorn India Ventures, too provided inputs on the investment cycle. The summit helped educate budding entreprenuers of the essential parameters to start a successful enterprise and was a huge success.

The various competitions and workshops were held across the two days and provided ample opportunities for learning and testing one’s competencies. The various competitions included events that tested core concepts such as Vitt-Sangram, the finance case study competition and marketing events such as Juxtapose, the ad-making event to events such as the short film making competition which was judged by eminent director Mr. Vibhu Puri. The competition was extremely intense as a number of teams were from other top B-schools such as IIM Ahmedabad, Symbiosis, IIM Amritsar etc. The students of IIMU too gave their best and bagged laurels in several events. A number of workshops were held too such as the Dabbawala workshop, the Consultimg workshop etc which were attended in great numbers as students had the chance for close interaction with industry veterans. The Dabbawala workshop in particular was a huge hit as Mr. Vijay Aggarwal provided an in depth study of the world famous supply chain system of the Dabbawalas.

The two day inaugural fest was thus organized on a very grand scale even though the college is in its nascent stage. The various summits and workshops proved to be ideal grounds for learning and understanding of the various facets of the corporate world. The competitions tested competencies to the hilt and hence proved to be ideal for the best minds of the country. The smooth conduction of the event in itself provided umpteen challenges but the coordinated efforts of the student body and everyone associated with the institute helped the IIM Udaipur fraternity pull it off. Hence, Solaris was a huge success and it certainly set the benchmark for other top B-schools to emulate.

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Things which differentiate IIM Udaipur – Team Work!

Climbing the ladders of a managerial career requires one to be cinch with team working abilities. Beginning from management trainees and proceeding through various phases of middle management and senior management roles, responsible managers are expected to work and deliver according to best of the capabilities of the team with which they are associated.

IIMU follows the pedagogy in the academic and non-academic student affairs in such a manner that the best of team working skills are inculcated in the students within the first three months itself of their stay at the institute. The academic programmes of the institute are launched with the first week entirely dedicated to team building workshops. External agencies who are specialist in the field are also sought to conduct innovative exercises involving sports, games et al to help in ice-breaking between the students and help them get ready for their journey in the institute.

A large part of the academic process involves weightage given to assignments, project submissions and class presentations given in study groups, furthermore, individual assignments. The study groups are formed by the Programmes Office with inputs from the faculty. A large care is taken to ensure parameters like academic, cultural and work experience diversity in the formation of groups to enhance the overall functioning of groups. IIM Udaipur has adopted case based learning methodology and a significant importance lies in the class participation and case discussions, hence providing the students of a feel of simulation of real life complex managerial situations.

The student clubs and committees and their plethora of vibrant activities in the institute complement the team building process. These bodies maintain autonomy in their selection process and hence bypass a large number of conventional parameters to form best teams aligned with their outcomes. The challenges posed to the students prepare them in honing their skills not confined to academic pursuits. The institute provides ample opportunities, independence and resources to students to conceive ideas and work in teams to plan and orchestrate their design and implementation. The institute has seen many such student driven initiatives culminating into events like The Leadership SummitThe Flagship Event of IIMU, Arth SamvaadThe Annual Finance Symposium of IIMU, SpandanThe Annual HR Conclave of IIMU, The Udaipur Leap Day Literature Festival and the Excursus Series.

Other prominent didactics like Live Projects, Field Surveys, Focus Group Studies, Industrial & Companies Visits, Global Immersion Programme, Student Exchange Term, Rural Immersion Course, Summer Internships and Placements Preparation Process all benefit students in the team working abilities by teaching them the values of mutual respect, appreciation, motivation, trust, understanding and refining of opinions, processes and working approaches.

Students also unite together with common interests and have come up with hobby clubs and societies for activities pertaining to sports, dance, music, arts, literature, photography, dramatics etc. Dedication to serve for a sensitive cause and social responsibility have also resulted in execution of student drives like Blood Donation Camp, Stem Cell Donation Camp and School Children Mentorship Programme.

Leaders well known in the corporate world are comprehended as great based on their abilities to lead teams with perfection for exceptional work deliveries. And IIMU strives to help students in developing as managers more confident of their team working capabilities and more responsible for team based actions so that they excel in their corporate journeys after learning the insights of transition at their stay at IIM Udaipur.

Life @ IIMU

Nestled amongst the lush, verdant hills of the Aravallis in Rajasthan, the Indian Institute of Management, Udaipur currently located in the campus of the Mohan Lal Sukhadia University possesses the perfect setting and environment for a business school.

Academic rigour has always been a part and parcel of the life of an IIM student and the experience at IIM Udaipur so far, lives up to the same. With business cases to be prepared on an almost daily basis, the study sessions with fellow group mates and the umpteen reports and presentations that have to be made and delivered before deadlines (which more often than not are at unearthly hours, so far spent either watching movies, surfing the net or partying hard) life can get stressful and sleep, a bygone luxury. And just when you’ve had a really heavy lunch topped off with some chilled lassi, does a mail pop into your inbox. Now, outside professional life, mails are usually responded to with a bored glance or a casual laugh. An IIM student learns to expect more. Mails from the PGP office between 12.30PM and 3.30PM are…the most dreaded on campus. Statistics for Management toppers have for decades struggled with their regression, correlation and heuristic analyses to comprehend the relationship between full stomachs and afternoon mails from the PGP office. Surprise quizzes, considered by many as an initiative by the Lucifer himself, serve to knock you off your dreamy siestas and full tummies to those notes that you had, in all probability, hastily scribbled over the last couple of sessions in class. However, the burden of all these activities can be alleviated by merely stepping out onto the hostel terraces for some casual banter with your “ever-ready” group mates whilst taking in the fresh mountain air that most of us have for so long missed, before resuming preparations.

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Udaipur, also called the ‘Venice of the East’ is also called the City of Lakes. Hills, lakes, gardens and palaces, the city is not short on options to recharge the soul and the mind, a welcome relief from the daily grind. The Chief Conservator of Forests in Udaipur organizes regular treks for the students, which apart from being an experience in itself, helps build bonds that could very well last a lifetime. For the foodie, the alleys of the Old Udaipur town are a godsend. Rajasthani delicacies, Mumbai vadapavs and even Keralite non-vegetarian cuisine, the city’s got enough to keep you satiated. Fast food outlets of the likes of KFC, Pizza Hut are in a close proximity to the campus and make for a welcome reprieve at the weekends.

For those who want to work on their extra-curricular activities, IIM Udaipur’s clubs and committees (currently numbering to around 20) provide ample opportunities. The Media & Industry Interaction Cell organizes the Leadership Summit, which is the flagship event of the campus. The Literary club is not just restricted to organizing quizzes. Over the last year, it has organized the Udaipur Leap Day Lit Fest where authors of the likes of Rashmi Bansal and Ashwin Sanghvi visited the campus and interacted with the students. The club also conducted the Udaipur Amazing Race which was basically a treasure hunt across the city of Udaipur, organized along the lines of the popular TV show. The football and crickets enthusiasts among the batch have a Cricket and Football League system in place, complete with an IPL-style auctioning system to add a little extra spice. There are also regular JAM sessions and film screenings that allow the entire batch to let its hair down and have fun as a group. The institute also has a music room, where the musicians of the batch can let loose post the sessions in class.

As in every Management School, due importance is given to those clubs that promote the business of Business itself at IIM Udaipur. Finomina – The Finance Club of IIM Udaipur holds sessions and competitions with the batch to illustrate and discuss various aspects of finance. The Entrepreneurship Cell – Saksham holds guest lectures with the batch, where students get to interact with budding entrepreneurs. Prayatna – The Social Responsibility club has taken up a variety of initiatives to promote a spirit of social responsibility among the students. The Cultural Committee organizes various cultural events in the campus to highlight the diversity of the batch. The recent Food Fest conducted in association with the Mess Committee is just an example of the same.

As with any other college, the real flavour of IIM Udaipur is best experienced in its hostels. Time inside the hostels doesn’t run according to the Indian Standard Time though, at any point in the day the mean number of people sleeping and those wide awake are roughly the same. The latter are either working furiously to complete some assignment or trying to derive some inspiration for doing so off of Facebook!

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Come 8:30 AM and its quite common to see mouths frantically trying to gobble down the breakfast before entering the lecture hall – hopefully before the professor. The afternoons and evenings that are privileged enough to not be spent in class are utilized for impromptu siestas, volleyball matches or Counter Strike battles. More often than not, it’s all three combined.

The nights can be rather subdued before a quiz or some similar tragedy scheduled for the next day, however one thing that manages to bring people together even in times of such hardship is the call for “Maaro Maaro Maaro Maaro” that accompanies every poor soul’s birthday celebrations. The crowd congregates, beats the person black and blue, eats all the cake, (occasionally remembers to wish said person) and then go back to their respective studies. The quizzes still lie in waiting, and they are not going to study for themselves!