Inside IIM Lucknow’s Manfest 2012
Day 1 Report
IIM Lucknow’s Manfest inauguration ceremony began at 3:00 pm with Mr. Agarwal, GM, SBI Lucknow lighting the candle. The ceremony began on a poignant note with a hymn in Sanskrit by one of the students of IIM Lucknow.
This is Manfest’s 25th edition which began as a small inter-IIM event in 1988. The ideal behind this year’s Manfest is Innovate, Implement, Inspire. Manfest has Rs.13.8 lakh prize money for the various management competition that sees the participation of over 20 business schools with PPO’s and PPI’s on offer from TAS, Colgate-Palmolive, Edunirvana and many others. The inauguration saw the felicitation of pioneers who have with their passion changed society through their initiatives. The Prerna award that recognizes social mavericks who provide path breaking solutions to problems plaguing society. The initiatives Streets at Play and Re Globe were this year’s recipients were felicitated by Mr R. K. Agarwal, the guest of honour and Dr. Ajay Garg, Chairman, Student Affairs. The audience was then addressed by Mr. R. K Agarwal who with his words questioned conventional wisdom of putting too much emphasis on intellectual growth. Mr. Agarwal left us with the thought that innovation should be something that improves quality of human life rather than bulging the bottom line on the Profit and Loss statement.
This year’s Tata Leadership summit saw industry stalwarts such as Mr. Govindraj Ethiraj, Founder Editor-in-chief, Bloomberg, Mr. Gaurav Gupta, Partner Deloitte India S&O, Mr. Jayant Krishnan, Senior Executive at TCS and Mr. Shantaram Latkar, CFO Tata Technology. Last and definitely not the least former Deputy Director of the RBI, Mrs S. Gopinath one of the key monetary experts responsible for India’s current monetary outlook.
The topic of todays summit is India Inc. Going Global: Prospect and Pitfalls. The discussion was chaired by Mr. Eithiraj. The summit was started off by Mrs. S. Gopinath who reminisced on erstwhile India’s industrial outlook and closed economic policy. Mr. Gaurav Gupta, an IIM Lucknow alumnus touched upon the outward outlook of Indian MNC’s by means of acquisitions. There has been a trend of Indian Industry of acquire more business to consumer and natural resources acquisitions due to strategic implications of limited resources. An important point touched upon was the marriage between family run enterprises and professional run businesses. Most of the these acquisition have been taking only short term goals into consideration leaving most companies bleeding due to lack of synergy. Mr. Jayant Krishnan touched upon TCS’s role in pioneering the offsite technology’s model. He emphasized though that this model is continuously changing even if it is meeting current demands. Mr. Latkar focused more upon the importance of manufacturing being a part of the Indian growth story. He stressed on the fact that the next $ 1 trillion to be added to the GDP has to come from the manufacturing sector. Mr. Latkar was of the view that this can only be realized by addition of the required infrastructure especially in terms of computing and processing capabilities via access to super computers. He stressed on the fact that an acquisition has to be synergy of the two companies rather than an imposition of business processes on the company being acquired as well as a marriage between cultures. The summit was then followed up by a free flowing interaction between the leaders and the audience.
The first evening at IIM Lucknow’s Manfest was replete with a variety of shows, from the satirical to the invigorating to the soulful.
The evening’s entertainment began with ‘Bechara maara gaya’, an adaptation of Dario Fe’s famous play, ‘Death of an Anarchist’. IIM Lucknow’s student dramatics club, Abhivyakti, presented the play. The context of the play was shifted to Lucknow, full of insider jokes and stock characters the audience could identify with, like the bumbling constable and the moralistic journalist.
As the evening wore on, Pt. Ronu Mazumdar, a Grammy award nominated flautist and student of Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, took the stage. Acknowledging the winter Manfest’s audience was braving to listen to him perform, he said he’d play as long as the audience was comfortable, but went on to mesmerize the audience with his rendition of Raga Bhagyashree, to the point where the audience forgot their numb noses and fingers.
Panditji was ably assisted by Pt. Sudhir Pandey on the Tabla, and Pt. Haridas Sharma, his student, on the flute.
The enchanting classical notes were followed by the mesmerizing dance performances by Random Walk- the dance club of IIM Lucknow. Diverse dance forms ranging from the Indian folk dances- Rajasthani, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil to western, retro, free style heated up the chilled night. The famous Kolaveri number and the contemporary couple dance left a mark in everyone’s heart.
Eclectica, like the name suggests, promised a night with an eclectic mix of music from bands in Delhi and Lucknow. The ‘Aphids’ from Delhi, – who claim they eat drink and smoke Music gave a rocking alternative rock and roll start to the evening. The ‘Chokfite’ from Delhi chalked out the further pathway for a thrilling night with their chalk rock tunes. The ‘Oxymoron’ band from Lucknow made the audience go crazy and tap to their progressive metal tunes. The evening ended with the IIM Lucknow band ‘3.4’ recreating magic on stage with the famous numbers like Hallelujah by Pain of Salvation, Breed by nirvana, Song 2 by Blur, Born to be wild, Snow by Red Hot Chili Peppers and others. And whatever more the crowd wished for!
The evening was a musical experience of a lifetime with a lot of mix of dance and singing and instrumental on a single platform.
Day 2 Report
The Highlights of Day 2 of Manfest were events like Anjuman – The Corporate Luncheon, TAS ZEUS, The Next CEO, Yajna, Economist of the Year and Imperatoria. The day also featured many attractive on the spot events for participants notably Contrapunto conducted by Media and Communication Cell and Bazaar by Prism – The Marketing Committee of IIM Lucknow. There were also many quizzing events conducted throughout the day. There were also many informal events to keep the participants occupied. There will be a band performance by Goldspot later in the evening.
Below are the details of major events held during the day :
The Next CEO
The Next CEO is one of the most highly competitive B-School Management event in India, which sees a participation of the top 12 Business schools in India. This event has been seeing some of india’s brightest business minds since 2003 that sees intense rivalry between the participants for the coveted title of the Next CEO. This time around these budding CEO’s see one of their challenges in the form of Lucknow’s famous Chikan industry. This industry, inspite of having a huge amount of demand for its product both in the country and overseas has not been able to capitalize and grow outside of UP. IIM Lucknow tied up with 3 stores at the famous Lucknow Janpat Market at Hazratganj, known for its numerous Chikan stores. The participants were given a brief introduction by Mr. Pabhodh Arya, an engineer from IIT Delhi who has been a part of the Chikan Industry. Mr. Arya was very impressed with IIM Lucknow’s endeavour to suggest strategic changes to shopkeepers and small enterprise owners so as to revive this dying art-form. The students were split into teams of 4. Each team visited and interacted with shop owners to gain an understanding and perspective about the functioning of the industry. IIM Lucknow has tied up with 3 shops in the Janpat Market area namely Modage Chikan, Nazrana and Avadh Chikan. The teams spent time to understand their product and the kind of consumer it was being marketed to. Some of the common facts that came out of this discussion were that this industry has no organized retail. Marketing of the product lacks focus and no understanding of the consumer. The worksmanship is without doubt of the finest quality but takes a long time to produce even one dress. This seems to be a common grouse since by the time the product comes to market it may be out of vogue. The workman has no understanding of the market demand. After an interaction with the storekeepers the students moved back to the campus to make a presentation to Mr. Prabodh Arya on how this industry can be better organized. This presentation would be from a shop keeper as well as from the industry perspective.
Imperatoria is national level strategy domain flagship conducted by The Consulting & Strategy Club of IIM Lucknow as a part of Manfest. The competition tests the acumen of B-school students to come up with executable strategies and implementation plans for business problems across sectors in various functions. This is the 2nd edition of this competition received a huge response with students more than 60 top B-Schools. The first round, conducted online, consisted of questions across business estimations, finance, economics, demand forecasting and a strategy formulation test.
The top 6 teams were invited to the IIM Lucknow campus for the Finale. The Finale consisted of 3 gruelling rounds in which their intellectual abilities and business insights were tested. The rounds comprised of games in which some business situations are stimulated in a competitive environment where every team had to take decisions on the spot based on their analysis of the situation and anticipation of the competitive reaction. One of the final rounds was a case study analysis which was evaluated by Mahindra Head of Strategic Planning –Farm equipment Gyaneshwar Tiwari & Senior IIM Lucknow Faculty, Prof. Samir Srivastava.
Anjuman – The corporate Luncheon
IIM Lucknow’s annual business conclave hosted Anjuman, the corporate luncheon today. The event endeavors to bring together students, industry stalwarts for an informal interaction over a sumptuous Nawabi lunch. Based on the theme “Innovate, implement and inspire: Build a legacy”, Anjuman took lessons from institutions and individuals who have persevered and prospered across tumultuous times to build a lasting legacy. Fittingly, this year marks the 25th anniversary of Manfest.
Opening the event, Dr. Devi Singh, Director, IIM Lucknow, said “Creativity is the new driver, and India has some of the most creative people”. He was, however, skeptical of our dubious implementation record, saying “We get a hundred ideas a day, but we need to improve their execution. We need to improve our business models.” He encouraged the students to concentrate on execution, quipping “It is an exciting journey from ideation to implementation”. He compared the current constraints of sustainability on Indian corporates, to the pressure of globalization in the 1990s. He stressed on innovation for growth, and said “Growth can be sustainable; growth can be eco-friendly.” He expressed confidence in Indian talent, saying “We can show the world how this can be done, even with 1 billion people.”
Mr. Shantaram Latkar, CFO of Computational Research Labs, concentrated on innovation, saying “Inventions don’t create wealth; innovations do.” He insisted on the need for a pervasive culture of innovation, using anecdotes from Tata and Malcolm Balridge, stating “Innovation is not the responsibility of a few, but the prerogative of many.” Concluding with advice on the importance of implementation, “People are not interested in what you talk, but in what you do”, he advised the students.
Mr. Chaitanya Kalbag, Editor, Business Today, cautioned that innovation has gone from being a buzzword to a cliché, and suggested instead that “Professionalism, a strong work culture and proactive leadership are the need of the hour”. Offering advice to the students, he set these out as a great opportunity, for both career advancement and nation building. “Think about what differentiates you”, he said. He singled out education, especially vocational training, as a critical action item for India. In response to a question on best practices, he said “There are too many managers in India, but too little management going on.”
Seshadri Rajaram, CEO, Erhardt-Leimer, focused on the manufacturing sector. He defined innovation as anything we do “better, cheaper and faster; and transfer the benefits to the people”. He led the discussion to game-changing innovations like fountain pens, personal computers, and, more recently, digital cameras. Positioning foresight as a vital skill, he said “We have to identify strategic inflection points”.
Santosh Nair, Editor, moneycontrol.com, spoke about how innovation need not always come from within. He used the example of moneycontrol.com to describe how customers themselves can be used as idea-generators. “We invested in encouraging and constantly monitoring customer feedback”, he revealed.
The engaging Q&A session that followed was complimented by a delectable lunch spread highlighting Lucknow’s rich food culture.
ONGC Yajna, Pan-India CSR Challenge: A competition involving 8 NGOs from across the country, combines the 3 pillars of successful social change. The event saw 750 students registering for it. Among the 8 NGOs, was Lucknow’s ‘Wisdom Treasures Foundation’, engaged in the upliftment of chikankari workers. This event, sponsored by the iconic ONGC was Manfest’s way to help students take a step in the direction of ‘business with purpose’.
It saw its finale being held on the 21st of Jan in the IIM Lucknow campus. The event’s judges Magsaysay Award winner and founder of Asha for Education, Dr. Sandeep Pandey and Ms. Meenakshi Gupta, founder of Goonj, India were truly impressed with the effort that was put in by the participants to understand and ameliorate the problems being faced by these NGOs. They were also in deep appreciation of IIM Lucknow’s Manfest, and its efforts to sensitise business students to the issues that are plaguing the social sector and bringing management learnings into this much ignored field.
The event was won by the team from SPJIMR (S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research). The team worked on designing a viable model for providing solar lights in slums and tribal villages of Thane district, Maharashtra. They worked for the NGO Seva Sahyog, Mumbai. They won the first prize of Rs. 50,000. The second and third prizes were won by IIM Calcutta and SITM (Symbiosis Institute of Technical Management). They worked with Vikramshila, Kolkata and Seva Sahyog, Pune. Yajna stood true to its claim of an event committed to affect social change and spearhead the betterment of society in every way by making itself a truly Green Event. Manfest made sure that it reduced the carbon prints by conducting the event on Video Conference instead of flying the participants down. A true social initiative at IIM Lucknow’s Manfest 2012.
Day 2 – Evening events
SBI Biz Quiz
The second night of Manfest had stunning performances by the business minds of India enlocking the codes of the SBI BizQuiz followed by the tickling stand up comedy act by Vipul Goyal. The international band Goldspot ended up as a perfect dessert for the amazing night.
The SBI BizQuiz saw some record breaking participation with 353 teams participating in online events and 70 teams participating in the on campus quiz. The quiz also had participation from the country’s best corporate quiz winners like the Brand Equity and Tata Crucible Champions winners.
The Quiz was conducted by Mr Mitesh Agarwal, the CTO & Director of Oracle’s systems Consulting Business. He has won several quizzes including the prestigious Tata Crucible Corporate Quiz & the Odyssey Open Quiz and has conducted quizzes for The Hindu Business Line, IIMs and Bits Pilani. The Quizmaster captivated the audience with his wit and sense of humour with the engaging and mind boggling questions framed. G Sreekanth (TCS) and Jaggnesh (Oracle) led the quiz from the start and emerged as the winners with a convincing margin.
Vipul Goyal – Standup Comedy Act
After this Vipul Goyal, IIT Bombay alum, and one of the hottest stars of the university stand-up comedy circuit, took the stage. With an act tailor-made for the B-School crowd, Vipul had the sizeable audience in splits for the better part of an hour.
Vipul spared no one. From the hosts, IIM Lucknow, to IIM Ahmedabad, to IIPM, each were made fun of in turns. His jokes gripped the audience, sometimes by their sheer ability to turn against the audience itself at the last moment.
He poked fun at regional quirks and cliches, and joked extensively on inter-generational conflict, especially between parents and children. Switching with ease between Hindi and English, Vipul showed what classy stand up comedy can really be in a place like India.
Vipul ended the evening with a joke about Manfest itself–but we aren’t telling. To see Vipul take a pin to our collective egoes, you had to be here yourself!
Throughout the second day of IIM Lucknow’s Manfest, participants and visitors were witness to Los Angeles band Goldspot’s meticulous pre-concert preparation. The band spent hours and hours on stage, tuning their voices and their instruments, perfecting every note and nuance. All this was for the big performance in the evening. Manfest is still the only B-School fest to feature an international band. The evening fit the pomp of that status.
The band started by playing songs from their most recent release, the critically acclaimed ‘And the Elephant is Dancing’. The show started with the band launching directly into ‘Rewind’. ‘What’s Under the House’, played almost as an afterthought at the end of this part of the set, turned out to be the most electrifying performance of the evening. The band came together in an absolute storm. The song stands out in their repertoire, but Goldspot are a different animal live, all raw energy and thrust and overwhelmingly (there’s no other word for it) clean vocals, a different experience from the polished feel of the album version. Drummer Darren Beckett and bassist Adam Chilenski were particularly inspired when performing this song.
The next part of the set featured songs from ‘Tally of the Yes Men’, the album that caught influential American DJ Nic Harcourt’s ear. The band shone particularly on two favourites from this album, the derisively admonishing ‘It’s getting old isn’t it’ and the stubbornly optimistic ‘Clap Clap’.
Siddhartha Khosla, Goldspot’s frontman and primary creative force, is of Indian origin. Mixed in with early-Beatles mush and Beach Boys surf rock is some Kishore Kumar, of late-50s and 60s vintage, full of his signature youthfulness and verve. “I worshipped Kishore Kumar”, Khosla told the Manfest audience, saying ‘worshipped’ like he really meant it. The crowd roared in response, demonstrating Kishore’s continuing popularity with the youth. Khosla didn’t end there, mentioning Manna Dey, Mukesh, Hemanta Kumar and even K.L. Saigal. After finishing the first two sets of songs, Goldspot launched into a rendition of ‘Ae mere pyaare watan’, a song Khosla has become famous for on YouTube. Hopefully, better quality grabs of this performance will go up on the site now.
After this desi interlude, Goldspot played songs from their latest, unreleased album, including a first time ever public performance of ‘Evergreen Cassette’. The song is about Khosla’s annual Indian vacations, when his mother would send him letters in the form of audio tapes. It successfully captures the beauty of the memory, and its pathos. The song featured James Gabbie, on guitar and synth, in his element.
Of course, no Goldspot performance can end without the song the Manfest crowd was demanding from the start: Friday. The bilingual version was performed. After a group of IIM Lucknow students persistently sang Ina Mina Dika between numbers, the band obliged by playing their version of the 1959 hit. The song was extended with a wonderfully atonal solo at the end by Jacob Owen on guitar. With that, the evening was over.
IIM Lucknow and Manfest’s initiative in bringing the band to India has translated into a full-fledged India tour by the band, so to see some of the above for yourself, do check out the Goldspot tour dates on their official channels.
Day 3 Report
Lucknow City Run
On the beautiful Sunday morning of 22nd January 2012, IIM Lucknow’s international business conclave, Manfest, organized the Lucknow 10k Run to address health awareness as a critical social issue. The event received support from across the corporate and regulatory spectrum, with Moods, MTS, Gatorade, Bank of Baroda and UNICEF extending their support and expertise to the event.
The run was aimed at creating awareness and mobilize support for much-needed health and fitness efforts. This event brought together both residents and running enthusiasts in celebration of the significant achievements so far, and in acknowledgement of the long road ahead. Lucknow-ites turned up in large numbers opposite the Fun Republic Mall for a Sunday-morning run to reiterate the importance of healthy living.
Professional athletes from across the country participated in this professionally conducted, 10 km run which carries prize money of INR 1,35,000. Prizes include substantial rewards for group participation as well, encouraging college-going students to spread the word. T-shirts, certificates and other goodies are also on offer for participants. Participants may register at register.iimlmanfest.com or collect forms on the spot.
The Next CEO
IIM Lucknow has always been of the belief that tomorrow’s leaders are framed out of business acumen and impact. The event saw participation from 11 candidates, from top b-schools in the country, each selected from their respective college. The event included several simulation games to test the kind of impact that they make to help businesses improve and their business acumen. One of the rounds featured a chess game simulation and a person emerged as the winner tested by strategy and coordination skills. Another round tested the practicality and the kind of impact these emerging leaders make on the Chikan industry in Lucknow. The third round was a media round wherein quick thinking and the ability of a leader to stand up to pressure were tested. This innovative event, which is one of the flagship events of IIM Lucknow’s Manfest, aims at testing true mettle of a leader. The event went on for three days and the total prize money for the event was 1 lakh. Sneha Vaidyanathan from MDI Gurgaon won the first prize. The second prize was taken by Kunal Ahuja of IIM Lucknow.
Mahindra Leadership Summit
The Mahindra Leadership summit was attended by Mrs. Anita Arjundas, CEO Real Estate and MD Mahindra Lifespace Developers, Mr. R. B. Barman, former Deputy Governor & Executive Director RBI, Mr. B. Kartik, Sr, Executive with Mahindra Corporate brand management and the man behind Mahindra Rise as well as Mr. Anand Bhatia, Sr. Executive with Ormax and an alumnus of IIM Lucknow. The summit was moderated by Mr. Shishir Prasad, Deputy Editor, Forbes India. The focus of the summit was to discuss driving sustainable growth by empowering stakeholders.
The discussion was started off by Mrs. Arjundas who discussed Mahindra’s real estate projects at Jaipur and Chennai and how workers who were stakeholders in the project were given the opportunity to avail education for them as well as their children. Mr. Barman spoke about the Macro economic climate in South Asia specifically in India and China. He quoted a Goldman Sachs report which suggested that in the coming years India and China would feature among the top 3 economic super powers if they sustain their growth rate. He drew parallels between India and China’s growth story and how both of them have been able to leverage their human resources and grow. Mr B. Kartik spoke about the initiative behind the Brand Mahindra Rise and how this venture was not just some run of the mill CSR venture, but was a concerted effort in integrating Mahindra into society and providing the relevant stakeholders with opportunities to grow and improve. Mr. Bhatia spoke about the robustness of the Indian retail climate and how the advent of FDI into this sector would be more a boon rather than a bane to all stakeholders involved. This would improve the logistics and supply chain system in the country including cold storage facilities. It would benefit farmers as well as the local mom and pop stores in the process making them more competitive. The discussion was then followed up by an interaction between the panel and the audience.
The evening promises to be entertaining with performances by Benny Dayal, Anushka Manchanda and DJ Suketu scheduled. The three day event is set to have a grand closing with mesmerizing performances by these talented artists.