The Himalayan Outbound Programme is a “4 credit course” offered in the 5th Trimester, but I would prefer to call it an educational excursion. So, we pack our backpacks and go trekking for a week in the Himalayas. How many of us would actually go backpacking in the Himalayas after we enter the “corporate world”?! Often, many claim that HOP is just an additional attribute that would attract one towards joining Planet-I. But I beg to differ and here is why…
There are problems beyond running a business that an MBA graduate should contribute to, too
HOP is not only about travelling with friends, trekking for a week with campfires, songs etc. Around 10 groups are assigned to a vendor and each vendor sets a certain task for the groups. We do not just go have fun but we are made to go have fun with a cause. For instance, my group was assigned to IndiaHikes (I can never stop going on about how great they are! Should probably write about them soon ) and we were assigned a project on how we can implement a successful waste management system in our beautiful mountains. Now, have we ever given that a thought!? It is always about waste management in the urban areas isn’t it? Before we begun our trek, we were made to conduct “primary research” in a small village called Wan. And throughout the trek we were made to pick up litter along the way and discuss how we could implement a successful waste management system in the mountains by observing the constraints all by ourselves. At the end of the trek, we were made to present our ideas. HOP will make an MBA graduate realise that he should not restrict himself but think beyond as there are so many areas of development where an “MBA Brain” could make an amazing contribution.
The importance of being fit and healthy
In the race to become successful, all of us take our health for granted. HOP made us all realise how important and amazing it is to stay healthy and fit despite how busy we are, and this is how. To ace the mountain challenge, all of us were regulated to improve our fitness. One would not believe how crowded the gyms and swimming pools were. Yes we had assignments, exams and classes then too, but we made time for fitness and it felt good. Also, during the trek it was good falling sick along the way as we missed out on so much. For instance, I fell sick along the way and was advised not to continue the climb (but I did and that is a whole other story :P). at that moment, it just killed me that I was losing out on so much. You can be all the more successful and rich, but without health, you will be missing out on so many experiences. Most of us are current continuing the HOP Fitness streak as we have realised that no matter how busy you are, you should always make time for your health and only you can take care of yourself the best.
Realisation of who we are and what we are when we are ripped off, of technology
Give him a laptop and internet and he will be on fire! But what happens when you rip him off of all that!? What can he do and where does he stand? Will he still be able to take those same decisions? Well, I do not think so. At HOP you can forget getting connectivity and having lights at your campsite. We had games along the way and point system to keep track of the winning team. 2 of the games were to cook a meal using fire that you make yourself (yes, raw materials ware provided) and another one was to build a stool using plastic bottles that was collected along the way. Only two teams were able to light up their fire, and as usual we MBA guys negotiated with them using our points and yes we managed to give a decent meal to the judges. (check out what my team cooked :D - didn’t taste as good as it looked though ). Technology has made our lives so simple, but our ancestors have come this far from nothing. We are thinking so ahead of time that at times we forget who we really are and what we are capable of as one day there might or might not be anything, but only us to rely on.
There is more to life than building your career, earning money etc. – An eye-opener before placements
In HOP, we stood up for each other, learnt to manage of ourselves, helped each other (like two guys literally carried an injured guy during the decent), realised the beautiful environment around us (that we always take for granted) and most importantly how happy we were. We did not have money, we did not have the technology, we did not have successful careers…but we were so happy and so many new and deeper relationships were formed between us. Placements were just weeks away after HOP and that was the time where most of us where under the pressure that we must land upon only on the best of the jobs and get the highest salary package - Because we thought that would only give us happiness. HOP was an amazing eye opener as we didn’t have any of that, but we were happy. We knew there is more to life that can give us all the happiness in the world.
MBA graduates are taught how to run the corporate world, but being the leaders of tomorrow it even more relevant that we know how to run this world so that the generations to come do not miss out on anything that we had. 2 years of MBA can be very taxing, but Planet-I has HOP to liven things up. Likewise, life can be very hectic for an MBA graduate, but is always important to have all that fun. With HOP on the list, IIM Indore indeed provides a well rounded Management course for all its students.
P.S Cover picture courtesy: I wish I knew.