7 Lessons That A Fresher Can Learn From B-School Fests

It’s that time of the year when the Summer Internship processes of various b-schools all over India are winding up. After reminiscing about the gruelling term packed with placement preparation and getting used to the academic schedule in b-schools, the first years are now left with one question that they seem to be asking themselves –

“Wait, now what?”

To address this question and the sudden change of pace, most of the top b-schools have decided on conducting their annual fests during the 2nd term of the year. Continuing on the learning curve, the fests have proven to be a massive upgrade on the ground realities of how things work when like-minded people (or the extreme opposites) come together to conduct the biggest event of the year.

Being a part of Ensemble-Valhalla (EV), the annual management, cultural and sports fest of XLRI Jamshedpur, here are the Top 7 lessons that I’ve learnt –

  1. Be New, Be You:

Reiterating on the fact that all top b-schools conduct their fest during the same term, we pondered on how to be quirkier the rest.

What will make people travel to Jamshedpur to attend a fest?

We knew that we had to try something different and that’s when it dawned on us. Why conduct the management fest (Ensemble) and the sports & cult fest (Valhalla) months apart? Given the schedule of b-school students, asking them to visit twice would be equivalent to forcing them into choosing either the management or the sports & cult fest.

We decided to host it together so that we quash this dilemma by merging the fests but using the same fest titles to continue the rich heritage that XLRI values.

What EV taught me? Know your target market and strategise accordingly.

  1. Network like a maniac:

To pull off an event of such large scale, bringing in participants is pivotal. When convincing is an art that needs continuous improvement, we had to face the reality.

How can one build associations between competitive b-schools if a batch only stays there for 2 years?

We knew that we will have to spam everything that has a pulse. But doing so will be ineffective unless done through the proper channel. We started reaching out to various management institutions and UG colleges to promote the fest through their Deans and Directors. Then we received help from student-run Committees of various colleges. To improve visibility, we also used the concept of selecting a Campus Connect who has the ability to influence his/her college the best for EV’s promotion.

What EV taught me? It won’t suffice if you know how to do it. You need to know who can do it the best.

  1. Sponsors are the demi-gods:

As we started promoting our fest to attract sponsors, we realised how different it is from the promoting it to the students. The question we faced from the students were about the specifications, rules and so on. The first thing that almost every potential sponsor asked us after we started pitching our fest was the same

Yeah pretty neat but what’s the mutual benefit?

Social media presence, footfall, fest reach – The Numbers. Unlike the students who were interested predominantly in the quality, we had to quantify our fest to our sponsors. It was challenging given that this is the first time Ensemble and Valhalla are being merged so stating previous year figures would be underselling it and overselling it won’t be beneficial for subsequent editions of the fest. We decided to throw the ball on their court. We gave them everything that we had – Previous edition figures, extrapolated inferences from current registrations, online reach and networking that we are incorporating this time around along with the Brand value. This helped them pick the features that caught their eye and form associations accordingly for partner titles.

What EV taught me? Never lie to your doctor, lawyer and your sponsor.

  1. The Course Matters? Of Course:

Having equal enrolment in the Business Management and Human Resource Management in XLRI, the selection process for the Core team didn’t show any preference to either. With differing specialisation within a vertical, we had to answer one important question –

Should we now delegate work according to their specialisation or their interest?

Specialisation helps in the theoretical knowledge and applicability whereas interest drives the person to be dedicated. We decided on going hybrid. As things kept getting tougher and tougher with the internship placements, academics and deadlines, we needed both traits to achieve quality. We took it as a challenge to prove ourselves and make a visible impact in the tasks assigned to us no matter the situation.

What EV (and Lord Baelish) taught me? Chaos is a ladder.

  1. Brand commands Quality:

Using our b-schools to identify ourselves has been a matter of pride because of the efforts we had put in to make it happen. We ask ourselves one question before every decision –

Does it resonate XLRI?

Among competitive b-schools, every fest, sports meet, case competitions and the placement report serves as bragging rights. We learnt that we need to keep an eye on everyone else to try and do better. What matters is who we bring here along with the scale of the fest and its USPs. Even if some initiatives would’ve given us an edge in terms of quantity, we gave XL Culture the priority.

What EV taught me? Quality quantifies itself.

  1. Media & Marketing:

The era of social media has made marketing that much more competitive. For most of the obstacles that surfaced, we realised that Marketing didn’t raise the question.

Marketing was the answer.

We started utilising different channels to communicate and spread the word about the events by using online/offline advertisements, social media accounts and well… by submitting an article about organising a fest in the website renowned for b-school-related information.

What EV (and InsideIIM) taught me? How to communicate with the target market.

Speaking of which, the fest is from November 16th-19th 2017

Facebook page.

Registration.

  1. Diversity – Thinking independently together:

Being in one of the top b-schools of the country, people from every direction can be found in XLRI. With no biases during the selection procedure, we found the diversity trend following us in the core team as well. Since we didn’t know each other well initially, we were all thinking the same thing –

Will I be able to work with this bunch?

As we grew together, we realised that diversity was actually the best way to work. Different dimensions and practical examples were discussed prior to every venture and we started feeling at home. A family grew inside XL where every committee came together to have each other’s back all the way through. For someone been in only one city throughout my life prior to coming here, I now know a lot about different cultures, practices, thought process, priorities and gaalis.

What EV gave me? A family.

 

 

About the Author:

Aadharsh M,

PGDM HRM,

XLRI 2017-19.

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