A B-School Beyond Management – SPJIMR
Anyone who prepares to enter a b-school does so with sky-high expectations. Having been an aspirant myself, I also expected something out of the blue that would transform me into a suave manager in college. A typical b-school is expected to deliver on the promise of building leadership qualities, developing oratory skills, team coordination, ability to prioritize and above all the burning desire to make an impact that lasts.
SPJIMR is the only school which prepares its students for a great career ahead by teaching mentoring skills during the MBA course. The PGDM program has a unique pedagogic innovation called Abhyudaya, which fosters social responsibility among b-school students through experiential learning. Abhyudaya is a year-long mentorship programme through which first year MBA students at SPJIMR mentor bright, underprivileged children (called Sitaras) from the neighbouring schools. This mentoring interaction between the student and the Sitara provides rich opportunities for learning and growth for both.
The first year students begin their journey with the Sitaras through Hastantaran. Hastantaran, a Sanskrit word meaning hand-over, is a fun event organised each year in which the Sitaras are officially assigned to the new set of mentors in the first year. This year Hastantaran was held on 23rd July.
The event began with Mrs. Deepa Krishnan, Abhyudaya faculty in-charge, bearing her warm pleasant smile on the stage welcoming the new batch of Sitaras and their mentors. Priyanka, a college going Sitara, was called on stage to describe her experience with Abhyudaya. After this, there were some awe-inspiring stage performances by the Sitaras: a group dance and a skit.
The group dance, which had six talented Sitaras, was choreographed by the Sitaras themselves and was based on the peppy Bollywood track from Dangal “Baapu sehatth k liye”. The performance was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience and the performers were acknowledged by a thunderous applause for their lion-hearted effort.
Following in the dancers’ footsteps, it was the actors’ turn to steal the show. The skit presented was based on the social issue of “Unequal rights for the Girl child”. The entire script and screenplay for the drama had been planned by the Sitaras themselves. The play was a mixed bag of emotions. It began with showcasing how parents are sad as soon as the news of a girls’ birth is heard. The play then showcased the stark contrast in parents’ behaviour towards their son and daughter. The son was entitled to extra pocket money whereas the girl was asked to not attend school and focus on learning household chores. The play also brought to light the issue of child marriage. The girl refused to marry but was overpowered by her parents’ narrow mindset. Luckily though, help arrived at the opportune moment in the form of her teacher. The play then leapt into the future with the girl growing up to become a successful person. The spectacular performers garnered the respect & admiration of the audience accompanied by claps and cheers.
After their performances, Mrs. Deepa shared the feedback she had received from the Senior Sitaras and their parents. She also shared some tips for the new mentors asking from the Sitaras, qualities of a good mentor. The mentors then gave goodies to the Sitaras and were encouraged to interact with the Sitaras and their families, following which the mentors posed for photographs with respective Sitaras. The interaction, though a short one, provided a platform for the students to know their Sitara a whole lot better.
The entire event was a reflection of both the core values of SPJIMR: Courage & Heart. The girl in the play had the courage to follow her heart and overcame all the adversities in her path to reach pinnacles of success. We, as students have begun on our path to lead the Sitaras and help them in our own unique ways by building nurturing relationships with them.
If you look closely, Hastantran is indeed a very apt word to describe the whole one year journey which begins with the transfer of Sitara to new mentors, progressing with the transfer of knowledge and values from the mentors and then the transfer of Sitaras to the new batch. The cycle is never ending and the learnings invaluable. Sure, we all might become super successful managers someday but the relationships we build over time matter more than that success. Indeed, this is what Abhyudaya teaches us: to be humble and to believe in mutual growth.
About The Authors:
Surbhi Jain is an Operations & Supply Chain PGDM student at SPJIMR. She is a member of the core team of Abhyudaya, a non-classroom initiative by SPJIMR. She is also a part of the Drama team and performs street plays.
Jatin Adlakha is pursuing PGDM in Operations & Supply Chain Management from SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai. He is also a member of the Abhyudaya core committee at SPJIMR.