“It’s a thankless job!”, When you start something with such a statement you know, it is going to be interesting. These were the first words that our senior PR team told us when we were inducted into the Public Relations Cell of the institute. I did not understand what they meant then, I am not sure even now.
It has been almost a year since the inductions for PGP’17 batch of IIM Shillong concluded when we were inducted. It has been one fantastic rollercoaster ride. PR is not the responsibility of just a handful of inducted individuals, the onus of it lies on everyone in the institute. What do we do then? I am still figuring out. At times we are asked if its just Facebook, at the time even that is not an accepted as a response. Any external communication, they call us, any need of support in branding or content, we are asked to pitch in, and yet no one ever agrees to us working. It is indeed a thankless job, but I am more than thankful for being able to do it.
The amount of learning and growth that PR has brought to me is immeasurable. Right after the inductions, the birth anniversary of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was celebrated. The students of the college wrote letters to the members of the Indian army thanking them for their service. To be able to visit the Assam Rifles regiment, give them the cards, see the smiles on their faces, I cannot be thankful enough.
PR Cell of IIM Shillong organizes the Podium series along with the Placement committee. Not only has it taught me event organization but has also given an opportunity to interact with the most esteemed speakers that have visited the college. There is no way that can be matched by anything. The podium has to be picture perfect. On the top, everything looks smooth, but there are countless hours of effort put in to invite the speakers, arrangement of the Podium itself and speaker logistics.
Talking of speakers and corporates, IIM Shillong is the only IIM to organize the Golf Cup. We have a natural golf course in Shillong. To walk with the MD of Vistara, talk to him about management skills, watch him play, it's priceless. And then there are the next 15 days when they ping you for sending some excellent photographs while taking shots so that they can change their social media display pictures :D. Those are the most beautiful memories I have, and maybe the most tiring ones as well. It is an 18-hole golf course. And if you are the camera person then be ready to run the marathon all day long. The whole team took rounds of the course numerous times. Someone new arrives, and you have to run the entire length of the course to attend to the person.
We organize TEDxIIMShillong. Without a doubt that was the best event, we have been a part of. Seven speakers are visiting the college from diverse backgrounds, sharing their ideas, listening to their talks, sharing your ideas, and capturing that in your memories forever. But, that is just what you see outside. A couple of our members slept in the auditorium hall itself preparing for the event. Countless things can go wrong, right from the location décor itself to the sweet being served during the lunch. Its show-business, you put in the best show, irrespective of the cost and efforts.
We cover all the events that take place in the college right from social media publicity to media releases. Every so often there is communication from external stakeholders directed towards particular people in the institute. You have to make sure that the message is communicated, and the response followed up.
Naturally, all of the above is apart from the regular working of the committee. So, what do we do? I am still figuring out. But whatever it is, I would not exchange it for anything. The small eight-member team is my own family away from home .