Going Beyond Books – How We Learnt More About Marketing And People Management Through Xamboree
“People never learn anything by being told, they have to find out for themselves.” – Paulo Coelho
Even if this is the first time you are reading this quote, something or the other must have certainly flashed in front of your eyes. A memory that your subconscious might have associated with. We’ve all experienced the meaning of this quote through some way or the other in our life, and for us (students of XUB) it was a lesson learnt in practice while we, along with our peers, seniors, faculties and the bhainas of Xavier University, Bhubaneswar, were putting all our weights behind the preparation for our annual cultural and management fest – Xamboree. It all started a few months ago with the launch of XSteC – Xavier’s Steering committee, which featured a teaser of Xamboree. Everyone was given the opportunity to become a part of the same, which many of us were a little reluctant to do at first as this meant venturing into unchartered waters, but many of us did, nevertheless the shyness. And for those who thought they missed out on being a part of it were still involved in one way or other. All the different committees of XUB, were hell-bent on making every one of their members be a part of the strive or give their contribution in equal capacity, and we, being a part of it, felt like it was the second coming of the opportunity missed.
The actual rush started when the fest was just a month away from its inception. All the members of the various committees were deployed on a mission to acquire what they could for the various events that were to take place in Xamboree. By no measure was it an easy task, as everyone had to sell, adjure and negotiate, come hell or high water. Through this, everyone got the taste of the various intricacies of the arbitrating process that goes on in the marketing world. Meanwhile, the other committees were busy doing their part like publicising the events, beautifying the campus, endorsing their own events by delegating their members to do the promotions. We were sent to various organisations be they schools, colleges, other academic institutions to promote the fest, to ensure participation where our communication skills were tested.
The shadows (as the first years in the committees are called) were given the responsibility of becoming the ambassadors and therefore where we could not press a single wrong note. Everyone was briefed for the umpteenth time on the hows and whats, and as D-day approached, it became more surreal than ever. Never were we (newbies) exposed to this kind of work but we were enjoying every bit of it. It taught us to be dedicated for a cause, and who doesn’t like that, right?
The best part of all of this was that we were pitching to different organisations in different mannerisms as each of them represented different domains of work, and we had to vend various events according to what category they fell in. The media team was busy with their designing, pitching to media houses, writing content for the press releases, social media peeps giving their all with their catchy captions for various social networking channels, photography vertical with their prodigious ability for capturing every valuable moment etc. Calling it hectic would be an understatement as nobody was thinking of maintaining their sleep cycles, or going for outings for that matter. A deadline was there for us to comply with, for each assigned work and even the smallest of delay could’ve jeopardised the whole process because of the inter-dependency of the committees with each other. Surely there were setbacks, but whatever goes according to a plan when it needs to happen at this magnitude and with the humongous number of people involved? We got to learn so much from this whole routine that at some point of time we gracefully slid into the roles of our seniors (who were delegating us) and were no longer bound by the compulsion of performing duties but accepted our roles as responsible denizens of our University.
When one manages to be so closely associated with an event of this enormity, you learn way beyond what you thought you would. One might even say it was a transformative experience you talk to people from different backgrounds ranging from the bhainas of XUB to the corporate suits of the high-end organisations. Hell, we managed to get the most famous rapper of the country, “Badshah” on board to perform in our cultural fest and that brought out (as one can imagine) the best of our managerial skills in convincing him, his manager as well as the record label he’s associated with.
I being a bibliophile, preach to everyone on the importance of reading whatever one can get their hands on, but the power of experiencing the encumbrance of responsibilities firsthand is on a whole another level than one can ever anticipate. As John Keats quoted “Nothing ever becomes real ‘till it is experienced”.