As a part of the team organizing the annual alumni meet of NITIE this year, I was waiting at the campus gate to welcome an alumnus, who was a student of PGDIM batch of 2010 and holds a prestigious position at a well-known bank in India. I had already created a picture in my mind of a charismatic personality well-groomed in his expensive suit arriving in no less than an Audi or a BMW. Interestingly, I almost didn’t spot him while I was standing at the campus gate to receive him. Only when I turned back to see a man in a casual off-white shirt with denim jeans and Bose headphones around his neck and getting out of an auto-rickshaw, that I realized it was indeed him. I introduced myself to him with a smile and he responded with a wider smile and warmth as if he was welcoming me to his alma mater. Well, in this case, it's true because he had been frequently visiting the campus for guest lectures and knowledge sessions ever since he passed out, while I was associated with the college for little over 6 months.
It’s true that nostalgia makes people assume that past was a great time. But one cannot deny that nostalgia is a strong emotion, may be the strongest of all. And this was pretty much evident from the aura in the campus that day. The campus was at its stunning best with myriad lighting, banners, lanterns and it seemed as if Diwali arrived sooner this year. A group of alumni in their 40s-50s were roaming around the campus arm in arm and reliving their memories by visiting their favourite spots in the campus. The top spot was claimed by our legendary NITIE pond or ‘NITIE Sarovar’, which had been host to a plethora of memories as it is the most visited place on campus with frequent student gatherings for meetings and birthdays. Another group was climbing the famous 96 stairs on the way to the academic building as if they had a lecture to attend. It was their day and no one could take that away from them.
While escorting the alumnus I mentioned earlier to the campus gate after an eventful day, I had an amazing productive conversation with him regarding his thoughts on how one should make the most out of a B-School and how to align one’s career progress with the desired goals. He discussed how he used to prepare for the different case study competitions conducted by corporates and colleges and emphasized their importance in enriching the MBA experience. On that short walk from the auditorium to the campus gate, I had an epiphany that in some years I could be in his shoes having had rich corporate experience and sharing my thoughts with a certain junior. On a lighter note, he also told me that he came to campus in casual attire to relive the feeling of being a student. Nostalgia, you are definitely something!
Alumni relations of a college go a long way in building brand equity for the college as well as opens up many placement opportunities for the students. But the cherry on the cake for me is the interesting and enlightening conversations you have with the knowledgeable alumni who have walked the career paths that are awaiting you. “Science is organized knowledge, but wisdom is organized life.” And for the alumni, it’s about giving back to the institution that made them the professional they are today.
No wonder an alumni base spanning over 55 years is the greatest asset NITIE has. I am grateful to be a member of such an elite club of professionals. While wrapping up a successful event, I realized that I would be adding to this remarkable alumni base in a couple of years. And someday in future, I am definitely going to be on this campus visiting as an alumnus but dressed as a student.
“Some days I wish I could go back in life. Not to change anything, but to feel a few things twice.”
--- Rohan Dhakite
He is a PGDIM student of NITIE for 2018-2020. He has done his B.Tech from NIT, Nagpur. He has worked as a chemical engineer in United Phosphorus Ltd. for 18 months and as a business analyst in ZS Associates for 15 months.