Learning Operations Management – The IIM L Way

The chalk hit my nose. The precision with which silence was torn open into a roar of laughter struck my ears like a sharp pin of embarrassment. Dilbert was giving a unique expression on the projector screen and the slide changed to “You never get a second chance… to make a first impression”. I rubbed my eyes to be startled by the irony of the moment.


Time was running slow, particularly on a day where the puppies got no breakfast. Indeed, service quality perception says, “failure is not an option”. Sad and dejected by my utter irresponsible behaviour, I turned towards the guy sitting next to me. Barely on his chair, resting on the edge of it his pen rushed with the speed of an airplane.

Morning quizzes no longer spoil my day… I’ve developed a strong immune system. But today’s one surely did the job. The bread leftovers that otherwise go inside the garbage bin usually serve to be the food for the ten little puppies near the big gnarled trunk of the huge oak tree. I woke up at 8 and rushed to Hall 1 for the Operations Management quiz at 8:10. The leftovers found their place in the bin. The slide changed, “Just In Time (JIT)”

I vividly remember the day when their tiny eyes looked at me and I couldn’t stop staring back. They seemed hungry. Barely could they move, they looked at me in search of consideration. I sighed… they won’t live, not all of them… I thought. The slide changed, “Prediction is very difficult especially if it’s about the future”

They grew up over the weeks. I watched them come out of their home, a slightly deep pit beside Hostel 4… I watched them gradually learn to eat, run, play… I watched as they learnt to share their food, to love each other, to enjoy the sun and to hold on to one another in the chilly, wintry nights…

I ran as fast as I possibly could. A big van waited near the gnarled trunk and a slight confusion rolled in the air. If not a JIT, I managed a SHIT (SomeHow In Time). The little puppies looked through the small iron openings from the van. The smallest of them was still holding on to her mother. The short and stout driver wore a once yellow t-shirt that loosely fitted him. His trousers were oversize and he looked somewhere in his mid-40s. He turned to look at me. The tilted smile on his dark and thick lips made a shiver run down my spine. He frowned and moved towards the tree. The mother watched as her little puppy was snatched away from her. The oak tree stared in silent objection. His hands trembled as he carried the puppy, black with white dots. I saw the slight repentance in his eyes.

“How come when I want a pair of hands, I get a human being as well?” Strange, that I must remember Henry Ford at a time when I should mourn over the last bread pieces that the puppies couldn’t get… the little puppies that will grow up without a mother’s love. All the bread leftovers should have been thrown into the garbage bin… the puppies should have died and not see their mother wagging her tail as the van moved out of her sight.

The thick voice said, “To fail to plan means to plan to fail”. The chalk hit my nose again. Of all the things in the world… did I just dream about those filthy puppies??? Yes, the puppies.


This article is written by Debalina Haldar, class of 2015 student at IIM Lucknow. Her novel, The Female Ward, was published in May, 2013. She is the Creative Head and Core Coordinator of the Media and Communication Cell at IIM Lucknow

Media & Communication Cell IIM-Lucknow

IIM Lucknow's Media and Communication Cell (MCC) serves as a communications liaison between the Institute and the external world. MCC also acts as the community building platform of IIML and ensures that all the student activities and initiatives at IIM Lucknow receive public recognition


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