If someone had told me that during B-school, I would be buckets of water mixed with paint, have paint smeared over my face and given credits for painting whatever I wanted, I would have probably found that incredulous. During the mural painting exercise at SPJIMR not only did I play with colours but also made a few very close friends along the way. Over the course of the last 5 months SP Jain has time and again proved that education is not only about rot knowledge from books or marks in the examination but a holistic development of the individual. This was one of the instances. Mural painting with my friend Santosh was a part of the Abhyudaya program, a non-classroom learning initiative of SPJIMR.
What is so special about painting landscapes on the wall with your buddy ? It isn’t the environment where prospective MBA grads, their mentees ( kids from std. 6 to std.10) socialise amidst tasty food and lively music. It isn’t rediscovering your childhood when you try to colour within the lines and not get paint on your hands. It isn’t the nervous energy when you stare at a blank canvass and an expectant mentee looking up to you for answers. It is the feeling of satisfaction you get when your mentee looks at the finished picture and smiles. It is highly un-probable that I will ever become an artist in the future but after getting the approval nod from Sanotsh, I truly felt like ‘Picaso’.
I had often heard how the first year in an MBA could be very stressful and unfulfilling and I was expecting a year crammed with exams and lectures. Though the first year at SPJIMR has been tough, abhyudaya program has been a breath of fresh air. Most people want to reach out and help the community but do not have the time for it. When an MBA program lets you do this and acknowledges your effort by making it a part of the course curriculum you cannot help but feel amazed. But this program is not only made so that students give something back to the society, it’s a wonderful way of learning. In fact, in the last five months, this program has taught me more than my 3-year stint at a leading MNC before I took admission in SPJIMR.
It is amazing how empowered you feel when you are given the responsibility of mentoring a 14-year-old. It is a very difficult but fulfilling task. During the mural painting activity, I had to apply almost all my MBA theories to come up with a satisfactory result. In the classroom you only learn that planning, team work, innovation is necessary to succeed but when you are given a set of colours, a space to draw and limited time you apply them all. It probably stems from the fact that in the eyes of your mentee you are his/her role model and you do not want to let them down so you give it your best shot. You discuss with him/her what scenery to draw, then you proceed to make the sketch on the wall. Both the mentee and the mentor need to work simultaneously to ensure that the picture gets completed on time. Then you proceed to colour, you tap into your creative side and use vivid colours to make your sketch look good. Many a times, you don’t have a particular shade of colour so you mix and match with the given set. In the end, you give finishing touches and then admire at the result of a 2-hour exercise .
The learning that you get is tremendous. It teaches you to be patient (as the colours mix in the wrong way and you need to repaint ). You learn to trust (in your mentees plan and ability). You plan and plan (of possible things that can go wrong). You collaborate (as you and your mentee pick up brushes and paint different parts of the same painting).
Theories, books, and lectures are important as they equip you with the knowledge to handle situations better. But abhyudaya program enables you one to learn through experience. And as they say’ Experience is the best teacher’