Starting Out Right At IIM Trichy
Your first day of class at a new place is something you don’t easily forget. I walked into the assigned room alone that morning for the first time and looked around. There were many faces- blank faces, cautiously optimistic faces and excited faces. We were starting out on a new journey together at IIM Trichy.
We didn’t know what we were doing there. We had been asked to go for ‘Outbound activities’. When we asked the office what that entails, they told us it as a surprise. Once we got settled, a smartly dressed lady walked in. She was to be our instructor for the next few hours. Her name was Babita – Bold Babita. She made every one of us choose an adjective to describe ourselves and we were to learn everyone’s names in a short time. Among us was a ‘Rogue Raju’ and ‘Rowdy Rajan’ and an ‘Invincible Ipshita’.
We were made to do a task together. Two from among us were chosen to be leaders and they were taken aside and given a set of instructions. They came back and told us our objective: We will be given a rope of unknown length and we had to form a perfect square out of it. Every single member had to be involved in the task. But here’s the catch: we would be blind-folded and we had ten minutes.
We were all a little apprehensive but excited to tackle the problem. We formulated a strategy: we would divide ourselves into 4 groups and number each person. Four corners were selected and people on either side of the corner numbers would form straight-lines perpendicular to each other. We set off with the task, we started doing as we planned but then all of a sudden many of us felt sharp jerks and were pulled from our chains. The links were broken and with blindfolds on we groped and bumped our way back to each other. Once we were all back in a square, we were handed the rope from one end. We had anticipated it would be long, but this went on and on and seemingly endless. We needed a new strategy and people started calling out suggestions: calmly at first and uncontrollably afterwards. Raju went rogue and Rajan became rowdy. Each one had an idea and they all wanted to be heard. Utter chaos ensued, people talking over each-other, having arguments while blindfolded. Finally, when the time ran out and we lowered our blinds, we saw that we had made a square, but it was nowhere near a perfect square. Babita quietly walked back into our midst and she asked us, “Are you happy with the results?” There was silence.
We realized that the task we’d been given was exactly like a situation we could face outside. As managers, we won’t always know what is in store for us. The variables may change. Unforeseen obstacles may be placed in front of us and we will have to work through that with the presence of mind and a cool head.
And above all the hallmark of a good leader, is not that he/she makes everyone else listen to him/her but that he/she listens to what others have to say and takes it in with an open mind. If we had just listened to each other without trying to out-shine each other, we just might have made a perfect square.
Which ABG company would you want to work for and why?
If I had to choose one company, I would choose Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. I am extremely interested in understanding how a successful retail chain works and Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd is certainly one of the best with some of the leading brands like Simon Carter, Skult and Forever 21. I would like to have an exposure to the Sales and Operations as well as IT and HR domains. I am also interested in experiencing the work culture there. I have heard that the employees are all very helpful and approachable and open to new ideas.
This article is written by Neeta Miriam Cherian – Class of 2020