C. K. Prahlad said in his path breaking management book, Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, that when the poor at the BOP are treated as consumers, they can reap the benefits of respect, choice and self-esteem and have an opportunity to climb out of the poverty trap. At SPJIMR, we have some different modus operandi for the same.
We call it Abhyudaya – Growing Together. And the best thing about this program is that, it is a symbiotic relationship. In Abhyudaya, every participant (SPJIMR calls their students as participants) is assigned a mentee, known as the Sitara. Every participant, i.e. the mentor will visit the Sitara at their residence to coach them not just on academics, but on building soft skills, confidence, setting life goals etc.
The year-long 1.5 credit course plays a crucial role in sensitizing the participants towards a world, that we as MBA executives often turn a blind eye and also to understand the business implications of such an environment. Moreover, the double edged sword would mean that the Sitara and their families are also benefited to a great extent by this particular program. All this is handled by a separately run Abhyudaya department staff of 10 people and supported by a committee of 12 members formed from the SPJIMR participants.
From the committee side, we focus on building long-term strategies for Abhyudaya and eventually the college. SPJIMR is now one of the 30 global Champions on the United Nations Principles of Responsible Management Education (UNPRME) list. It has also been a long standing member of the UNPRME signatories, because of its unique blend of courses like Abhyudaya and DOCC (Department of Corporate Citizenship). The committee is now focusing on building this further to drive responsible education and to introduce similar programs like Abhyudaya which are non-existent in other B-school campuses.
Industry integration and establishing a common platform for SPJIMR with major firms is also another key strategic goal from the Abhyudaya committee. Through this, we hope to achieve better learning from the industry point of view and also an exposure to endless opportunities from the campus. Industry experts and senior executives of various firms will form the panel for evaluating the ethnography project, which is done as part of the Abhyudaya program. This is significant in two ways:
The participants are prompted to think of managerial and business implications by understanding such a world by being in it, that is essentially doing an Ethnography research study through the Abhyudaya visit;
The ideas are evaluated by industry panelists which directly puts a dialogue between the two and helps in fostering future implementations for the participants.
Finally, establishing learning centers for Sitaras at campus for improving computer skills, cultural skills like music, drama etc. is another key strategic goal for the Abhyudaya committee. These will serve as essential resources for the underprivileged kids and help them in reaching far better career goals.
To sum up, the program and the work done by the Abhyudaya team are far reaching both in terms of impact on the society and the impact on the participants. It sensitizes us to the difficulties faced by a section of the society which more often goes completely unnoticed. In that way, while Abhyudaya is a very valuable program for the Sitaras and their families, it becomes an even more essential program for the future management executives. And therefore, Growing Together.