Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Leadership Series, September 17, 2011

Leadership Series, September 17, 2011

The flagship event of Symbiosis Institute of International Business (SIIB), Leadership Series, was held on the 17th of September 2011 with the theme ‘Social Entrepreneurship – A Fulfilling Mission’.

Guest speakers included:

Ms. Rashmi Bansal

The chief guest and key note speaker for the event. She is a writer; all three of her best sellers are based on entrepreneurship - 'Stay Hungry Stay Foolish', 'I Have a Dream' & 'Connect the Dots'. She is also the co-founder and editor of JAM (Just Another Magazine), India's leading youth magazine and writes on one of India's popular blogs – Youthcurry

Dr. P. Namperumalsamy

He is an Indian ophthalmologist and Chairman of Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai. He is known for bringing assembly-line efficiency to eye surgery. In 2010, TIME magazine named him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He is also a recipient of the Padma Shri award from the Government of India, and under his chairmanship, Aravind Eye Hospital received the 2010 Conrad N Hilton Humanitarian Prize.

There couldn’t have been better choice of speakers for the event than the above two. While Dr. Namperumalsamy leads by example by being one of India’s leading social entrepreneurs, Ms. Bansal, through her latest book, ‘I Have a Dream’, has brought to light twenty of the leading social entrepreneurs in India. The students were greatly inspired to get cognizant of the selfless deeds Aravind Eye Care Center has been doing for the country. This reaffirmed the belief that a successful business organization ‘can’ and ‘has’ to be socially conscious and socially relevant – which underlines ‘SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP’.

The pre-events day, 16-09-2011, kicked off in the afternoon with the B-plan competition. There had been an overwhelming response with as many as 48 teams participating, sending their business plans. The top 5 made it to the finals. Teams shortlisted were from IIM-A, IIT-Kgp, TAPMI and SIIB. The event presented an opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to add a social angle to their business plans, which thereby contributes to what the country is striving to achieve, inclusive growth. The panel of judges found themselves in a tight spot when it came to selecting two winners. The teams from IIM-A emerged the best among the finalists. Although winning and losing are two sides of the same coin, what really bridges them is the desire to improvise. Yes, it was a pleasing sight to notice participants, in an attempt to improvise, further discussing their business plans with the judges and the faculty members of SIIB. The latter was more than happy to offer valuable suggestions. Visiting students were appreciative of the hospitality provided. One such participant went beyond word-of-mouth appreciation and expressed her delight publicly on Facebook.

“Thanks a lot for the wonderful experience I had in SIIB during the Leadership Series 2011. It was truly a pleasure and honour being there!!! :)” - Shubhra Singh (MHRM, IIT KGP)

The B-plan event was followed by other pre-events like Survival, Tambola, Koffee Relay and Leadership Series Quiz. It was absolute fun and the campus reverberated with joy, joy and only joy. Even the so-called losers felt that the joy of participating completely overshadowed the fleeting disappointment loss evoked. Cash prizes worth Rs. 25000 were distributed. Things wrapped up with the screening of the Hindi movie, ‘Ye Saali Zindagi’.

The D-day arrived. The main event commenced at 1100 hrs on 17th September. Dr. Namperumalsamy, Chairman, Aravind Eye Hospitals, along with Dr. Rajani Gupte, Director, SIIB, lit the traditional lamp. The latter presented the welcome address, elaborating on the relevance of the theme of the event in Indian context. This, she said, shall pave way for budding entrepreneurs in the audience to add a social angle in analysing and solving business situations and complexities. Dr. Namperumalsamy delivered an inspiring speech igniting the social spark in one and all. He shared the journey of his organization’s growth path, from a humble beginning in 1976 to the position it holds in Indian ophthalmology today. He stressed that Aravind always cares for its patients and that profits were a by-product of the services rendered to the society. It’s worthy to mention that case studies on Aravind have been analysed in the Harvard, IIMA, IIMB and other leading Business schools in the world. He mentioned that as part of its outreach programme, in the year ending March 2010, 2148 camps had been conducted through which 455378 patients were screened and 76081 patients underwent surgery.

Much to the delight of the audience, Ms. Rashmi Bansal took the stage following Mr. Namperumalsamy’s talk. She appreciated the idea to have a theme as thought-provoking as social entrepreneurship. She provided an insight into her latest book, ‘I Have a Dream’, which narrates the story of 20 social entrepreneurs in India. To the students, it was an opportunity to identify 20 businessmen/businesswomen they could look up to. The stories of Mirakle Couriers and Akshaypatra Foundation were moving. While the former provides employment to the visually and the aurally challenged, the latter provides nutritious and delicious mid-day meals to school going children. Akshaypatra foundation is an excellent collaboration of the corporate and ISKCON Bangalore. The latter adds a unique spiritual dimension to the social initiative by providing nutritious prasadam to children studying in Government schools in Bangalore. This, she said, ensured fall in drop-out rates in schools and improved participation of students in academic activities. The Q&A session followed with students posing Ms. Bansal with questions on MBA, IIM-A, writing, social consciousness and entrepreneurship. Students were appreciative of the frankness associated with her answers. She made her fans’ day by signing on their copies of her latest book.

Following a brief lunch break was a panel discussion, members being an eclectic mix of corporate and social activists. The discussion emphasized that one could work for a corporate and still make a difference to the society. This, students realized, was corroborated by the work done by one of the panellists, Ms. Majula, Associate Vice president, Infosys. She also manages an NGO – ‘Sparsh- A Healing Touch’ – formed by the employees of Infosys Pune Development Centre. Sparsh has 300+ volunteers working with more than 15 NGOs in and around Pune. The relevance of CSR was discussed at length and there was great emphasis on the need to create a separate department for it at the organizational level. This, panellists believed, would do justice to what really is intended. Valuable inputs were added by Mr. Umesh Malhotra, Founder, Hippocampus. Mr. Umesh, an IIT Madras alumnus, along with his wife, Ms. Vimala, set up Hippocampus in 2003 to promote reading amongst children. Hippocampus runs ‘for profit’ children's libraries in Bangalore and Chennai and has inspired many others to start such similar ventures. Their program, ‘Grow By Reading’, he said, has been implemented in more than 250 libraries reaching out to more than 100000 children annually. Candidness personified, he stressed on the need for one to follow his/her heart and do what one strongly believes in. This, he said, was the driving force behind his setting up of Hippocampus. Mr. Pradeep Bhargava, MD, Cummins Generator Tech India Ltd, played an able moderator and kept the discussion lively with his good sense of humour. Other panellists included Mr. Arbind Singh, leading social activist and Managing Director of Nidan Swachdhara Private Limited (NSPL), Mr. Yogendra Saxena, the Chief of Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) and Sustainability at Jubiliant Life Sciences Ltd., and Kishori Gadre, Director of Janwani, an initiative of Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture.

The distribution of the SIIB Excellence award followed. The award is part of SIIB’s efforts to recognize the outstanding contributions its alumni offer to the society. From a list of more than 25 nominations, Mr. Mukesh Kumar, batch of 1997, was chosen for the award. He reminisced his association with SIIB and took Dr. Rajani Gupte down memory lane on a nostalgic trip. They shared the humble beginning SIIB has had and were in awe of the progress it has made over the years in terms of international presence, academic excellence and contribution to society at large. Mr. Mukesh shared a few of the many interesting incidents during his times. He offered valuable tips to students and emphasized on the need and suggested ways to leverage the stay at SIIB. This was followed by distribution of prizes to the rank holders across the three courses – MBA (IB), MBA (AB) and MBA (E&E).

All good things have to come to an end. Likewise, Leadership Series 2011 drew curtains after screening of the ‘Making of the Leadership Series’ video. The video reflected the assiduous efforts put in by students that were well guided by the faculty members. The many funny moments and crazy ideas that had been part of the execution process in the lead up to the event formed the vivid moments. What really was evident in every moment of the video was the intensity with which the team had worked – being as creative as they could and making no compromise on the efforts put in, by putting the heart and soul into it. Undoubtedly, a standing ovation was a befitting mode of appreciation and the same followed as everyone in the audience was floored by the commitment of the students and faculty members in making Leadership Series 2011 a grand success.

SIIB Leadership Series team expresses its sincere thanks to the sponsors and media partners – Business Standard, Pagalguy, Radio Mirchi, Planet M,, CafĂ© Chokolode - the participants from other B-schools, Dr. Rajani Gupte, Director, Ms. Asmita Chitnis & Ms. Soumi Rai, Faculty Co-ordinators, and the students for the inspiration, the sweet memoirs and for scripting the scale of success achieved.

Rajesh Sridhar

Public Relations

Batch 2011-2013