Saturday, November 22, 2008

Change for good ?

A few years back in search of an institution which can add some value to my CV, I ended up at the gates of IIFM. I was there for my GD/PI. I was about to leave the auto at the gate itself, but the auto-driver told me the institute is about one km up on the hilltop and he was right as I could not see anything from the gate apart from trees in different stage of their lifecycle and a big clump of bamboos (a few months later I realized that these bamboos have their own family 'poaceae' and subfamily 'Bambusoideae'.. etc..etc.. thanks to IIFM course-curriculum).
The auto-ride from IIFM gate to IIFM main-building confirmed one thing that this place is worth spending two years. I had already started thinking of my life at hilltop. A few hours later, post my GD/PI (which ensured that if the selection committee had nothing against my face and my 'bihari' accented English, I was almost in.) I saw some faces oozing familiarity to the surrounding and moving towards bushes adjacent to old hostel buildings. I followed them a bit hesitantly and reached a place which gave mesmerizing view to a water body, Bhopal city and the sun set. I was at 'Sunset Point'.  To hell with placement figures and apprehension of joining a sectoral b-school, this is the place to spend two years.
Seven-eight months later, sunset point was part of our life. The rocks there carry ancient paintings and have been part of memories of many lifelong partnerships. Not to mention, the area surrounding sunset point being a good habitat for peacocks and birds. 
Now, about a couple of weeks ago, a mail landed in my mail box conveying the sad news. The new expansion plan of IIFM is going to result in constructions around 'sunset point' . They are going to build faculty houses in that area; there is going to be sunset for sunset point. There is nothing much I can do here apart from making a sincere request to concerned decision-makers to think about the proposed construction plan. IIFM campus is big enough to accommodate houses for each and every member of IIFM family, the sun set point can be left alone.
But, I must confess I do not have the full picture. There are not many ways that we can get unless decision makers start using some of the tools IIFM advocates and champions. Stakeholder Analysis, Participatory Decision Making, EIA... these words are probably used most on this Bhopal hilltop than anywhere else.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reminiscence Ruminations

Another Alumni Meet has passed. This time, it was the M.P. Chapter. We had 22 confirmations. Twelve came.
Well, I am very happy with the Meet this time (of course, learnings are always there!).  For one, the event was refreshingly organized – and all efforts of the Alumni Committee, and of Dhaval, were there for everyone to see. Second, there was a much better co-ordination between the Clubs and their events. Third, volume-wise, many more turned up – both, from the alumni and the students’ side. Of course, volumes in these cases are always something to crib about, but I’m not going to do that – I’m just too happy. Fourth, and most important, I perceived the alumni to be happy. I really hope the word spreads and we have much better numbers next time.
You know, we at IIFM tend to take things for granted… either our future or our relationships. I did. IIFM has made me go through the most tumultuous relationships in my life. I have faltered time and again. But hope lingers. Rather, it keeps popping up every now and then and makes me cry. Like the time last week when my dearest friends put up a surprise birthday party for me by the bridge on the moat. It gives me hope – that I’m loved, and will be loved, wherever I go after IIFM. It gives me strength I’ll draw on all my life. And I’m sure every alumnus feels this way. But something still stops us from coming back.
Is it because the people made the place worth living and not the Institute? Maybe. But hey! People are still there… Give us a chance to know you… Give us a chance to come out of our shells… 
Siddharth Iyer PFM 09

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Alumni Meet in Bhopal, 9th November

Sunday, the 9th saw few IIFM Alumni back to their Campus. Current batches planned events etc and executed them well. I was not the one going back to campus after years, it is just months for me but thanks to the name of event there were more people around. So we introduced ourselves, shared a moment from our time in the campus, played ad-mad, heard songs, did some clay artwork, ate lunch, talked to director and students, drank tea, some of us saw movie while we spirited.
Alumni Committee - I loved the momento!
Please share the photographs asap.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Your Network,Your net worth.

Sometime back I was discussing recruitment processes  with my friends/colleagues and some professors;  the discussion started getting focused on the key skill sets/attributes/features playing critical role in selection. Though we are quite aware of  most  of the skill sets and attributes affecting selection decision, an interesting attribute was the network a candidate has access to. Yes, your network constitutes a significant part of your net worth.
A recruiters (especially those recruiting for managerial posts and  not for skill specific jobs like programmers or firefighters) primarily assess the total value a candidate brings to the table and unlike one's individual skill sets, knowledge and training, whose effectiveness is tested only after certain amount of time, network's effectiveness is pre-established and known. It brings immediate value in term of providing an indirect connection for the recruiting organization to a network, which can be exploited in many ways. I know many people who rely hugely on their professional network / college network for effective execution of their professional assignments. Ask anyone working in development sector, they will vouch for it. And here by network I am not referring to only college/ alumni network, it can be your family network (being relative of a minister/cabinet secretary!!) or social network or professional network in terms of contacts and references you carry with yourself from your past organizations/assignments.
The other significant advantage of assessing this attribute is that one can predict future performance to some extent based upon the performance of network members.  It gives a sense of your potential. It builds one's credibility.The differential pay packages offered to candidate with same qualification from different institutes is reflection of this value and risk assessment only.
And sometime the network becomes more important than the candidate. After all, the potential of a  wire depends on the  power source it is connected to. :)
( There are some  'head fakes' here.. You can surely gain some extra points if you know how to use your networks.. .. oh .. there are more than a couple of  'head fakes' here..  Sorry I just finished The Last Lecture by Randy Paush .. and I liked the use of 'head fakes' ...)

Monday, September 22, 2008

itinerant weekend... itinerant thoughts...

I’m just back from Indore, where I went without a tangible purpose, over the weekend. I’d had enough of student life. I wanted the life of a wanderer. I wanted time to introspect... and emerge anew. Of course, I was only partly a wanderer – I had money, you see! Still, I did spend a lot of time with myself.
So when I was finally free from Rohit (O yeah, coincidentally, he too visited Indore these days – and I strictly asked him to leave me alone!) and the yummy poha-jalebi he dished out on Saturday morning, I found myself in a decent hotel room, all to myself. And for the first time in a long time, I felt good about this. An afternoon outing saw me roaming around in search of a stock of juices on which I intended to sustain the two days. Was a time well spent – observing people and their small talk, walking along slowly. Be it this time of lazy sunshine, or the evening maze of tangled weekend urgency, I noticed one similarity – people in general tend to do their own thing oblivious of what circumstances around. What with the school-boy flirting with his classmate on the streets, suit-clad honchos stopping their sedans in Lalbag for a pee, locals haggling with handicrafts-people from all over India for 5 rupees, hoteliers suspicious of a boy renting a room all alone... India is still the same in spirit. In many ways, it bodes well for a community searching for life amidst all the temptations of the world. In other ways, could it bode ill for the future generations? Do we have the capacity of assimilating the West and the East in a natural confluence of benefits, leaving behind the limitations?
Reading The Siege of Mecca by Yaroslav Trofimov in this period has opened up a world in front of me which I knew existed. We have to stop blaming Islam for each and every damnation on earth. What’s wrong with Islam? Absolutely nothing. With some of its followers – maybe yes. Some have the wrong notion that ‘everyone needs to follow my religion, in my way’. But then, that’s the virus festering in all major religions all over the world. Hinduism suffers from it, Christianity does too. Other religions, I don’t know – I haven’t been exposed to them enough. It’s only when the sense of individuality gets superseded by group behaviour norms that you see radical fundamentalism of the nature largely attributed to Islam. I’m sure the way things are going – Christianity oppositions in Orissa, misguided Hindu stronghold in Gujarat, to cite a few – these two religious behemoths are soon going to join the ‘radicalism’ bandwagon. And we have no one else to blame but ourselves. Though we live superfluously together, our mental disconnect with each other widens by the day. We are unwilling to change.
These are random thoughts completely incomplete with respect to my entire sojourn in Indore, but they form some bases of my life now. Yesterday, incidentally, was International Peace Day. And it was a watershed day for me. I made peace with myself, drew a roadmap for my future pace in life, and also reinstated my conviction: I will change. If the world thinks it worthwhile, I will be an example.
Development, Environment and Forestry? – they will automatically fall in place.
--- Siddharth Iyer, PFM 09

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Journey

Ujjawal has realized now that he is in love. I have always been in love – but the euphoria is over. I had come to IIFM with a completely different mindset – one teetering more on dreams than what it actually offers. Not that the dreams have shattered – they still form a core of my everyday life, but are dormant. I now know where exactly IIFM can take me… if I only want it… if I only work for it – the destination is ahead, but what about the journey?

This one year has taught me a hell lot of things (keeping awake till late, for instance – I used to call it a day by 10 p.m.!). But the best part of this has been that I have not been taught – I have learnt. And to me, it is a very significant difference. Always the one to question things not understood by me, I have worn my audacity on my sleeves – to not-so-rosy effects. Like the day I was chosen Principal of my school for Teachers' Day, and I went to school wearing a trendy sleeveless t-shirt just because I was tired of all the 'official' stuff (already!), and the teachers were so appalled, they turned dumb with shock – they just stared at me, and didn't say a word.

IIFM has always been close to my heart – and I wish to experience each and every part of it personally. I make night visits to places I find interesting. Every night, I want to sleep in a different place, just to make it a part of me. But again, 'society' stops me – literally. And I am dragged back to the mundane. Why do I allow this? Where are the dreams which drove me? Am I digressing, or am I mainstreaming?

Moot questions all… and for now, I am just content – content doing my own thing, my own way, remaining inconspicuous to the world at large. Not for me the attention… what draws me near is the strange…

--Siddharth Iyer (PFM '09)

Friday, July 04, 2008

I am in love..

I am in love.....
I am in love.....
I am in love.....
Yes this is true and now I will have to live the rest of my life with the fact that I am in love and I could not do anything about it, because I know that however hard I might try, I can’t have it forever.
But just one year... too bad!
Also, late realization is another sin that I have committed. Had I realized it earlier, I would have made the best use of the time, since we have been together for past one year. How true it is that you come to know something’s importance when you don’t have it. Only I can understand how desperate I was, to be united with my love when I was away on my internship. Now no prizes for guessing who I am in love with... so public, junta, friends and admirers, and those of you who are waiting with bated breath (probability of which is .00001), it is my own heaven IIFM!
Back from the summer internship, after two long months, I am loving it even more. What is more fascinating is the opportunity to “baaton gyan” to the new batch of PFM 2010 – the new batch is great and seems to have immense potential, the sooner they realize, the better it would be for them (look who is saying this!).
The best part of the orientation sessions (or the honeymoon as we call it here) this year was the guest lectures. Many eminent personalities were called to deliver different perspectives and the sector specific opportunities and the challenges that we will face once in the field. It was great to interact with Prabhat Upadhyaya, Sachin Badkas and Shreyamsa Bairiganjan – our own IIFMights who took pains and came down to the campus to share their experiences and discussed various job opportunities in different sectors, with us and the new batch.
Now coming back to my love, it was all glittering and shimmering, with new additions like a sports complex, lawn tennis court and a much needed canteen. Library became air conditioned, so now I don’t have any excuse not to spare time for some books and journals.
Life is business as usual for me but full of CERs and VERs for our Envi’s (batch mates who eat carbon, drink carbon and sleep carbon); but I am not bothered – at least for the time being – I am with my love, and obviously I am loving it!

-- Ujjawal (PFM 07-09)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Adieu IIFM…

This is the Last post from IIFM. So much I have said about my Life at IIFM that I do not have any words to say anything new. That’s why this post is dedicated my Batch...The Great PFM 2008...
Abhishek: "One Man Show"
Email Id:
Abhinav: "Deep and Dependent"
Amit: He stresses too much on "M"
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Anurag: "Matrix Trilogy"
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Arjun: " between Optimism n Pessimism "
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Atul : "Life is Beautiful"
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Gitesh: "Feel Good"
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Garima: "Searching Books in which She will be able to find something about Her"
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Jitendra: "Right Hand of God"
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Kallol: "All-rounder"
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Kalpana: A Tigress in a bowl
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Kanika: Here's my question...
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Kshitiz: "To Be Or Not To Be"
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Vaibhav : "On the Rocks"
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Lalit: "To love at all is to be a vulnerable Lover"
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Manish: The Devil God
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Neha: "Illusion of Life"
Parul: "Chocolaty Life "
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Pranita: "Emotional Recycle Bin"
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Prashant: "if u cant convince people...confuse them"
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Priyanshika: "I am what I am"
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Rahul B. : "My History Can Beat Up Your Politics "
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Rahul K.: "Living My Dream"
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Ranesh: How's That....?
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Ravi: "Honest Reflection "
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Sameer: "Success lies in go and sleep"
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Shakshi : An Individualist trying hard to change life
Shail: He says "I can kill anyone for the Nobel Peace Prize"
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Shweta : Its not about "Age", its about "Mileage" :D
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Shreshtha: "I think I am the Best....and...... I believe that I will be "The Best" One Day"
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Siddharth: "Marketing with Style n Brands"
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Sonal: "A Protected Candle Light and A Beautiful Mind "
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Me : :)
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Srey: The Lost Soul ; Am I what I am ?
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Sunil: "Cool Tunes of Life and Nature"
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Sudeep: "Our first and last love is....Self-Love"
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Varun: Life is short, Make the most of it!!
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Director's Prize fo The Best OT

Every Year, during Kalpataru (IIFM's Annual Fest), IIFM awards Director's Prize for the Best Organizational Training work . Students are judged on the basis of Host Organization’s recommendation, IIFM faculty's evaulation and vote of batch mates.
This year, I along with Ravi got the award for the training we did in Development Credit Bank Ltd, Mumbai. The project was on Urban Microfinance.
We got the award for Second Organizational Training where as Dr. Varun Bangia got the award for First Organization Training work which he did at Dabur Pharma Ltd. (up to PFM 06-08 IIFM had 2 Organizational Trainings, PFM 2009 onward IIFM is having One Organizational Training i.e. Summer Internship).
Life at IIFM once again proved to be full of surprises and once again echoed the expression “These are the Best Days of My Life“.
I thank everybody specially my batch mates who voted for me (and also to those who did not), dearest alumni, faculty and most importantly Kartik Sir, Deepika Mam, Vidya Sir and Sandeep Sir of DCB.

[Post Contributed by Soumik Ghanta, PFM 08 batch]

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What makes an entrepreneur?

What are the traits and factors which decide whether somebody is going to be an entrepreneur or not? Are there some factors/traits which are more important than other for being a successful entrepreneur?

A research paper by a team of researchers from The World Bank, CEPR and CEFIR, provides good insight on above question on the basis of data collected on 400 random Brazilian Entrepreneurs.  

Some interesting findings from the paper:

  • Brazilian entrepreneurs are coming more from rural areas than urban areas and they are more likely to be married and less likely to be overweight. They are taller by one cm (approx) than non entrepreneurs.
  • Entrepreneurs were more patient than non-entrepreneurs and they expect lower returns on their investment than non-entrepreneurs (18% against 24% expected by non entrepreneurs).
  • Entrepreneurs put more value on children's education than non-entrepreneurs.
  • Entrepreneurs show more trust than failed entrepreneurs do.
  • Exploring the sociological characteristics of entrepreneurs, the paper shows that entrepreneurs are more likely to come from a family of senior managers, officials than workers. They also have more relatives and friends running their own business compared to non-entrepreneurs have. Though the social network has some role in deciding whether one is going to be an entrepreneur, but does not affect whether one is going to be successful entrepreneur.
  • Entrepreneurs are also more likely to come from a large family.
  • Mother's education seems to have some impact on entrepreneur's success. The mothers of failed entrepreneurs were less highly educated than the mother of entrepreneurs.

I do not know to what extent we can generalize the findings of this report, but surely it makes an interesting read. :)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

GD/PI Shortlist for PFM 08-10 batch is out

The list of candidates shortlisted for Group Discussion and Personal Interview for PFM 08-10 batch is available on IIFM website.

Click here to see the list.

You can also get some insight about the admission process and the program from the discussion on Pagalguy Forum. Click here to visit the forum.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The 'Imapatient Optimist' calls for'Creative Capitalism'

Mr. Bill Gates has already divulged his plans to move from 'active role at' Microsoft to 'full time role at' Bill Gates and Millinda Gates

Foundation, the world's biggest philanthropic foundation. The man who changed the way people work and think, is now gearing up for some 'noble' cause. The self declared 'impatient optimist' commented ""In the coming decades we will have astonishing new abilities to diagnose illness, heal disease, educate the world's children, create opportunities for the poor and harness the world's brightest minds to solve our most difficult problems.".

Read more in this article here

Sunday, January 13, 2008

IIFM Placement 2008

I cannot believe myself that I am writing this post. I am going to write about our Placements (PGDFM 2008). Last time when I wrote about our seniors’ placements, it was more of Information Sharing. Now I have realized the process and the ecstasy, smile, pain, desperation, tears attached with the process. Yes, Placement Process itself is great learning experience. Though I was out of the process (because of PPO from OT-II organization) still I felt the heat and now most happy like all other batch mates.
Placement 2008 is over and like the previous years, we achieved 100% placement in no time. PGDFM 2008 rocks!! We started where our seniors had left and with great satisfaction. Our batch’s placement is more precedent in a sense that almost everybody got the job in the sector they wanted. Be it Microfinance, be it Corporate or Environment, every one has gone to his or her desired field. IIFM is best in this aspect that it offers equal space to everybody and our batch has been able to fit itself in the desired space.
The placement process was over in two days as almost the whole batch was placed in those two days. Though one org. delayed the declaration of result but surely when it confirmed the celebration got intensified and more “spirited”.
Microfinance is most buzzing word and being a specialized institution, IIFM has been able to maintain this niche area that has been built up over the years. This year almost 16 people are directly dealing with Microfinance. Fourteen students in SKS Microfinance and two students in Development Credit Bank Ltd. Package for SKS is Seven Lac while it is Six Lac for DCBL. On corporate arena, one is joining ICICI Bank while five are joining HDFC Bank. FINO, the technology provider for financial institutions, selected one.
Thanks to our seniors, Marketing Research Organization like International Market Research Bureau (IMRB) came down to campus and recruited four students with package of 5.6 Lac. Apart from DCBL, the organizations who made inroad this time to offer diversification in placements are Indian Oil Corporation, IMS Learning Resource, Emergent Venture India (EVI) and Cantor C02e India. IOCL took two for its Biofuel operations. IMS and EVI each selected two. Consultancy firm Cantor C02e India has recruited one for Carbon Trading related operation. Another research institute, IFMR (Centre for Development Finance) selected one. The only oversea placement was offered by Global Timber Trading Org. Olam International with package of about 25 lakh and in the forestry sector the only Job was offered by Harihar Polyfibre (Part of Aditya Birla Group).
Prof. Biswas as Placement Chairperson has done amazing work for our placement and a large part of placement success can be attributed to his efforts. Kudos to the Placement Committee, especially Abhinav (placement Cordi) and Prashant (OT Cordi) for their hard work. Guys, we are thankful to you and you both deserve treat from each of us. Now its party time, so getting ready for the blast!!!!!
[The figures are approximate and exact figure will come on Official site of IIFM-]