Category Archives: Student Series

Islas de la munecas

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Photos by Cindy Vasco

I thought it was just another boat party but I was not aware of the adventures that awaited me at the canals of Xochimilco, also known as the xochimilco trajineras because of the canoes that take people for a ride. The place is filled with tourists, mariachi bands, and lush floating gardens.

However, wait for sometime and you will see the adjacent island with severed limbs and cracked heads of severely weathered dolls.

Welcome to la Isla de la munecas, the island of the dolls.

The legend is about one man, a lost relationship, and a dead girl’s doll.

Hundreds of photographers and thrill seekers travel to this haunted island of dolls every year, but it was never meant to be a tourist attraction.

It all started with Julian Santana Barrera, a reclusive Mexican man who found a doll floating at the same area where he had found the dead body of a drowned girl some days ago. To honor the girls spirit and save himself from further tragedy, Julian started hanging more dolls.

Julian was apparently haunted by the spirit of the girl and started hanging more dolls in order to get rid of the spirit. He soon realized that the dolls themselves were possessed by spirits when they started blinking their eyes and moving their heads. He continued hanging dolls all over the place. Apparently, he was marked by the fact that he was not able to save the little girl’s life.

After 50 years of collecting and hanging dolls, Julian was found drowned at the same spot where the girl died.

Yet la Isla de las Muñecas lives on. Locals tend to the island, while travelers from around the world seek out the site. Some even arrive with new dolls to hang in the trees, continuing Don Julian’s eerie tradition.

Stories from Mexico, brought to you by Niloy Jain, IIM Indore IPM-5 participant on student exchange. Stay tuned for more adventure! 

THE DAY I WENT KAYAKING

There are some things we feel are far too big for us to care about. They seem irresolvable – distant – not our problem.

But they could very well be!

Today was a tiring day, we went snorkelling and kayaking (and the best part was the open bar on the boat!). We finally headed back to our hostel to relax for a while, perhaps just lounge in the balcony.

I think I dozed off for a while because I didn’t even realise when Roger came and sat down next to me. He smirked in my direction, I must have fallen asleep with my mouth hanging open again. He offered me a can of beer and a cigarette (which I obviously refused, lol).

Roger had served in the US Military for 30 years before he took voluntary retirement. He had no one. No mom, no dad, no cousins, no wife, no kids. No friends either.

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Roger is gay.

He had always lived a life of loneliness. He discovered his sexuality very late in life, at a time when people did not know that gay people existed. He was sent to a mental correction facility for treatment. He was never married. He never had the right to marry anyone (Thanks, Obama). Now at 61, he longs for company, a partner who he can talk to. Someone who can just sit with him and watch the sunset. He is lonely.

I beg you to look in his eyes. Does this look like a face of a lonely man? It looks to me like a face of a happy man, someone who has had many laughs, his face wrinkled with signs of happiness. He does not deserve to be alone. Any one would be lucky to have him as his partner. He looks like popoye goddammit! He is so young at heart, I sometimes don’t remember he is thrice as old as me. I want to be his friend.

Roger has been receiving his monthly pension and living in Mexico for the past month. He spends his days drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. Sometimes drugs come to the rescue.

He says, everyone in America hates every other person. There is so much hatred and sadness in the society, that an individualistic culture just burns a man up. There is no one to share an emotion with. People are too engrossed within themselves and everyone carries a fucking gun. Why do you need a gun?!

He  told me to be careful when in Mexico and just call him in case I need anything. He’s a good man.

What are the chances of running into a man like this, on your foreign exchange stint? The same as BEING that man.

Now that we all have met Roger, this problem is not so distant anymore.

 

 

Learn all about Mexico from the eyes of Niloy Jain, 5th year IPM Student currently on his student exchange program. He is enthusiastic about travelling and photography and he writes amazing diaries! Hiral Arora, reporting live from a facebook chatbox.

My Journey to IIM Indore

 

My journey to IIM Indore had started much before I had any expectation of being a part of any of the IIMs in 2016. It started with my preparation for CAT 2015 in my third year of B.Tech at NIT, Rourkela. Preparing for CAT along with managing the curriculum at NIT proved to be a challenge for me. Every weekend I attended coaching classes. I couldn’t practice much and it showed in my performance. But I never quit. So I kept going despite my embarrassing performance. After every class I went over the questions given that day and solved each one. The embarrassment motivated me. I didn’t want to miss even a single opportunity to study for CAT so I had even carried all my books to Bangalore where I did an internship. It was late July when I came back. The coaching classes had become very irregular and weren’t helping much so I left going there. Then came the results of National Creativity Aptitude Test (I had taken it some time ago) and I was ranked 31st. That was the moment when I realised that I could get what I wanted; it just needed a bit of extra work. I started preparing on my own. I practiced through online tests and TIME’s study material. I analysed my score after each test, marked the sections in which I scored well and those which needed improvement. I practiced accordingly and then went on to further tests. Giving so many tests got me well acquainted with the pattern of CAT. By November I had planned my approach towards each section of the test. I have never been as calm before any test as I was on the day of CAT 2015.

The results were early. I got a text on my cell with my percentile. I was heavily surprised and took it to be spam. But when I came to know that it was true, I was beside myself. Soon I started preparing for WAT and PI. This is where the coaching centre came to help. I participated enthusiastically in all the WAT-PI sessions. These helped a lot.  On the day of the interview even though I was freaked out I managed well.

When the results of IIM Indore came out, and I got selected, I was more content than happy because my hard work had paid off. When I had started preparation, I didn’t know how it was going to end. But at the end I realised that in the process, I hadn’t neglected my regular courses. I had got good jobs too which were backups in case CAT result hadn’t been good. And the best thing was I was going to be a student of IIM Indore! The entire process to get into a premier B-school in India requires strategic preparation and a lot of introspection. It’s an enriching experience of rediscovering yourself.

I expect IIM Indore to be a place where I would want to spend as much time as I can. I am looking forward to make a wide network of friends. I want to be a part of every activity that happens there. I want to enjoy its scenic and infrastructural beauty. I want to learn everything that’s possible to learn from the myriad experiences there. I want to be a better and more mature person who would be able to manage her life and profession equally well. I hope IIM Indore will turn out to be much more than I expect.

 

– Akankshya Sahu, PGP 1 Student

 

The bustling campus life of Planet-I

I was boarding a bus to Goa on the night of April 30th, when I received a seat confirmation for IIM Indore. The next three days were a roller coaster ride, and so was my first year as a PGP student.

My first term was about getting adjusted to the course structure, which I found to be hectic initially. The excitement of joining an IIM, and the enthusiasm to perform and make a mark, did wear me off. I had to read lengthy cases before attending 75 minute long lectures. Then there were the pre-processes (for clubs and committees), assignments, quizzes and exams. All of this changed my sleeping cycle, which was followed by frequent mid-lecture naps and swollen eyes. But, I eventually got used to the rigor. It made me come out of my comfort zone.

The bustling campus life of Planet-I, had a myriad of things to offer to pursue my interests. The activity clubs and committees played a major role with respect to this, by constantly tossing fun competitions and events. The college possesses well maintained hostel blocks, and other facilities like the sports complex (with an ‘Olympic size’ swimming pool), basketball court etc. Being a fitness enthusiast and a basketball player, I had the right opportunities to follow my hobbies, and socialize with students with similar interests.

I observed how the college functioned as a self sufficient society. Self sufficient because the graduates here always sought for chances to be occupied even after classes, which led to student run services and stores.  The college has its own laundry service, retail store, food stall etc. operated by students.

The campus lights up in the evening, teeming with people moving to the food stalls. The eateries will be crowded with friend circles chattering and munching on their favorite snacks. The college remains alive throughout the night. There is always someone awake.

My first year was a great time for me to interact with students coming from different parts of the country and make many friends.  All the major festivals are celebrated inside the campus and DJ nights are arranged for special occasions. This allows students to enjoy and indulge, and also meet new people. IRIS, IIM Indore’s annual festival, is also a wonderful time for students to take a break from their academics.

The campus, located on a hillock, surrounded by farmlands and pastures, is decorated with several pleasing view points.  The college is packed with greenery, which when soaked in rain during the rainy season, is a delight to experience. The winter, I found to be raw and bitter, breaking the campus from the monsoon reverie. With so much of life around, students are allured to get out of their rooms every now and then. I often enjoyed going on long walks through the campus.

Having never lived in a hostel before, I understood the importance of being independent. I learned from my mistakes and also the things that I did right. I made a close set of friends in my first year, who have been very supportive and inspiring. I am constantly learning from them as well.

My summer internship was in a travel start-up, and it was a rewarding experience. I was able to apply the concepts which I learned over a year to solve my firm’s issues. Working on practical situations was challenging and fulfilling. I also learned where my interests lie after my internship, and I now have a clear picture about what I aspire to work on in the near future. This course has taught me the significance of adapting to changes, and time management. It has helped me gain a new perspective towards business operations.

So, this is the snapshot of my first year at Planet-I, and it was worth every bit of it!

 

My First Year at Plan-it-I

 

1          The “Graha Pravesh”

So, you’ve finally made it to one of the most coveted management institutes of the country. Congrats. Big Deal. About 449 others also do so each year. And guess what, they are equally as genius as you consider yourself to be, if not more. Welcome to this world of uncertainties, where not only varied conundrums, but even the quizzes drop like presents out of Santa’s bag.

Along with a world of opportunities that this place provides to many who came thinking that this is a mecca for studies, this is also a mecca for birdwatching, with lots of birds to gaze especially to those dry eyes, who couldn’t see birds back at their hometowns due to pollution, if you know what I mean. You’ll constantly be on the vigil, not only for your dream placement, but also simultaneously trying to find out some random image, which you may later want to search on IITIIMShaadi.com. Having all these high hopes, thinking of entering a utopia, the first few days will be an eye-opener, I mean literally.

2        The multitude of learnings each term brings

They say “agar first year jhel liya to sab jhel liya”, they’re right in saying this. Each of the terms across the first year as PGP-I, if you want to have the real taste of life, get into as many activities as possible and then relax, just kidding, you won’t be having the time to do so. Term-I, is your litmus test, with the pressure of summer placements looming high up on your head, you’ll be introduced to the world of e-Mails, how they are convenient, convenient in making anybody’s life a misery. To top it all, the number of classes from 8:45 in the morning to well past 4 in the evening will be really fascinating. And for some lucky chaps, congrats for having an early one-year long HOP as you will daily trek to the Acad block from the distant suburbs we call Sri Lanka.

So first term is almost done, and it’s time for the early mornings at the Old Audi, 570 odd people, sitting like ducks, suited up with no close as to what do they aim for, but yet so confident and yet so smart. After all, they are students of an IIM.  This was a term which gave you almost no time to sleep, a lot to talk and a lot to make relationships, but for the latter, you need to gear up as people start headhunting from Day-1.

Contrast your life from Term-I here. You’ll suddenly be feeling like “have I reached the right college after my vacation?”. Ample time to sleep. Only one thing will be a hindrance. Say hi to the maximum credit term of your two-year stay at planet I. But it passes, brushes past you like a wind. By now, you’ll find yourself, addicted to the night mess, to JAM and to the Poha Point. Also, make most of the Saturday evening screenings in the campus, which you were devoid of in the last 2 months. It is a reward well-deserved for soaring past Term-I and summers.

For me Term III was kind of transitionary phase which apparently came after the transition. It is a mix of the best features of both Term-I and II. Sometimes you feel like the idlest person on the planet and at numerous other instances you are so overburdened that you don’t sleep for even 2 -3 days at one go.

3        Final Words…

All in all, that’s been my first year at IIM-Indore, which was followed by the Summer Internship. The first year and some of the friends you make in it, will change your life. Even if you said “Maine maa se waada kiya tha ki kabhi nahi badlunga”, she shall be proud to see how this places changes you and brings out the best in you. But to do the same you must plan-@-I. Earlier I said that you expect that this place teaches you subjects, let me clarify this myth, this place teaches how to make the most out of your time. After all, MBA is not just another course which gives you a degree, it gives you a way of life.

– Naman Jain (PGP2 Student of IIM Indore)

The internship was a steep learning curve

I did my internship at Edelweiss Financial Services in the Life Insurance Business (ETLI). The first two days had presentations by various business heads explaining their work after which we were allocated our projects. The culture at ETLI was like a startup and that encouraged dynamic and fast paced work .Ideas and criticisms were always encouraged in the team. The goals of the projects given to interns were defined but how to accomplish it was left to us. We were thrown in the deep end of the pool and we had to quickly learn how to swim. We could take the help of anyone in the office and initiative taking was highly encouraged.

Summer Internship is supposed to be a platform where we get to apply the skillset we learnt in our MBA first year and I was glad to find that it was true .My project in the Risk Management team involved using a lot of Finance and Quantitative concepts which we learnt in the first year at IIM Indore.

One of the most important things that we learnt in our first year is that we should always keep in mind how our work is aligned with the company’s objectives. Sometimes we become so engrossed in our projects and work that we tend to forget what the actual goal is. I made a conscious effort to understand how my work fit into the bigger scheme of things. I worked accordingly, always taking a step back to ensure that my work was in line with the end objective. Another extremely relevant skill that I applied was the Organizational Behaviour one which proved to extremely useful in understanding the team dynamics and facilitating team work. The internship was a steep learning curve and it was very useful in understanding the kind of work we are expected to do once we step out in the corporate world.

  • Jatin Gupta, PGP2 Student.

The closer he got to the horizon, the further it shrank from view

Franky, I had not heard name of Rohan Builders until I Summer Internships started. As a fresher straight out of my Engineering College with no work experience I plunged in as a marketing intern here. The most beneficial thing about the internship was that we were actually allowed to do everything that the permanant employees were doing in the company. We could create our own schedules and could choose what we wanted to do each day. Our mentors made sure we got the best of everything including the excel sessions, linkedIn workshop and the RERA session. I could sit in the meetings and feel like a boss.  Also, playing Table Tennis in the lunch break, celebrating a colleague’s birthday and talking to everyone to get a glimpse of their careers made us feel a part of the family that Rohan Builders is.  I worked on different projects and received a lot more than I could give.

 

My internship has helped me become confident in my abilities to work with members to achieve their goals. I have broadened my exercise library tremendously and articulate thoughts well. I understood what it is to work in an office. On a personal level, I have built meaningful relationships. It has showed me that you can have a career that doesn’t feel like work, you can make work fun

 

Real estate is an exciting field. As the tagline of  Rohan Builders rightly puts it – Great Living, engineered’. It feels great to be a part of something that makes saying goodbye so hard. Also Rohan Builders proved lucky to me. I had applied and have gotten selected for the BRICS 2016 Shanghai Summer School Program. The main two courses are : ‘Global Governance and Cooperation among BRICS’and ‘New Development of China’s Polity and Economy’. It is a month -long sponsored program at Shanghai, China. Also it feels lucky to be among just the 4 students selected pan India and about 30 students selected across BRICS countries. Whenever we talk about India, China becomes an inevitable subtext, so I am very excited to be a part of this prestigious program. And let me tell you, I started from scratch and Google was my sole guide. So never give upon your potential. Start small but start nevertheless. A little hardwork always pays.

The closer he got to the horizon

the further it shrank from view

as if desire was only an illusion

and truth lay somewhere beyond!

*Inspired by the rain after reading Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

By Ajinkya Mahajan, PGP 2 Student

 

Be active, be eager to learn and realize that your impact matters.

 

I joined IIM Indore after working for about 3 years as a software engineer at Symantec. My decision to pursue a course in management was not because I didn’t like coding nor because my passion for computers had died, but because I felt that over the years I developed not only a passion for writing software, but also for communication, planning and management. And when it came to selecting a profile for my summer internships, there is no role that fit this criteria better than a PM role. Hence, I was elated when Microsoft provided me with an opportunity to intern with them as a Program Manager at their Hyderabad campus.

I was a part of the Go-To-Market team for Mobile Only apps in the Office division. My project was to develop a Go-To-Market strategy for two Small and Medium Business mobile apps. The project looked a challenging one as my prior work experience was in Enterprise Software products and not in mobile apps. This is where my experience at IIM Indore contributed the most. The rigor of the courses taught during the first year instills in you the confidence for tackling any business problem with a structured thought process.

One of my key learnings from my internship is that effective communication matters a lot in a PM role. As a PM you constantly have to present your ideas to the rest of the team. I loved doing it, but that is not enough – you need to not only know what to present, but also how. My mentor’s advice was “Be clear, concise and to the point”.

Also, as a PM you cannot work in a silo. You take a lot of decisions that impact other teams as well. Getting a buy-in from various stakeholders before you go ahead with its implementation is extremely crucial for the success of your project.

At Microsoft a lot of emphasis is given on generating original ideas that can be put into practice. There are special forums where you can pitch your ideas to a wider audience and get feedback. I presented a marketing idea that I had for the apps in that forum. The work done by interns is taken very seriously at Microsoft and they do not differentiate between a full time employee and an intern.

I got to be a part of an amazing team that did remarkable work and celebrated it remarkably as well. The two months went by like a flash, and I was right in the epicenter of all the action.

At the end of the day, the internship is what you make of it. There is no guide book that will give you the recipe for success. Will you make mistakes? Definitely. But what you learn from those mistakes is what will make you a valuable employee at the end. Be active, be eager to learn and realize that your impact matters.

– Ajay Krishnan

About the author – Ajay is currently studying in the first year of his PGDM course at Indian Institute of Management Indore. Prior to joining IIM Indore he has worked as a software engineer for 3 years at Symantec and interned at Nvidia. He has completed his bachelor’s in engineering in Information Technology from Pune University.

Apart from being a die-hard Liverpool fan, his hobbies include reading about all things tech., and playing table tennis.
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My internship Experience at Kellogg’s

IMAG2600Summer placement is arguably the most important event in a first year MBA student’s life. It is the preceding period that makes most of the ‘busy MBA life’ stories. As if the regular lecture schedule wasn’t hectic enough, club/committee selections and other extra-curricular engagements suck a lot of time from the schedule. Amidst all the hustle, one rarely gets time to sit back and think. My case was no different. Fresher as I was, I had little idea about the kind of life that lay ahead. My inclination toward theatre and culture led me to become a part of the Cultural Committee. I finally got time to give my life a thought.

Upon introspection, I realized that doing everything was not possible for me. Drawing analogy from Strategy lessons, it was important for me to have a clear objective. I analysed my capabilities and came up with the three pillars of my life – creativity, spontaneity and interpersonal interaction. Now I was reasonably sure that Sales and Marketing was the field for me. My liking for marketing as a subject only cemented my realization.

As the placement week started, Industry Interaction Cell organized GD-PI and industry deep dive sessions to supplement the concept based preparation. In retrospect, these proved to be pivotal. It was time for pre placement talks now. Kellogg’s did not just give an amazing PPT, it hosted a breakfast in the college and brought along an air of ebullience. This catapult was sure to give a head start to anyone’s career. When I eventually got selected for Udaan, the 8-week internship program at Kellogg’s, I was on cloud 9!

The program began with a 2 day induction which exposed us to Kellogg’s brands and way of working. My project included the use of Social Listening and 5C’s framework for identifying new product opportunities and platforms for weight management. It was a great opportunity for me as I was working on a live, application oriented project. My mentors – Reena Singh and Sanjib Bose guided and encouraged me in the best way possible. I had complete freedom to do what I had to, yet my progress was monitored lest I’d go astray. I was given constructive feedback at every point. The going was in sync with a very important observation from the induction – “A little ambiguity in direction is good”. The idea was to be entrepreneurial at work.

Culture is, perhaps, the best part about Kellogg’s. Everyone who walks past passes a smile. The enthusiasm around the office radiates energy. There were instances when people went out of their way to help me! My fellow interns were my first resort to getting problems solved. Working together also meant a whole lot of fun. I would particularly like to mention the office birthday celebrations, Intern@K recipe contest, Kidzania visit and the all intern party. Learning didn’t end inside the walls of the office. People from partner agencies were equally enthusiastic about my project and always ready to help. Furthermore, I got access to softwares and webinars which helped me in my project.

Having had positive mid and final reviews, I must say that my learning here was not restricted to the tools that I used. Be it the induction sessions, the session with the MD, informal chats with directors, or discussions amongst the interns, every discussion was a learning. More than work, this internship exposed me to the right way of working. It is about taking ownership of work – ‘The only boundaries are the ones we create for ourselves’.

 

-Pragyae Maniktalia, IIM Indore

 

 

This internship made me realize that this is what I want

Summer Internship is one of the most important and crucial times for a MBA student both at career as well as a personal front. It is a stepping-stone into the corporate world, testing waters when it comes to deciding what you want to do in your career. This applied to me as well. Being an outspoken city girl from an engineering background, I always thought marketing was my future as opposed to a finance one due to my lack of prior knowledge or work experience in the field.

During the summer placement process, I landed an offer from the Investment Banking Division of a reputed bank, one of the most coveted financial roles on campus. My interview experience was one of the most memorable and interesting ones I have had till date, probably a story for another time!

Given my lack of expertise in the field, I was very skeptical before starting off my internship. However, this summer proved otherwise.

Packed with thorough and rigorous training sessions, assignments, deliverable, the internship proved to have a very steep learning curve. It helped me expand my technical knowledge. But my internship proved to be a lot more than that. It helped me develop my personality and hone my skills. The bank I worked in boasts a very strong culture within the organization. Being on the floor, I realized the magnitude of that. No one on the floor was ever too busy to help us interns. The commitment was so strong that some people ended up staying back for over 2 hours to help interns with their work, teaching and guiding them. No question was too dumb or stupid to ask. They had an open door policy where anyone could walk up to anyone, including the VP to discuss anything ranging from problems faced, suggestions, doubts or even cricket! They stressed on an eye for detail making me learn to be a perfectionist in everything I do, including something as insignificant as font size, color, or spacing.

Apart from having a hectic work schedule, the team made it a point to provide regular de-stressing opportunities. There were weekly cricket matches, regular parties and networking dinners to give the interns an opportunity to bond and connect with senior management from other divisions even, and broaden their horizons. These sessions helped us become more confident, improved our networking skills and enabled us to interact with highly successful and intelligent people apart from the distressing they were primarily aimed for.

There was a regular feedback mechanism in place which helped me improve and learn from my mistakes, and plan the next leg of the internship in a much more aware manner.

Personally, this period made me a more confident and a stronger individual. It helped me approach people without inhibitions, improved my communications skills along with my technical capabilities. There are many instances where we feel that a particular domain is our forte but soon on entering the corporate world realize that the reality is very different from what we had envisaged. Summer internships are a great way of aligning the reality to our dreams and expectations. Never having imagined a future in the banking sector, let alone be an investment banker, this internship made me realize that this is what I want to do in the future once I graduate from the institute.

– Paridhi Agrawal, PGP 2015- 2017, IIM Indore