Thursday, September 11, 2008

My first taste of an IIM education-even if for 3 hours!

It was sudden, and happened even before I realised it. It started off as a quick conversation between my boss and I, early in the morning. He briefly mentioned about a workshop on organization behaviour by an IIM - B professor, and whether I would be able to join in. It was the first time ever that somebody had offered me anything to do with the IIMs, in terms of the latest management thinking in the premier institute. I automatically said a yes - after all, how can I forget those endless nights when I struggled to bell the CAT, but never made it anywhere close to a tier I school (no regrets, though, but I know I tried way too hard!).

This session was by a leading authority (infact my boss's former prof - wow, howzzat for connections!) on organization behaviour. And this prof in particular had even more impressive credentials - IIT Madras and a Kellogg P.hd! Whoa!!

The audience for this session was the set of Managers & above, in my organization. I expected a good session, but never in my wildest imaginations did I expect an eye-opening session! Yes, it was academic, but it was also replete with practical examples and real-life scenarios. The prof was brilliant in his presentation, not to mention his terrific ability to keep the audience engaged at all times with his quick-wittedness. At times, I felt that the man was a lot younger than he looked - that's the kind of connect he had with all of us (young managers).

There were numerous angles to the session. While organization behaviour was the overall theme, the sense of direction and vision that the session threw up, just made me feel great. I saw, for the first time in my life, why an IIM professor is as good as he is claimed to be - he did not necessarily tell me things that I did not know. But the manner of his presentation, the way in which his slides were constructed, his diction and oratory style, the live examples that were embedded, and last but not the least, the ability to engage with the audience were some of the most appealing things that I saw from an IIM prof for the first time.

If the presentation was terrific, the content in the presentation was exemplary. It had a bit of theory - as is to be expected from folks in the academic world - and, it had some videos. The first video was for 30 minutes, and had a leading global authority on organization behaviour talk about positive frame of mind, vision and the need for it etc in an all-encompassing manner i.e. not restricted to the corporate world alone, but extending to all walks of life. It had shots of beaches, Athens, war fronts, studios, offices, academic layouts, corporate setting et al, to drive home the point of being positive in life. The second video was closer home, and talked about a man, who, after his retirement, pioneered a legendary hospital in the south of India, that was aimed to provide the solution to blindness in the world. This video gripped me and sent me into a tizzy of thoughts, leading me to believe (yet again), that man is limited by his thoughts and ability to visualise. Rest, is a question of fighting all odds. Terrific, terrific video! Made me feel proud as an Indian! Do check out the Aravind Eye Care Hospital in Madurai, when you get the chance - it is one of those places that has put India in the medical world map!

So, that was my first taste of an IIM education. And, I can only thank my boss for inviting me over to this session. I think I will remember those 3 hours of today afternoon for the rest of my life.


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