Swami Dayananda Saraswati addressing students at IIM Kozhikode
If there is one place psychometrics is not a dirty word, it is at The Indian Institute of Management Raipur, (IIM Raipur) where the new batch of students underwent psychometric testing to know themselves better. More curious than that was 'aura scanning' carried out on the freshers at a management institute near Mumbai. The Mudra Institute of Communication Ahmedabad, (MICA) tested the photonovel idea to introduce its new batch while The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay stuck to its time-honoured treasure hunt as a means to get the juniors to feel at home on the campus.
And while IIM Kozhikode had a heady mix of lecture sessions by the Reserve Bank of India governor on one hand and Swami Dayanand Saraswati on the other, IIM Bangalore remained true to its annual game-plan of making the juniors sing and dance for the seniors during orientation week.
Top b-schools having done with their induction programmes have started their academic year while the two and three tier ones are just about going about their programmes. PaGaLGuY picked up a few of the most interesting ones this year.
Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA) : Here the orientation lasted an entire week with a unique experiential learning course titled The Photonovel Company . According to Prof Kallol Das, who is working with Harvard Business School on the same idea, the photonovel exercise helped bring to the fore hidden talents of the freshers.
Photonovel is nothing but a unique form of communication, literature or story telling which is similar to a graphic novel but instead of graphics, photos are made use of. It is an exotic medium in India but in Europe, Latin America and the US, it is quite trendy. MICA's orientation programme required students to prepare a story line on a relevant social subject. This meant that they had to shoot photos, write a script, edit, use theatrical skills or whatever lse they wanted to communicate their idea. Over that, they had to market their efforts via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and also to MICA professors.
There was a prize for the best photo novel which went to one titled Heroisme - based on Nari Man -the savior of girl child, the issue being female feticide.
Take away from a first year student: " We learnt a number of communication skills at one go and were thrown in a competitive atmosphere from the start which helped our confidence."
Indian institute of Management Raipur : Here the orientation lasted for four days. While there were different activities on all the days, the ones that stood out were psychometric testing, yoga and spirituality sessions. According to Prof Shubhra Hajela, first year students underwent psychometric tests to assess their personality and later complemented this learning with spirituality sessions to know how to deal with their capabilities.
Explains Prof Hajela: The psychometric tests introduced the students to their basic personality traits. They learnt what they were really capable of and how this realisation could help them take better decisions in life and subsequently in their careers too. This exercise was followed up a lecture by Swami Satyarupanandji from Ramakrishna Mission. Here freshers were asked to further explore themselves and tune their thinking with proper ethical and management values.
There were yoga sessions, which according to Prof Hajela, helped students with their spiritual development. Students were taught basic yoga asanas and breathing techniques.
Student's take-away: "Never expected this kind of a start. The yoga and spiritual sessions helped calm the nerves and also known more about who we are."
IIM Bangalore: Besides the formal orientation which lasted a few days, IIMB has an annual ritual wherein the incoming PGP batch puts up a cultural event (called Aarambh ) for the seniors. The new batch was divided into different verticals as per their liking and expertise (dramatics, cultural fashion show, dance, music-vocal and instrumental, emcee, infrastructure and logistics, fine arts,) and asked to put up a show for the older batch.
According to seniors at IIMB, if an event like this was not to be held, it would take a long time for juniors to know each other and also for the seniors to know them. "It also tells students that there is much to life besides academics in IIMB and how everything can be done and enjoyed at the same time," said a second year student. Professors also help the students with the performances at Aarambh.
Student's take-away : "Usually in b-schools, the seniors put out a show but here the freshers do it which helps freshers to know each other in the first week itself and also to know the seniors. This made the start to our academic year much smoother."
IIT Bombay (Shailesh J Mehta School of Managment): The tradition which has been followed for generations is the legendary treasure hunt. The main reason for this kind of an introductory gesture has been to help students to adapt to the new campus as soon as possible. The IIT Bombay campus is huge and there are students of other disciplines as well on it. "This treasure hunt gives instant familiarity to both, the campus as well as the senior management and other engineering students," said one of the organisers.
This year, women from the freshers' lot were asked to lead the treasure hunters. First year student Sneha Iyer described: "It looked like Rakhi Sawant's swayamvar, whenthe women were asked to choose their teams from the guys. The hunt was deliberately designed to acquaint the fucchas with the humungous 550 acre campus, which is not a small area to live in."
The rules were simple and straight: crack the clue, find the location and get to the next one. The team to return first, after visiting all the 8 locations and bringing 5 specific objects, won.
Take-away by student Bhuvan Gupta: "The fun really started when few of us hired auto rickshaws to save time and get the work done more efficiently. We all ended up thoroughly entertained, disheveled and exhausted. A day of running, learning, living and loving, all within the IIT-Bombay campus: our home away from home for the next two years in the mayanagri. "
IIM Kozhikode : A unique combination greeted students to this campus this year. First an address by RBI Governor D Subbarao and then a spiritual discourse by Swami Dayananda Saraswati. While the governor spoke about "balancing inflation, price stability and financial security of the country as one of the key challenges, Swami Saraswati spoke about how the vedantas help inner learning. Dr Subbarao insisted:, "Without sacrificing growth, we will not be able to contain inflation" Swami Dayananda cautioned that all growth has to have a proper ethical understanding."
Student take-away: "We found the speakers refreshing. Two different kinds of speakers who were both actually saying the same thing about growth and the challenges before us."