It all started more than 2 years ago when I received a mail from Mrs. Rashmi Bansal, owner of the JAM Magazine and the author of several best-selling titles on entrepreneurship, asking me if Symbiosis Institute of Operations Management (SIOM) could participate in an initiative for the social welfare. It was not just about donation. Rather, it was about giving our time, our attention and more importantly our hearts and souls. And the real pleasure was in deriving the joy from ‘giving’. The initiative was named as ‘Joyfest’ and it was a part of the national movement called ‘Joy of Giving Week’.
I dropped a line to our Director Dr. Vandana Sonwaney to know her opinion on this initiative. And as usual, she was more than willing to extend her full support to make this noble initiative successful. I along with my class-mate Salil Bansal discussed several options with our Director. Finally, we zeroed in on the thought of launching Cleanliness drive in Nashik’s Panchvati area as it was surveyed by our seniors to be one of the dirtiest areas. And this marked the beginning of the first edition of Joyfest at my alma mater.
In order to spread the message of keeping the city clean and to inspire the people to be more responsible towards the society and the environment, we launched an intensive cleanliness drive in Nashik under the banner of Joyfest on September 28, 2009. Municipal Corporation of Nashik lent its full support to us by providing the necessary things like brooms, garbage trolleys, gloves etc. to carry-out this drive. On the festive day of Dussehra, we carried out the cleanliness drive around the Ram-kund area, the main pilgrimage site in Nashik. Dr. Vandana herself volunteered in this drive along with the students of the institute to lead by example. This is how SIOM volunteered in this initiative to become a member-college of this movement.
Year after year, students volunteer themselves in the Joyfest to extend their helping hands to the society with the continued support from their respective institutes. In the form of Joyfest, the youth population of this Nation has got a chance to use the power of collective action to make a ‘big’ difference to the society. I am sure even this year during the Joy of Giving Week i.e. from Oct 2 to Oct 8, student support will pour in large numbers to bring smiles on the faces of many more people of the country and take this initiative to new heights.
Today is the day when my alma mater, Symbiosis Institute of Operations Management (SIOM) Nashik, completes its successful journey of 5 years. And my blog post coincides on this beautiful day of foundation of my alma mater. It was on this very day of the year 2005 that existing Nashik campus of Symbiosis Centre for Management & Human Resource Development (SCMHRD) was rechristened as SIOM after inauguration at the hands of Mr. Baba Kalyani.
When I joined SIOM to pursue my MBA in Operations, I thought that two year period would be a long duration. But, time passed away so quickly only to realise later that the day to bid adieu to my institute had arrived. Most of us had doubts galore when we entered the institute to pursue our Masters. But today when we look back, we certainly not only cherish the memories of our time spent at the institute, but also thank our destiny to bring us to such a place.
I found it difficult initially to adapt to a 7-day working schedule of the institute. But, gradually I got used to it. First semester exams at the institute were one amongst the most horrific times of my life. Two final exams scheduled every day for almost a week in the first semester gave me the sleepless nights. I tried my level best to sleep as early as possible; however, the nightmare of two tough papers scheduled for the subsequent day virtually never let me sleep for a week-long exam time. Today, those horrific moments have become memorable moments for me.
I still treasure the teachings & assignments of Mr. Y. R. Rao, when we used to sit at the green turf and discuss the case-studies for hours without any breakthrough. The teachings of Mr. Rao, who served as the CEO of many public limited companies, gave a new angle to my thought process. Another wonderful fellow was Mr. Vivek Kaul, former Head HR India– Kimberly-Clark, who made a seemingly boring subject like “Principles & Practices of Management” most interesting for us. These two teachers were my all-time favourite.
Today, I take immense proud in calling myself an alumnus of SIOM. For everything I am today, I owe it to a large extent to none other than the institute. Hope I’ll able to visit my institute some day again for all the good reasons.
Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I’ll miss you until we meet again!
Before the placement season started at Symbiosis Institute of Operations Management (SIOM), Nashik, I had decided that I’ll apply only to firms operating in the services sector and I won’t keep my expectations too high. Each one of us used to eagerly wait for the mail from the placements mail id. One day we got in our mailboxes a mail asking the interested students having more than 2 years of experience to apply for KPIT Cummins Infosystems, Pune for roles of Project Lead & Operations Manager. I being having 21 months of work-experience was not eligible to apply as per the required work-experience criterion. However, going by this condition, a large chunk of people falling in the bracket of 20 to 23 months experience were not eligible. I amongst many others requested our placement team to insist the KPIT Cummins to relax their condition of work-experience. After talking to KPIT Cummins, finally this condition was relaxed and students with more than 20 months of work-experience were allowed to apply for the company. With around 84% of my fellow class-mates being having prior work-experience, I thought I had bleak chances of getting short listed in the company.
It was on December 18, 2009, when KPIT Cummins visited our campus. They had a shortlist of just 7 students for the role of Operations Manager. I was pleasantly surprised to find my name at Sr. No. 2 of the shortlist. I had not prepared anything for the selection process. I quickly went to my hostel room and picked my file having all the academic & extra-curricular certificates. I asked one of my friends to take the print-out of my resume and in the mean-time I quickly had my lunch. After that I immediately rushed towards the interview room. Interviews were about to begin and my turn was immediately after the first candidate.
During the interview I was bombarded with many questions. I would like to share one question for which I gave a very funny answer. I was asked by interviewers to choose any one of the two subjects viz. History & Geography. After thinking for a while, I chose Geography. Interviewer asked me to explain the reason. Here goes my funny answer:
“It’s because History keeps on repeating itself and I’ll get to learn history one way or the other from the future happenings. But Geography I’ll have to explore on my own!”
Finally, when the interviews got over, out placement co-ordinator announced my name and asked me to meet the interviewers. This was primarily a negotiation round wherein I was supposed to divulge my expectations. I was unable to control my happiness and I was ready to accept any reasonable package for the position of Operations Manager and that too for a place like Pune. They offered me X.XX LPA and without even a sign of reluctance, I readily accepted their offer. I couldn’t believe that I got placed and that too in a company for which I was initially not eligible! This is what destiny had for me. Today when I look back, I realise that chance attributed more to my placement than my hard-work.