Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Alumni Meet, Nostalgia and How It Connects

Last weekend was a very nostalgic weekend. Having graduated from the college exactly 9.5 years ago, it was deeply moving to meet some of my batch mates (2003-2005) again at the same place. A welcoming invite from the college alumni to attend the first ever alumni meet of our college - Canara Bank School of Management Studies (Central College MBA Department), Bangalore, made our weekend an awesome one! Thanks to some of our amazing bunch of seniors and our dear professors, the program was organized very well and it connected us all back in times that shaped our careers. All of us had something nice to look back and all of us had some nice stories to share. And of course it was fun to look at ourselves after 9.5 years and say oh man, you've changed a lot! ah, look at you - what happened to your hair?! how many jobs have you changed? what's your daughter's name? oh! so you're married!? and so on. We were absolutely thrilled to see some of our seniors whom we hadn't met even during our college days and there were representatives from every batch starting 1998-2000 batch.
We started our discussion with a very interesting question - 
What connects us back to this institution and what comes to your mind when you think of this institution?
A very thought provoking question which tickled our brains to instantly produce some amazing answers. Some of those answers were absolutely hilarious and some were dramatically long. Moderator did his best to keep the answers short. But all of us were in absolute flow to connect back with those beautiful days that shaped our lives. It was absolutely exhilarating for me to connect myself back to those days because it was those 2 beautiful years that turned my life around completely. I certainly would be very different today had I not joined CBSMS and I can only say that I was very lucky.
There is one specific incident that comes to my mind whenever I think of my college. It was during my third semester examination. Harish and I wanted to take a bit of deviation during our internship and we had managed to work on a very interesting project for 3 months in a very big NGO. It was not a easy decision for us to make and some of our friends even tried convincing us not to take any such projects considering the academic interests and scoring pattern in the exams. But we decided to go with it and be different. It was our Professor, M. K. Sridhar encouraged us to take up such challenging projects and he even guided us through our internship project. So we completed our project and were fairly satisfied with the outcome. It was a project on assessing the Quality Management Systems' impact on BAIF Institute for Rural Development and their projects throughout Karnataka.
A few months after we returned from our project, our professor drew our attention to a competition called 'National Social Impact Awards' organized by the SP Jain Institute of Management Research in Mumbai. He recommended us to write a paper on our 3 month internship work. Both of us were quite thrilled to see the call for papers, we worked on the paper and applied for the competition. We were not sure that our paper would make it to the finals given our last minute preparations. To our surprise out of several papers received, the organizers had shortlisted 6 papers and ours was the 6th one. We were in shock and we were equally ecstatic. But we were not sure of participating in the final round because of our third semester exams. We had no time to prepare, go to Mumbai, present our paper and come back. Also the competition dates were in between two exams and we had only 3 days gap between the two exams. So we decided not to go and we started preparing for our exams.
Our professor called us to his cabin one day and asked us if we are all set for the competition. We told him we decided not to go given our examination dates and all the mess. He asked us when is the competition, we gave him the dates. He asked us if it is coinciding with our exam dates. We said No! but it is between our exam dates and is a 3 day gap. He asked us if we participate, will we miss the exam dates? We said not exactly, but we will barely make it to the exam just in time. He immediately said 
so what's the problem here? It is very clear to me that you can write your 1st exam, leave for your competition, present your paper, come back and write your next exam.
Harish and I anxiously stared at each other, took a deep breath, and said, ok, we shall try and booked our train tickets!
We won the 2nd prize at the competition and were very thrilled to win against IIMA and other 4 premium B-Schools. We came back and wrote our exams and luckily we didn't fail either. Not that we did something very extraordinary, but the reason why I always think of this story is very simple. Whatever happened was possible only because I was at my college at the right time. My college gave me the platform to do the project I liked to do, my professor MKS inspired both Harish and I to take up challenging projects, he became our mentor for life; and our project enabled us to look at our own lives very differently; we made several friends for life; we built our professional network; we got into good jobs; we even started our own NGO and enrolled ourselves for a bigger cause; we learnt immensely and set ourselves a direction to move on. And I always think that all this would not have happened if I had not joined this institution. To me, my college was an ecosystem of infinite possibilities. 
This one story is a trailer of what happened to me since the day I joined the college and my life after that. And this was my answer to the question - 'What connects us back to this institution and what comes to your mind when you think of this institution?'

Cheers,
Srikanth

2 comments:

Narasim said...

Your description of the defining moment is terrific.

It takes an insightful teacher to read the potential of his students. Good for him that he encouraged you two to do both exams and present the paper.

In the end, the credit truly belongs to you two. You did it. Bravo.

Narasim

Mahesh Seetharaman said...

Hey, awesome post. And as usual, you are an amazing story teller. While I have heard this from you before (with a lot more details put in), it was still engrossing to read it all over again.