Cultural activities at ‘B’ – Ramanath Pai

Ramanath Pai

Cultural clubs at B-schools help build soft skills

  • Hindustan Times, New Delhi|
  • Updated: May 26, 2016 14:22 IST

By Ramanath Pai (PGP 2015-17)

The students’ media cell is one of the about 30-odd student clubs at IIM Bangalore that gives students a chance to apply management concepts learnt in class to the real world and to hone their soft skills. The forum for industrial interaction, the entrepreneurship and innovation cell and the students’ cultural committee provide avenues for students to organise Vista, a national-level festival celebrating students’ business acumen and Eximius that assists budding entrepreneurs. Unmaad is India’s largest B-school cultural fest.

There are different clubs – the consulting club, which is a platform for industry to float live consulting projects for students at IIM Bangalore, exposing them to the exciting consulting projects, OpMac – the operations club, MaSh – the marketing club, Networth – the finance club, all of which keep students abreast of the latest happenings in their respective fields while giving them support to prepare for interviews. And that’s not all! There are clubs catering to a plethora of interests – dance, music, adventure, photography, debating, quizzing, literary arts, environment and sustainability and many others.

With a plethora of clubs at the institute, there’s definitely something to satiate all interests!

While being part of clubs is not mandatory, it exposes students to a variety of real life, on-ground situations to which they can apply their management skills. It improves their standing among peers, gives them an opportunity to handle large-scale intra- and inter-collegiate events, improves their time management skills and gives them an opportunity to network with the who’s who of the country – examples include guest speakers at Vista/Eximius: Nandan Nilekani, the former CEO and co-founder of Infosys; Nitin Gadkari, minister of road transport and highways; Mani Shankar Aiyar, former Indian diplomat turned politician. Performers who have participated in Unmaad include Sunidhi Chauhan, playback singer and Raghu Dixit, reputed Indian singer-songwriter, producer, and film score composer; or Shahrukh Khan, actor; Azim Premji, chairman of Wipro and Shashi Tharoor, politician and former diplomat, who had graced the IIMBUE alumni leadership summit.

Clubs give students a chance to organise major events which help them develop their management skills.

Those who are not a part of clubs excel in their respective streams of interest rather than organising events around them. This gives students an exposure to various college-level and national level events and prepares them to represent IIM Bangalore at an international level. While the admission criteria of India’s premier B-schools ensure that only the best analytical minds of the country get through, recruiters today look for people with that “something extra” which will ensure a great cultural fit of new hires into their workforce.

In today’s connected world, it is of utmost importance that we work well with people, understand diverse points of view and create amicable solutions that satisfy each player of the interconnected web of relationships – not just with colleagues and customers, but also with suppliers, complementors and even competitors. B-schools have courses designed around EQ and communication skills, but their applicability is usually restricted to the classrooms.

Involvement in student clubs and activities helps students learn to manage time effectively and work with diverse groups of people.

The author is second-year PGP student at IIM Bangalore

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