Once upon a time, long ago there was a faraway land called ‘Somewhere’, ruled by an efficient king. Because the king wanted to make the life of his subjects easy, he formed a committee of his ministers to frame a set of conventions that would illustrate the means of carrying out all tasks. This document, aptly named ‘the rulebook’ was widely circulated and enforced until all the subjects started following it religiously. Soon, the entire kingdom was mechanized as everything became routine and the subjects became mere puppets guided by the strings of ‘the rulebook’. Even the king turned apathetic and confined himself to the comforts of his palace. The kingdom was stuck in a rut and all progress slowly stopped. The empire eventually declined and today the kingdom of ‘Somewhere’ is nowhere to be found.
This tale of ‘Somewhere’ presents a stark reality. We abide by a social order held together by the threads of rules and conventions. These norms often define the extent of acceptable behavior for people. In doing this they constrain the unruly and ensure the smooth functioning of the societal apparatus. But it is not long before these threads transform into chains that start restraining imagination; individuals become complacent and trade their identity to be a part of the herd. The mass of humanity progresses slowly by trudging on pre-defined paths.
As times change, so do expectations. It is not long before facilitators turn into oppressors, inebriated by the power entrusted on to them by the masses. It is then that the realization dawns, the bondages of convention cut and bleed humanity and simply tie them to status quo. None of these seem agreeable to civilization which now dreams of a better, brighter future. This sets the backdrop for a revolution – a complete metamorphosis of the entire system to touch newer horizons.
But in the words of Che Guevara ‘The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.’ If we do not actively prune the imperfect and simply adhere to the accepted, the modernization and reformation of our systems and norms will lose impetus. We need to realize that change has no set formula. Only a radical shift today will lead to a quantum transformation tomorrow. The course of history has been altered each time a person has had the conviction to challenge the norms and follow the road less travelled.
‘The Earth is the centre of the universe’. This delusion would have been the reality of astronomy had it not been for the determination of one man, Nicholas Copernicus, to challenge the orthodox axioms of those times. It was through the unconventional ammunition of non cooperation and civil disobedience that India was liberated from the shackles of British rule by Mahatma Gandhi. One man’s outcry against police corruption gave rise to the ‘Arab Spring’ fueled by the novel and widespread use of social networking.
Helen Keller was once asked, ‘What is worse than having no eyesight?’ She replied, ‘Having an eyesight with no vision.’ This statement by this extraordinary woman truly sums up the essence and importance of daring to dream and look beyond the obvious. George Bernard Shaw, once said that the reasonable man adapts himself to the world as it is. The unreasonable man tries to transform the world to what he wants it to be. Therefore, the onus of progress lies upon the gritty and the determined who think farther than the horizon.
The technological advancements and scientific discoveries, on the basis of which, we call ourselves the most advanced species on the planet have been spearheaded by unconventional dreamers. The Edisons and Einsteins of the world have had the audacity to challenge the established and in their quest have benefitted millions. At home, the green revolution, operation flood, and the IT revolution, to name a few, ascertain the fact.
James Cameron, the director of Avatar believed in ‘Pandora’, and waited for 15 long years for the technology that could materialize his thoughts, and managed to create a spectacular marvel. It is true that this new avenue is fraught with risks of the unknown, but promises a higher return. We hold the power to transform our tomorrow and of the generations to come. It is the first step, the first leap of faith that requires valor the most. But one small step, an initiative in the right direction coupled with perseverance has the capability to affect millions.
Let us all challenge ourselves, rise above the barriers of the ordinary and work towards creating the land that Gurudev, imagined our nation to become one day. A land:
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
It was on this train of thought, that the theme of ‘Challenge Convention, Transform tomorrow’ for Vista 2012 was developed.
A Green Fest
Vista 2012, also followed the tradition of being a green fest. IIM Bangalore has reduced its environmental impact through in house activities including the usage of eco-friendly products, recycling waste, car-pooling, open air events, video conferencing, etc. The ‘Go green’ initiative invited every member of the global business community to contribute to Mother Earth simply by assuming the mandate of civic responsibilities for ‘Transforming Tomorrow’ by saving what is precious.
As we inched closer to those three days, initial rounds of many of the events began. Some of the online events like Biztrotter, an online quiz, saw participation to the tune of 800 across various campuses. The first rounds of many of the events started each with stringent deadlines that are a part of the management culture. These prelims were but a glimpse into the rounds that were to follow and also the participants for the some of the events were invited on the basis of these results.
On the 26th of September, Vista 2012 was officially declared open with the curtain raiser theme launch at L square amid much fanfare and thus the countdown for the three days of our Annual Summit began.
The downpour just a day before on the 27th threw its own challenges, spoiling the logo painting on the L square, but the team continued nevertheless, getting it done before Day 1 and finished the day on a hopeful note with the FII tradition of cake cutting for good luck.
Vista September 28th -30th 2012
“An India where all citizens will have access to world class healthcare is possible since India has a rich pool of qualified doctors.” This vision of a healthcare system challenging the conventional constraints by Padma Bhushan Dr. Devi Shetty marked the official start of Vista 2012. Mr. Ajoy Chawla, the global business head of Titan Industries, who delivered the key-note address, also shared his views on how the philosophy of consumerism was having a detrimental effect on society and our planet.
Vista 2012 offered a plethora of events over the three days, spread across multiple domains under the gamut of management and business. They were broadly categorized under Finance, Marketing, Strategy, Operations, Entrepreneurship, Social Initiatives, with every segment including many competitions besides the flagship events. There were also multiple events under the literary section, namely quizzes and debating events, on offer. They were an opportunity to engage with some of the best minds of the country, not only the academia but corporates as well.
The highlights of Vista 2012, the Flagship events, were some of the most eagerly awaited events. Some of these were: Numero Uno, BzzWings, TAS Excelsior, MarkGuru, Bizarre, Trojan Horse and Street Smart. Besides gaining handsome rewards, the winner also earns tremendous respect for competing in one of the most difficult management challenges.
This event tested if the participants had what it takes to be a CEO. This invitation only event had participants from 12 premiere management institutes, selected from their respective institutes via a gruelling process. After three days of challenging activities, real life decisions, overwhelming odds, on-the-feet thinking, and an intense self evaluation, the title was bagged by IIM Kozhikode.
This B-Plan contest was a calling to all the dreamers who had the courage to defy convention to turn their ideas into reality. The participants were assigned mentors who helped them fine tune their plans and finally live their dream.
A successful firm requires complete synergy of financial prowess, marketing acumen and deep strategic sapience. Firms compete against each other through product, positioning, R&D etc. Of late, firms have been head-hunting the best performing employees from their competitors in order to gain strategic advantage. Excelsior challenged the participants to an innovative multi-round event centered on the first principles of management. Participants acted as heads of different domains within a team and battled it out in multiple rounds of Finance, Strategy and Marketing in an attempt to grow their firm. The interesting twist was that participants could move across teams just like a corporate world where companies try to recruit the best of talents from their competitors. This indeed was a true ‘Battle of The Firms’ where negotiation and strategy helped in weaving a success story.
MarkGuru tested the participants’ knowledge on multiple facets of marketing. The true-blue Marketing aficionados vied for this coveted title. The competition ensured that the rounds tested the teams on their ability to think on their feet, apply their knowledge in a practical situation and most importantly, think out-of-the-box.
Bizarre, true to its word, is an unconventionally thought-provoking quiz that is a contest among some of the best quizzers in the country. Bizarre has always been an integral part of Vista’s successes in the past. It was an event where ‘Grey matter matters’.
Brigade Trojan horse
Every decision you make will have the power to change the face of your future. Of course, with great power, comes great responsibility. The event put participants in the hot seat, giving them the chance to be at the helm, making all those right moves that could put their business on the map. This multi stage strategy event tested not only the ability to make the best recommendations, but also the courage to stand and respond to a changing environment.
Deals are the bread and butter of an investment bank. Street Smart was a chance to experience the exhilaration of an M&A. Be it a pitch to buy or a pitch to sell, this one was a challenge to find the master negotiator who could seal that elusive deal.
This event was based on the medieval era practice of barter. The aim was to maximize the number of finished goods with the given amount of raw materials and within stipulated time frame. The emphasis was on the negotiations and trading abilities of the teams.
This event combined the process of setting up an organization with the thrill and adrenaline rush of participating in a live auction.
Convexity Calls Asset Liability
A unique ALM based event which tested the contestants’ skills in Balance Sheet Management. With Financial Markets worldwide recognizing a need of robust balance sheet as rules get more and more stringent, this event plunged the contestants straight into shoes of a Treasurer whose responsibility was to bring his bank’s balance sheet inline before upcoming stringent stress tests.
Hastkala gave the participants a unique opportunity to develop marketing, branding and business strategies for NGOs dealing with handicrafts and handlooms.
The Ad Honchos
This was an event in which participants took a shot at being the next Prahlad Kakkar. The task was to make and enact a wacky and creative advertisement.
Vista Conclave-Where we lived the theme
The shining morning of tomorrow seems closer than ever, yet the process continues. The society, community and the world demand change, a change that will take our nation and the world towards a prosperous and just society. But this change shall not arise unless we transcend the boundaries of the accepted and look beyond the conventions. In this world of the fourth estate, the mantle of responsibility rests on our shoulders to bring about change that is likely to alter the direction in which humanity evolves, to address the contemporary concerns and to foresee a glorious future. Vista Conclave brought together speakers from diverse backgrounds who had challenged conventions and emerged champions in various walks of life. Some of the speakers were:
Kalpana Morparia- a woman who has challenged all conventions by excelling in the competitive field of banking in India, is the Chief Executive Officer of J.P. Morgan, India. She was named one of ‘The 50 Most Powerful Women in International Business’ by Fortune magazine in 2008. Kalpana leads each of JP Mogran’s lines of business – Investment Banking, Asset Management, Treasury Services and Principal Investment Management. She is also a member of J.P. Morgan’s global strategy team headquartered in New York. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan India, she served as Vice Chair on the Board of ICICI Group and was a Joint Managing Director of the group from 2001 to 2007.
Sarath Babu. E
One of the most awe-inspiring stories of success is that of Mr. Sarath Babu, an IIM Ahmedabad alumnus and the founder of Food King Catering Services. He is the winner of several awards such as CNN-IBN Award for Young Indian Leader, ‘Pepsi-MTV Youth Icon’ and ‘Example to Youth Award’. After completing his MBA, Sarathbabu decided to become an entrepreneur with the aim of providing employment to as many people as possible. His venture, FoodKing, is now located in 6 locations around India with a turnover of 8 crore. The first unit was inaugurated by Mr. Narayana Murthy, founder of Infosys in 2006.
He has also ventured into politics to bring about a positive change in the country. Entrepreneur, social worker and politician, he is an exemplary source of motivation for people aspiring to rise up in life through sheer hard work.
Tania Sachdev, who became the eighth Indian Woman Grandmaster, also holds the title of International Master. Having won her first international title when she was just eight, Tania has already won the World and Asian junior titles. In 2008 she topped the Asian Chess Championship with 6½ points out of nine rounds. A brilliant example of how talent when used in combination with hard work can do wonders, Tania perfected the art of balancing a career in chess with her academics and is now continuing the same with a job in Air India. Tania was the second runner-up in 38th National Women’s Premier Chess Championship at Chennai. She was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2009.
Neha Bhasin is an Indian singer-songwriter, performer, and TV hostess and was a member of the Indian pop girl group Viva!.She has donned several caps at such a young age and has had the courage to follow her dreams challenging all conventions.
The Conclave marked the end of the three vibrant days of Vista 2012. The entire campus was abuzz with the myriads of management and there was an atmosphere of camaraderie among the participants across all campuses and the spirit of the theme was lived up to.
In words of one of the core members of FII “Vista is more than just a business fest or a forum that brings students and businesses together – to us, it is one of the defining moments of our life, not just the two years at IIM-B. A team of just 40 working with other student bodies on campus and putting together a 1.5 crore-budget fest is a monumental task. One would think that the completion of the fest would provide us a huge sense of relief. But no, what we organizers were left with was a terrible sense of vaccuum!
We will certainly cherish the experiences of these three days for a lifetime. No other work we do in our life ahead would be as much fun, as draining or even as rewarding as Vista!”