Contributed By: Vinod
Edited By: Karthick Selvan
Pursuing an MBA from one of the best colleges in the world is an arduous journey. Taking time out of a busy schedule to run errands outside the campus for everyday essentials is the last thing one wants. At IIM Bangalore, the students pay very little attention to the shops outside the campus. They know the restaurants and pubs across the street but have never paid attention to the fancy or the Kirana stores. This is because of a group of students who come together, take care of all student needs and make sure the MBA journey is as smooth as possible. The initiative and involvement of the people involved in running the store sets IIMB apart from any of the top IIMs in India, and we are indeed indebted to the members of MARS.
MARS (Merchandising and Retailing Society) of IIMB has always strived to make life easier for the students. Every MBA student learns about the consumer experience cycle, and every manager tries to improve their products and or service at those touch points in the cycle. In a similar way, MARS tries to understand the student’s need at different points of their stay at IIMB and provide products and services to the students through its student-run store in the most hassle-free manner possible. It provides more than 14 services in the different period of the year and operates in over six segments that include stationery, personal care, toiletries, medicines and oral care, food and confectioneries and decorative items at 20% discount on most of the products.
This year one of the major inputs to the IIMB society was the addition of the decorative segment, birthday celebration requirements, universal adaptors to the outgoing exchange community and helping other clubs with procurements using a huge vendor base. MARS also saw the entire batch coming forward to donate to the Kerala flood victims and was more than happy to serve the students and the society as well. With the advent of Christmas, it will soon be decorated with a Christmas theme and is planning to bring in new varieties of decoration items.
When asked about the motivation behind working at MARS, the response from one of the Martians, Amrita Trehan, Junior Coordinator MARS, PGP 2018-20 is, “As a part of MARS, I have an immense ownership of our store and try hard to make it bigger and better as an entrepreneur does for his startup, handling the store operations, procurement, and other nitty-gritty at MARS makes me appreciate the effort that goes into properly managing the neighbourhood Kirana stores, and it shows me how important it is to understand the customer even for a seemingly small business. Most importantly, it’s about cherishing the satisfaction of the students when they find something that they were looking for, without them even asking for it.”
MARS is looking to leverage technology to improve the purchasing experience. We might have a MARS app and room delivery in the coming years (fingers crossed!). The people at MARS have thanked the students of IIMB for their continued support while it’s the students who are grateful to have MARS in the campus.
Vinod is the MARS Secretary and a PGP 2017-2019 student of IIm Bangalore