The Pilot Episode: ‘The one with the Sweet Beginning’

Even as we were in the first week of our stay inside our lush green campus in Gurgaon, thoughts like – getting ourselves accustomed to the hostel scenario,  interacting and knowing our peers, a probable change in our biological and sleep cycles and the hunch of going back to books(that still feels intimidating) were on our minds. A plethora of similar emotions was playing a strange medley in and around us. Then, Great Lakes came up with the outbound trip to Rishikesh, the most fitting pilot episode to our newest series in life- The B school experience.

Our trip began on 19 May as we boarded our buses and started our long and fun filled night. Antakshari, Dumb charades, singing and dancing were the norm for the night… This was just the beginning!

We reached our pristine and beautiful campsite ‘Life missions’ in the morning and got ourselves ready for a day filled with unforgettable adventures. We split into two groups. One group geared up for a thrilling tryst with Rappelling as another started for an electrifying Rafting experience on the river Ganges.

As I braced myself for my rendezvous with rappelling, I could not help but wonder what it would feel like. The thought of hanging from a tall bridge with just a rope to our rescue felt awesome! I am obviously talking for myself. I am sure the same was not the case for people with Acrophobia. 😀

Cut to the actual experience, it did feel awesome! It was amazing to let go and hang almost perpendicular to the bridge and slowly descend systematically. It also gives a sense of trusting the guide who was giving all the instructions. Trust is what drives all businesses! In retrospect, it seems there was so much of sub-conscious learning happening.

Next, we had a team exercise of building a bridge with straws. Working in teams and collaborating amongst each other was a fun learning experience, to say the least.

As the day approached noon, we returned to our campsite, had lunch and eagerly prepared ourselves for Rafting. The review provided by the other group that returned added on to the excitement. We started off and reached a location called ‘Marine drive’, strapped ourselves with life jackets and helmets, and made sure we took proper instructions given by the Rafting coordinator. I can vouch for the entire batch by saying that this experience was, without any argument, the highlight of the trip.

As we started rowing our rafts in unison, we came across quite a few surprises. For a person who is new to the rafting world, the idea of encountering ‘rapids’ was massively thrilling. Our coordinator gave us direct and lucid instructions before each of the four rapids we challenged. These were:

  1. Good evening
  2. Sweet 16
  3. Roller coaster
  4. The three blind mice

Each of these rapids has a special memory with all of us. Experiences like standing inside the raft with the probability of falling over, taking a toss in the river, witnessing an ever-beautiful landscape across the river and getting ourselves lost in a myriad of senses and thrills as we witnessed the beautiful sunset are a few souvenirs we took back home from this experience.

As the Rafting escapade ended, we had one more learning experience in the form of a raft building exercise that was veritably fun filled and utterly enriching.

Coming back to our campsite, an evening with the bonfire and music awaited us. With our batch having a talent spectrum ranging from professional violin players, drummers and guitarists to melodious singers and dancers, this evening was exactly what we needed to feel refreshed.  As we dispersed to our tents after such a happening day, we all had a sense of belonging amongst each other.

We struggled to wake up the next day, but Palhan Sir’s meditation session filled us with reinvigorated energy as we headed off to a trek. Returning from a short hike, we had one final meet up focusing on the assessment for the two group activities. It was fun witnessing all the teams doing interesting introductions and victory dances.

None of us was in a mood to leave Rishikesh and the trip back to Gurgaon did seem long. Nevertheless, the end of this eventful trip marked the start of our ‘B-School’ journey.’ A journey that will surely be filled with ups and downs just like the rapids that we faced in Rishikesh. But if we work together then I’m positive that we’ll all get a chance to perform our victory dances at the end of this year.

 

‘IN THE MIDST OF MOUNTAINS’

A trip to a beautiful place,

Uttarakhand, you blessed us with your grace.

Driving through your mountains’ maze,

Mesmerised by your rain’s presence.

Drifting down the bridge like a pro,

Amidst the mountains’ meadow.

To get rid of phobia of heights,

Rappelling was an amazing exercise.

Ganga, the mightiest of the rivers

Embraced us with all her ardour.

Feeling the quivers in her waters,

Rafting, an experience gifted to us.

An evening with a Bonfire,

Music, you are the sire.

Guitar, Violin and Drums singing to its melody,

Musicians tuning to all its glory.

Staring at the sky of twinkling stars,

Sleeping in the mother nature’s arms.

Opening eyes to the beautiful misty morning,

Waking up to the sun between the mountains, rising.

Meditating early in the morning,

Trekking through the hills in the surrounding.

Relaxing by the river that’s flowing,

Folks playing water volleyball, enjoying.

An end to a beautiful journey,

A lovely opening to a new Odyssey,

Cheers to a lot of memories,

As a fan of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, It is

‘The One with a Sweet Beginning’.

 

Authors: Samuel Johnson & Prithvi Naadig

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

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Sitting in the Hall of Fame

Even at the age of 80, Dr Bala V. Balachandran, is an inspiration to many and a motivation to many more. His energy, enthusiasm, knowledge and, most importantly, wit are the key traits that make him so loved and respected by all.

Having an opportunity to attend his class was truly a blessing. After interacting with this great gentleman, I often kept wondering what is it like to be successful at the age of 80? What keeps him going?

When asked the same, Uncle Bala said, it’s the enthusiastic students and their never ending thirst of knowledge. Seeing, interacting, teaching and always being surrounded by people in their twenties make him feel twenty at heart and the love and respect that he receives from then is what encourages him to achieve more and do more for them. Well, this is ‘attitude being gratitude’ at its finest and speaks volumes about the character of this phenomenal person. It is in my personal opinion, that it’s not just being successful but doing it the right way is what differentiates the men from the boys.

So, what was it like to attend his class? The aura of the class comprising of the enthusiasm of the students and the respect that he commanded were among the first oblivious things that can be observed. The constant humour, witty one-liners, the command and expertise over the subject (duh! he is the pioneer of the subject) and his constant real-time illustrations are the composition of his class.

The key take away for a student from Uncle Bala’s class are the real life experiences shared, industry specific problems defined and the strategic methods implemented to solve the same which are in correlation with your academic subjects helping you bridge the gap and connect the dots.

In his short stay of 3 days and 10 hours of classes, he has given us much to cherish and the impression that he has left on us students will be everlasting.

Author: Ashwin AN

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

The Great Lakes Bike Squad – Roadtrip #1 – AGRA

It was the Sunday of the penultimate week of term 1 when the examination schedule arrived and noticing that we have a 2 day holiday post exams, was enough to lift our spirits after the 7 weeks of rigorous classes, assignments, quizzes and projects. Being the kind of travel enthusiast and an adventure junkie that I am, I immediately started planning a road trip.

Post extensive deliberations and discussions, “The Squad” decided that Agra was the best place to visit in this limited span of time.

Introducing the squad:

 

 

With the exams done and dusted, we nut heads, Chinmay, Rishi and I (Ashwin) were super pumped up for this trip. We got our bikes washed and fueled them up for the ride.

The Kickstart: Day 1: Saturday

We started our journey early in the morning at 6 AM and were greeted by foggy clouds, slight drizzle and curvy roads. As we cruised through the countryside with cool breeze caressing our bodies and ruffling our hair, a kind of indescribable euphoria took over.

The benefit of starting at 6 in the morning is that we covered good ground in no time and by the time we reached the National Highway, we were starving. After devouring a few parathas, we were on our way to our first major stop, Mathura, the birth place of ‘Lord Krishna’. We explored the town for a while and then made our way to Vrindavan to seek the Lord’s blessings. Following which, it was now time to head towards Agra and the gorgeous Yamuna Expressway, with its scenic beauty, embraced us with open arms.

 

Yamuna Expressway was a full-throttle adrenaline rush!!! Cruising at 120 KMPH and pushing our vehicles to their limits, it was an amazing feeling altogether. Post all that adventure, we stopped for our mandatory photo shoot and reached Agra at 2PM. Later in the evening, we explored the former capital of India gazed at the beauty of the TAJ in awe.

Day 2: Sunday – TAJ, definitely worth every superlative description out there

Being the early birds that we are, we visited Taj at 6AM and it was truly a feast for the eyes. After gazing endlessly upon the monument of love in a peaceful environment devoid of any noisy tourists, we started our journey to Fatehpur Sikri and reached there by 11 AM, visited all the historic monuments and by 3 PM we were back on the road.

Within a span of 48 hours, we covered a distance of 500 KMS and reached our campus safe and sound by 7 PM.

With this adventurous trip behind us, we realised that this was first official Bike Squad of Great Lakes. The three of us mutually agreed to carry forward this tradition of road trip whenever the opportunity presents itself and keep on adding more members to The Squad in the future.

 

Author: Ashwin AN

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

 

 

International Yoga Day 2017 – An Exhilarating & Rejuvenating Experience

 

“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self and to the self”

      -Bhagavad Gita

Yoga provides a holistic workout wherein it helps us beat the stress and attain inner peace by relaxing the mind, making internal organs healthier and toning our body. Three years ago our Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, persuaded the United Nations to declare 21st June as the International Yoga Day and the third edition of International Yoga Day was celebrated with full zest and enthusiasm by the Gladiators (PGPM batch 2017-18) at the Gurgaon campus of Great Lakes Institute of Management.

The day started with all the students geared up to take a step towards a better and healthier future. It was a time to recall the disciplines that originated in ancient India. Our entire batch of 120 students, along with our dear Prof. S K Palhan, did asana and pranayama to embark on the journey of a healthier and happy mind. The following meditation session was full of tranquillity and helped us eliminate all our anxiety and worries. Yoga session was followed by team games and nutritious breakfast comprising of detoxifying drink and fruits.

The ultimate purpose of International Yoga day is to promote Yoga and endeavour towards making it a part and parcel of everyone’s daily routine. Needless to say, the benefits of a yogic routine are numerous and keeping this in mind, we, as the future business leaders, pledged to practice yoga in our daily lives making the day truly successful.

 

Author: Sakshi Khurana

PGPM Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 56 – Responsibility

My dear friends,

The conventional meaning of responsibility is duty & accountability.

If you accept its wider meaning as ‘response-ability’, then the scenario expands.

Responsibility vis-à-vis ‘Response ability’

For example, if you see someone dying on the street out of an accident, are you responsible? The conventional meaning will suggest you “No”. But by the second meaning, you have so many options.

  1. If you are a doctor, you will try direct intervention.
  2. If you are not, you may call an ambulance.
  3. If you don’t have ambulance contact, you may yourself take him to the nearest hospital.
  4. If you are not in a car, you may stop the next passing car and escort him to the hospital.
  5. If you discover the identity of the injured person, you may inform his kith and kin.

Responsibility is enslavement or freedom?

Your eraser falls off a table. If you feel you are responsible, you have several choices before you:

  1. You could simply bend down and pick it up.
  2. You could ask someone to help.
  3. You might pick it up when you leave the table.

You have a variety of options. But if you don’t take responsibility, you have nothing to choose from. Which is freedom? To have choices or to have none?

Responsibility is self-application

When we praise a person as being responsible, what exactly we mean? Primarily we think that he takes charge of the job assigned to him. He does not lack “self-application”. I remember when I was the Chief (Planning) at NHPC, one manager was posted from the field. His table used to be absolutely clean with all the papers shifted from the “In” tray to the “Out” tray. The secret, I discovered, was that as soon as any paper would arrive on his table; he would start looking at it from the angle “which direction it should be marked to, downward, lateral or to some other department for action/ comments” in other words “passing the buck”. He was not prepared to take responsibility for any of the issues. He soon became a symbol of non-self-application and proved unfit for the department.

Responsibility vis-à-vis Courage & Leadership

Taking responsibility is the ultimate essence of personal courage. The following is a fine example of personal courage on one side and magnanimity & leadership on the other.

In 1979, India launched its first SLV-3 built by ISRO, whose Chairman was Prof. Satish Dhawan and APJ Abdul Kalam was Project Director of SLV Mission. In the first stage, everything worked fine. In the second stage, a problem developed. Instead of the satellite going into orbit, the whole rocket plunged into the Bay of Bengal. It was a big failure. Failure analysis was done and presented to the chairman Prof. Dhawan. Everyone was convinced about the technical cause-and-effect sequence and future failure management measures got settled. Just before the meeting was over, Dr Kalam suddenly stood up and said “Just 4 minutes before the launch, I had observed some leakage of Red Fuming Nitric Acid (RFNA) but ignored it thinking it was insignificant. As a Mission Director, I should have put the launch on hold and saved the flight. In a similar situation abroad, the Mission Director would have lost his job. I, therefore, take responsibility for the SLV-3 failure” Touched by Kalam’s honesty and personal courage in taking the responsibility, Prof. Dhawan said, “I am going to put Kalam in orbit!”

Dr. Kalam was very frightened to face the media and answer their criticism of wasting millions of people’s money. Prof. Satish Dhawan took Dr.Kalam to the press meet and made him sit aside and he said “We failed! But I have very good trust in my team that next time we will be succeeding for sure” and made everyone believe in the team’s competence.

The very next year, 18 July 1980, the same team led by Dr. Kalam successfully launched Rohini RS-1 into the orbit. The whole country was proud and cheering for the success of the launch. Prof. Satish Dhawan congratulated Dr. Kalam and the team and asked Dr. Kalam to conduct the press conference that day. The rest is History. Dr. Kalam led many more successful launches and became “Missile Man” of India. This would not have happened without what Prof. Satish Dhawan did on the day of his failure!

“Taking responsibility is the greatest mark of a great leader.”

Former U.S. President Harry S Truman was known to say, “The buck stops here.” That meant that people below his level may “pass the buck” or not take responsibility, but he could not afford to do so because he had the ultimate responsibility!

Invisible emotions driving one towards responsibility

There seem to be three invisible emotions which drive one towards responsibility. These are Love, Fear and Greed. If you love someone you feel responsible towards his/her concerns. If you have some kind of fear like losing your job; you will be forced to take responsibility. If you have any sort of greed say getting a fast-track promotion, you would try to take higher and higher responsibility to prove yourself. Taking responsibility makes you win hearts, getting over fear and accomplishing scintillating success. So, Take the responsibility and win the world!

 

Satyamev Jayate!!!

With Best Wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu, BE (Hons), M.Tech., Ph.D., D.Eng. (Hon), FNAE, Hon.D.WRE (USA)

Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurugram, INDIA

Alumni Speak: “The two years at Great Lakes helped me understand the dynamics and parameters of management from all possible dimensions.”

Abhijit Panda, a student of PGPM (E) 2015-17 batch, recently got recruited as a Pre-sales Consultant by HCL. Let’s find out what he had to say about his Great Lakes journey.

Q1. What led to your decision of pursuing an MBA?

“I’ll have to start at the beginning for that. I completed my B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from CV Raman College of Engineering Bhubaneswar, Odisha and after working on the technology front in IT sector for four years, the job profile got extremely monotonous and devoid of any sort of real challenge. I wanted to go back to school to unlearn and learn new crafts. I wanted to understand various aspects of business that help professionals take strategic decisions. I also wanted to have a 360-degree outlook of the global business scenario around me. Hence, in order to understand various key aspects of business (Financial, Marketing, Operational etc.), I decided to undertake a formal full time MBA course.”

Q2. How did the two years at Great Lakes help you transform? Did you achieve your goals for which you wanted to pursue an MBA?

“Absolutely. These two years at Great Lakes helped me understand the dynamics of management from all possible dimensions. I could understand the strategies, parameters, regulatory frameworks at play which govern the entire business ecosystem. The intensive classroom teaching along with guest lectures by industry experts broadened my learning curve and the live project opportunities were really helpful for my preparation.”

Q3. Mention two key personality traits that you acquired during your Master’s?

“The two important and key traits were Leadership and Time Management. Being a student council member as well as a member of various committees helped me immensely in acquiring the above-mentioned traits.”

Q4. That is great. So, what all communities were you a part of?

“I was a member of three student committees; BPR (Branding & Public Relations), Toastmasters and CREST (Annual Management Fest).”

Q5. Mention three key highlights of your program.

The three key highlights would be:

  1. Diverse and Industry Relevant Subjects offered in the course.
  2. High-quality Mentoring sessions by Professors
  3. Live project opportunities to enhance skill sets and be industry ready.

Q6. What advice would you like to give to the future Great Lakers?

“My advice to the future Great Lakers would be to come to Great Lakes with an open mind to learn and create new dimensions. You will receive an enormous amount of support from everyone out here as well as ample avenues to showcase your talents. Work hard, build new skills, innovate, participate in prestigious B-school fests and be the best version of yourself as you walk out of the campus post two years.”

Alumni Speak: “What Great Lakes offered was a holistic learning approach that helped me immensely in my career.”

Abhishek Agarwal graduated from Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, in 2016 and is currently working as the Product Manager at 91Mobiles.com. We recently had a chat with him about his professional life after graduation.

Here are some excerpts from the conversation.

 

Q1. What were you doing professionally before joining Great Lakes?

Before I started with my MBA at Great Lakes, I was working at IBM developing business applications in SAP for FMCG and utility sector projects.

Q2. It sounds like you had an interesting job profile there. So, what pushed you towards pursuing an MBA and why did you choose Great Lakes for your Master’s?

Yes, it sure was an interesting and challenging job profile, but I realised that there are limitations to how much impact one can have on the decision-making without developing business skills and perspective. Once this realisation kicked in, doing an MBA was the fastest route to achieving my goals.

The prime reasons for choosing Great Lakes, Gurgaon, were the one year advantage, world-class curriculum and the location. Also, a lot of hard work and dedication went into getting accepted in this prestigious institute.

Q3. How did the one year at Great Lakes help you transform?

First of all, I’d like to clear the misconception that one-year MBA’s course structure and curriculum is less challenging than its two-year counterpart. If anything, the one year MBA curriculum is more arduous in nature than a two year one, as you learn the same amount of concepts and fundamentals in lesser time. And trust me when I say that the one year at Great Lakes was so hectic and challenging that now I feel I can take any challenge thrown in my way by the corporate world head-on quite comfortably with poise and ease. Also, Great Lakes made me more of a logical and structural thinker, which is extremely important for my current job role.

Q4. Tell me more about your current organisation and job role.

I am currently working as a Product Manager at 91Mobiles, which is a Gurgaon based startup that helps people find the right gadget at the right price. My job role encompasses everything from product conceptualization to its final implementation.

Q5. Mention the key highlights of your GL experience.

  1. Enlightening guest lectures, unparalleled practical exposure via industry interaction and great faculty
  2. Learning and fun always went hand in hand.
  3. And most importantly, I don’t think I slept for more than 4 hours per day on an average, during my one year at Great Lakes.

Q6. How would you describe the peer learning experience in and beyond the classroom at Great Lakes?

It was, without a doubt, a great experience meeting and learning from the people of my batch who came from diverse professional backgrounds. It made me understand the corporate world from so many different points of views. There is just so much that you can learn in a classroom, but what Great Lakes offered was a chance to learn even from my batch-mates and it is this type of holistic learning approach that helped me immensely in my career.

Q7. What advice would you like to give to the future Great Lakers?

I would just like to tell them to make the most of their time here at Great Lakes as it will prepare them for the corporate world. You can learn a lot from the faculty and your peers, so keep your eyes and ears open all the time and learn as much as you can. Also, build a solid network as you never know when and where that scrawny kid or the school jock would be able to get you out of a mess or help you crack a deal. Always remember Uncle Bala’s (Great Lakes’ Dean Padmashri Dr. Bala V Balachndran) words, “Your network is your net worth.”