Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sojourn at IIM Indore

It’s the first day of engineering college and Rancho is grinning happily in class! When asked by the professor why he is smiling like an idiot, he responds that it was his dream to get into engineering. And now that it has actually come true, he is feeling very nice about it! Sitting in a classroom at IIM Indore this August, the smile on my lips reflected the same feelings! It's always a dream to be a student at IIMs and i was living it, albeit just for 3 days. 

The name badge on my seat
i have had an indirect connect with the IIMs as a trainer who trained MBA aspirants, including people who subsequently got calls from IIMs. But i never aspired to be there because i knew i would never clear CAT thanks to my pathetic math. Years later, in the current time, i was looking for certification related to training and went to the websites of IIMs. i didn't want to do something just for the sake of an IIM in my resume. Not finding relevant courses in IIM A, B, C, i settled for Indore which offered an advanced certification in training, which is very similar to what i wanted. 

Having enrolled myself in the course, the prospect of going to an IIM was exciting. And the sojourn totally lived up to the hype! i was picked up from the airport and driven through the city to reach the campus. The rooms, though very basic, sufficed the purpose. The campus is huge with sprawling green lawns, made even more lush by the recent rains. The spotless clean campus had narrow roads leading you to everywhere in the campus. Though having to walk all over the place did get a bit tiring!

The beautiful campus made even more lush green by the rains 

 Roads that take you around the campus

The real thing was to be a part of an IIM classroom and learn from professors who were, without doubt, an authority in their subjects. We had lectures on a variety of HR and training related subjects. It was inspiring to see the professors walk the talk. Their knowledge of the subject, energy levels, style of delivery is worth learning from and emulating in real life. The peer learning, which i was also looking forward to, turned out to be a dud because we had 80% participants from a govt insurance company who had spent a good 2 decades of their lives in the same job. i don't think there can be anything more opposite to the vibrant, contemporary culture of corporate training.

The session in progress
The final presentation (non-evaluative) was a group task where we were supposed to create an session plan for a 2 day session outlining the instructional approaches we would use. The group comprised my room mate and 2 other fellows. They boys were least interested and i had to use some force to get them to do their part. What followed our presentation was the most fun. Some senior members of the class from the govt company raised serious objections at our presentation because it talked about brushing up grammar and vocabulary to improve communication. Even though it wasn't meant for them, they took offense at grammar being included in a presentation made before such a senior group. The professor was proactive in controlling the crowd. Though i was tempted to answer these gentlemen back, i resisted since i wasn't supposed to justify the contents of my presentation. And the professor was already there to talk to them. But thanks to this hullabaloo, we missed out on the professor's comments about our content!

The final presentation
All said and done, it was a proud moment to be certified by an IIM!

And Convocation!
What remain after the program, apart from the certification, are valuable insights learnt about training and HR. As a freelance trainer for 6 years, i am already at a time in my career where I want to do something more fulfilling. The visit to the IIM came at the right time driving home the point harder that training is indeed just a small function of HR. There are so many interesting and challenging allied functions which i never get involved in due to the nature of my work. So i have been involved in some thinking about the future course that my profession should take.

I think we lament when we are forced to be students in school/college but jump at every opportunity to become a student later in life!