Sunday, September 05, 2004

Some thoughts on social / alumni networking!

Attended the XLRI PGCBM meeting this evening at Hotel Raj Palace, T.Nagar. Lakshminarasimhan, Sandeep, Kannan and a few others from the Batch 1 had taken good efforts to get the whole lot together. Of course, of the 90, 23 turned up and that was a good number for starters.

In the couple of hours we spent together, the talk hovered around what is the objective of the group, why we should meet up and what can be done effectively as a group that's as heterogeneous as it can get. Well, the minutes of the meeting are, of course, for specific internal consumption but it sure did leave me thinking as to what is it that we achieve by meeting every once a while, apart from just spending some good time.

Being a student of management and being involved in the emerging growth story that is India, I have a few thoughts on what we can do to vitalise such meetings. Of course, these are, as always, to be taken up on an incremental basis so as to keep the involved group focused and being able to contribute significantly to the outcome. These activities are more towards the portion of 'What have you given back to the society that has given you the luxury of a management education?' These are exclusive of the portion 'What can I derive as benefit of having done an executive management course from a premium institute such as XLRI, Jamshedpur?'

1. Educate the corporates on the benefits of the Satellite-based higher education. Surely, with passage of time, it will become an important component of education that will save lots of travel, trouble and 'flesh-and-blood' driven education. The basic reason being as connectivity becomes more available and as more people become used to the virtual world (where your best friend is a flat dumb worker right in front of you - it gives you all the answers and contacts that you need most of the time and helps you with your business), the need to be constrained within a classroom that creates lot of overhead costs for the establishment, will drastically come down. Already, the adoption of this delivery mechanism by many universities for certificate courses as well as for MDPs is a sign that this mode of education is here to stay.

2. Identify ways by which technology advancements can be leveraged for mass education. IIT Kanpur has started an Info-thela project for healthcare education to the rural poor. We could have a special interest group that can try out this kind of an experiment, joining hands with both institutions in proximity as well as identifying corporate sponsors for such projects.

3. Take up case studies and presentations on very contemporary topics such as the 'Changing Face of Management Education' or 'Through the looking glass - how different will management be, in a wired world'?

4. Analyse ways by which the wired world gets familiar with XLRI's PGCBM. After all, we're some of the pioneering batches that have taken to this mode of education. Increasingly, I find that with the courses, the rigour too increases and I can see significant value-addition at my workplace, due to the education. So, how can we leverage the facilities and services available in the internet world to convey the value addition of the PGCBM.

Well, as of now, these remain prominent items on my wishlist and watch this space for updates on what's kicked off and what's not from this list.