The vision behind SAM that got the cogwheels rotating was the need for an event where students could freely interact with Alumni and gain from their wisdom. Until now, students were rarely given any chance to interact with their older and wiser counterparts. Alumni also had very few opportunities to give back to their Alma mater, usually limited to giving funding to their hostels, and had very little interaction with students at large. SAM’s goal was to introduce a number of Student Centric programs that allowed a large amount of networking and interaction among students and Alumni.
So after enormous amount of preparation, the event that promised so much to all involved kicked off on the cloudy late morning of the 24th of September. The arrival of the alumni marked the beginning of the first event of SAM, the ASMP Lunch. The ASMP – Alumni Student Mentorship program is another of SARC’s initiatives wherein alumni from all walks of life mentor students that harbour identical interests as them and want to pursue careers similar to their own. The Lunch provided the first opportunity for the mentors and the mentees to familiarise themselves with each other and develop a certain rapport amongst each other within an informal environment.
One of the highlights of SAM was the Beyond the Horizons interactive session. Held in the swanky, shiny new VMCC auditorium, the BTH featured alumni that have chosen careers that are radically different from the norm. In the face of peer, parental pressure and an uncertain future, they have chosen to follow their hearts and have risen to great heights. It featured eminent sports entrepreneur Saumil Majumdar, social activist Ravi kuchimanchi, and healthcare professionals Ankur Pegu and Sundeep Kapila. The students were exposed to possibilities and ideas hitherto unknown to them, allowing them “expand their horizons”. The aim of the event was allow students to gain from people who had trodden “the road not taken” and help them understand that even such unorthodox careers can lead to a happy and successful life. Wrapping up, the most important piece of advice of all from Mr. Majumdar, “If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, make sure your spouse is a rich person!”
With so many alumni together in one place, SARC decided to make good use of the sheer industrial horsepower in one place. The Industry Defined Problems is a novel idea which was pitched to the alumni in a short 45 minutes session. A short presentation introduced the basic idea, wherein industrial projects would be taken up by IIT students. Later, when the students complete the project and the industry finds their solution viable, they would be given monetary remuneration. Many problems regarding this idea were addressed, including how communication between students and the company would be carried out, how students would be chosen for these projects and how the research could be kept confidential. Finally it was decided that although the idea had a few kinks in the works, it could be definitely be a great way forward.
Taking advantage of the large amount of wisdom and experience that was gathered together in one place, SARC organised (Tete-a-Tete) Networking Sessions between students and alumni from different kind of sectors namely IT and Softwares, Finance and banking, Consultancy, and FMCG. These interactive sessions allowed students to ask sector specific questions and get a general feel of the current and future situation in each sector. From required resume points and skill sets, to the kind of work hours and lifestyle choices, all doubts were addressed by alumni that had “been there and seen it all”.
The final event on SAM’s itinerary, but arguably the most anticipated, was the Panel Discussion on the Role of Positions of Responsibilities (POR) in a student’s life. The panel was composed of eminent alumni such as Anip Sharma, Vardan Kabra and S.N.Vaidya. The faculty representative was Prof. Kundu. The students were represented by Jhonny Jha, Institute-Student Mentorship program Head. The panel stressed that academics are the most important fact of a student’s life, but POR’s are also useful since they teach students leadership and people skills, which are not learnt from the academic curricula. To quote Jhonny “Academics are the 1, and your extra-curricula’s are the zeros you put after that 1. Unless you have that 1, you have just a bunch of zeros.” After an hour of intense to and fro between the panellists, the session was opened to the students wherein they were allowed to question the panellists themselves. What followed was an intense interrogation of the panellists, and the discussion varied from which kinds of POR’s should be followed to even the recent motion by the government scrapping JEE! All in all, it proved to be a highly stimulating and thought provoking session.
The first edition of SAM proved to be a highly successful and well appreciated one. Many alumni applauded the vision and efforts put in to make this event a success.
“Wonderful opportunity to connect back with people, wish this grows in strength and depth of engagement in years to come” -Rino Raj-Alumnus IITB.
“A wonderful initiative and extremely well executed. I just wish we had these sessions when we were students here” -Harishwar Subramanium-Alumnus IITB
Many cheers to the SARC team for organising such an event and we are eagerly waiting for the next edition of SAM!!