Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Day XL Ran...

XL Dream Run (Nov 16, '08)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"XL Dream Run" (Nov 16th, '08) - A Curtain-Raiser

"XL Dream Run" curtain-raiser is up on Youtube

... thanks to the amazingly creative work by Mayur Bhutani & Varun Gulati (09BMD batch)

XL Dream Run (Nov 16th, 2008)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Celebrating Diwali - XL style

Diwali was coming after 3 years for me...the previous two years I was as far from Diwali as possible. I was in US and people don't celebrate Diwali there (atleast the part of the world where I haunted).

So I were doubly excited for the Diwali celebrations this year. Here in XLRI, the profs had organized a get-together of the students in the huge lawn outside the GMP hostel. Apart from that, they had also invited us to their residences. It was really good to see the profs and the students (BM, PM&IR, GMP, DGMP, FPM) together. It was followed by bursting crackers which continued for over two hours.

Finally, at 11:30pm, there was an Antakshari hosted where many teams participated and every team had a prof with them.

Overall, it was a cracking Diwali and a cherished experience.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Of The Entrepreneurs and The Runners

Part- I: Of The Entrepreneurs

"We were young, but we had good advice and good ideas and lots of enthusiasm."

And, in the end, that is what counts. Making a start, taking a shot at something, steeling yourself to take a course few do, and being willing enough to take the outcome. Such people become classified entrepreneurs, and, some of them even go on to make history. Like the man who gave us that first line, a certain Mr. Bill Gates.

Often, of B-schools we complain that the students are taught to become too structured, that while they teach leadership, they take away initiative, that B-schools produce functionaries, not businessmen. That the students come out unwilling to take risks and do something new, but willing to shape themselves to a format. Fortunately that is not always true. There are a slew of those who are willing to do something new, and here at XLRI, there are some who are willing not just to do something different, they are willing to do something different, with a difference. Yes we are talking social entrepreneurship. There are people who are willing to invest their time and money in ventures to benefit the society as a whole, and they have, as Mr. Gates points out above, some good ideas, some good advice and a lot of enthusiasm. And now, it is for us to support them.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, let the drum rolls sound, lift the curtains and let the spotlights be firmly fixed on The XLRI Social Entrepreneurship Trust. For sixty years now, XLRI has been producing managers with a social conscious, in accordance with its mission, and in keeping with those values, the trust was formed in 2008 with an aim to encourage and support “entrepreneurship with a social cause” among the XLRI students, alumni and community.
Besides training and incubation facilities for budding entrepreneurs, one of the key activities undertaken by the trust is to mobilize funds to support new social entrepreneurship ventures. Even now, the trust is currently funding three projects- Parichay, Swavalamban and Dream4Others- with contributions from the XLRI alumni of the batch of ’81 and from the XLRI Alumni Association (Jamshedpur Chapter).

Part-II: And of Those Who Run

There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be. -George Sheehan

The act of running has many times been compared to, even equated to setting your soul free. Like Steve Prefontaine said, he did not run to see who was the fasted, but to see who had the most guts. You ask runners why they run, and much like Sheehan above, they will often reply that they run to find out who they are. Much like entrepreneurs, people who are willing to chase their dreams. And so, it is fitting that XLRI is running for a mission that supports entrepreneurship. The XL Dream Run, organized by CII Young Indians-XLRI Chapter, XLANC, The XLRI Alumni Association and Sportscomm, is scheduled for November 16th, 2008, to coincide with the alumni homecoming, nearly 250 XLers, both students and faculty, have already registered for the run to support a cause they hold dear to their hearts. It is a four kilometer run, to spread awareness about the cause of the XLRI Social Entrepreneurship Trust.

Thomas Crown advises us about fundraisers- “I just go up to the stage, wave my hands vaguely and cry-“help! help!!”. The Dream Run is doing rather more than that. It is 250 XLers giving all they have across a four mile stretch to drag your attention to a cause that needs espousing. And we sincerely hope that you are going to come through and do the best you can. Donations to the trust are welcome, from all XLers and non-XLers; we are sure you all understand the gravity of the cause and its worthiness. You can contribute online directly to the trust account, send in cheques or even donate via PayPal. In return, we can probably offer you nothing but the satisfaction of having contributed to something you believe in, and the pride of having your name displayed on the website in the list of donors. And of course, the gratitude of the budding entrepreneurs whose ventures your money will be used to fund, and those people who will be benefited by these ventures.

A runner runs against himself, against the best that's in him. […] That's the way to be great, running against yourself. Against all the rotten mess in the world. Against God, if you’re good enough. -Bill Persons

P.S. Kim appeals for the DreamRun here, while Gautam Ghosh writes about it here.
I write more about jogging@XL here, here and here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Of Adventure, Love and Rain

Anupam has an interesting experience during his adventure trip:

Had gone to the adventure camp this weekend.It was a gr8 trip filled with amazing fun and loads of unforgettable experiences.But this particular incident needs immortality , therefore I have decided to pen it down.
Read more about it.

Meanwhile, Amitabh waxes eloquent about a certain girl he is in love with.

During the very first few days ...Like you see a girl .. beautiful, smart and so intelligent that everyone seems to be eating out of her hands. You being the ordinary guy .. look at her in once in a while and try to console yourself by concentrating on some other stuff. The time goes by .. she is too good, you don't stand a chance and you remain the invisible guy that you are .. at least to her.
Who's the girl?

Jade is also in love. With the rain in XL.

How I shall miss Jamshedpur weather. I must have said this many times on this blog before, but I just can't get over it, so I'll just say it again - it rains in Jamshedpur all the freakin' time! It's amazing. And it makes for excellent moods, despite quizzes and submissions.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

CEO Forum - Mr. C.D. Kamath, MD, Tata Refractories Limited

The calender read 08-08-2008. This was a date deemed to be auspicious for our neighbours on the other side of the wall. When the whole world was staring at China with abated breath for the opening ceremony of the Olympics Games, XLRI had more than one reason to do the same. And we meant business...

It was on this very day Prof. Sharad Sharin had invited Mr. C.D. Kamath, the MD of Tata Refractories Limited (TRL) to share his experiences of "doing business with China". Mr. Kamath took the opportunity to enthrall the audience with his experiences in delaing with the Chinese. It was interesting to note that TRL is the first TATA Group organization to set a green-field plant in China from scratch and that too in less than a year. The talk revolved on the topic that China and India were almost at par in the early 1950s, however, it have sprinted well ahead of us in the last five decades. They opened up their economy years before the Indians did. But the very fact that 'Economics drive Politics in China and not the other way round' drove the nail on the head. Mr. Kamath touched a variety of subjects like land and labour reforms in China, about how they are so much receptive of FDIs and so on.

The audience was very appreciative of the talk and I am sure we will get many more opportunities to interact with eminent personalities like Mr. Kamath.


Short Profile of Mr. Kamath: He obtained the Degree of B.Tech. (Metallurgy) from IIT Madras in 1966. Subsequently, he joined Tata Steel as
Graduate Trainee and thereafter moved through various disciplines such as Steel Melting Shop Operations, Refractory
Maintenance and Production Operations, Iron Making and Sinter Operations and Technical Services. He functioned as
the Profit Centre Head for the Rings and Agrico Division of Tata Steel. He initiated the Total Quality Management activities
in Tata Steel. Overall, he worked for Tata Steel for a period of 31 years.

He was the Chairman of Indian Refractory Makers Association (IRMA) for the period 2000-02 and organized IREFCON 2002.

He has also been the recipient of the National Metallurgist Award from Government of India.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

XLRI GMP Softskills Development Series - Resume Writing

"Is your resume good?", when this question was posed to a group of GMPians almost everyone nodded. But the response to the question "Is your resume good enough?" received a much muted response.
When asked "How often do you update your resume? ". The answers were to the tune of "...every six months.." or " and when I acquire a new skill.." or even "..whenever my assignment is over..". Such answers are not suprising from a bunch of professionals who have served industries for for over five years. Since matter and anti-matter go together, since constructive and destructive forces go hand in hand, we decided to rip some resumes apart. The observations were startling.
The problem was not with the resumes but the way they have been worded. The conclusion was that there is a very thin line between what a candidate has and what the industry expects from him. And GMPians decided to be on the right side of it.

Since there is never a wrong time to do the right thing, we decided to conduct a "resume writing" workshop. And we decided to get expert help in resolving our skills. So, we approached Prof. Jittu Singh and he gladly agreed.

In an hour long interactive talk, we learnt the nuances of a good resume. There were a lot of ideas flowing back and forth and at the end it was a fruitful excercise. As the workshop was coming to a close, I recalled a thought of Alvin Toffler, the great futurist and author of books like The Third Wave, Powershift, Future Shock, etc.He had said "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

CEO Forum - Mr. Anshu Gupta, CEO, Goonj, a Delhi based NGO

This was the first time I was listening to a CEO, other than the CEO of the organization I had worked for. Even the latter was a very rare event. But this time, it was different, not only the theme but the mission as well. He was there not to talk about toplines and bottomlines but life-lines.

Today, I got an opportunity to attend to a talk by Mr. Anshu Gupta, founder of Goonj, a Delhi based NGO. This was the first of the series of the CEO talks lined up for the session and I must confess, it was a memorable beginning. When toplines and bottomlines are the only two things that take up most of the time of the CEOs, it was really refreshing to learn that there are people with a vision who are determined to make a difference to the people who are deprived.

We care about donations only after a calamity or a disaster. And I have seen that myself. After floods, famines and tsunamis we always find generous souls donating for the those affected. But, according to Mr. Gupta, the root of the problems lie there. We think of the people who have under previledged or downtrodren only in the wake of a crisis. The other problem is that we all give what we don't require and not what the people needs. Hence, there is always a gap between the problem and the solution. Goonj is trying to bridge this divide.

With Anshu Gupta's talk, we also inaugurated the:

The next CEO lecture is on 8th August. The speaker is Mr. C. D. Kamath, the MD of Tata Refractories Limited. He would be speaking on "Doing Business in China".

More Coverages: The Telegraph , Businessworld Sify News/PTI

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Meri Jaan

Meri Jaan…

Great music…wonderful friends… laughter and goodwill…

When you just look around and wonder if it gets any better.

And then it does.

A wave of memories, a twinge of sadness…and a whole lot of pride…

A whole year in XLRI and I could never figure out why my seniors swayed to this one song with such abandon. I mean, it’s a song.

It’s also a legacy. It caught me unawares. But I sang with all my heart, meaning every word, cherishing every beat, holding on to the others, entranced like me. But it’s more than that. How many Xlers in the past connected over the same song? How many memories could a few notes evoke, differing in time but identical in spirit?

Such passion, such zest for an institution, for everything it stands for, for the times spent here and the times to come. Such respect for everyone I have known here and for all that they did and they are doing to give back, to make things that much better for the next lot.

So cheers to us…Each and every one of the faculty, batchmates, my seniors, my juniors and XLers all over. A toast to the good times, the not so good times, the friends, the learning and the unlearning. To XL!

Meri jaan…meri jaan…

- Harsha Khubchandani, BM '09

Friday, July 25, 2008

XLRI GMP students visit Uranium mines at Narwapahar

As a part of industry-institute interaction, the one year General Management Program at XLRI visited the Uranium mines of UCIL at Narwapahar, some 28 km from Jamshedpur on July 11, 2008. The session started with a brief introduction about UCIL, how the organization is at the forefront of Indian Nuclear program and how the safety of the miners is given a top priority.

It was followed by a half an hour video on how Narwapahan mines is at the forefront of technology. It is one of the most modern trackless mine in the country with a decline (7 degrees) to underground and ramp accesses to the slopes. The use of large diesel powered underground equipment results in high productivity, eliminating fatigue of workmen and provide good working environment. Respirators, ear-muffs, safety goggles are used by workers as protection against harmful exposures. Rubber aprons, gloves, helmets and gumboots are used by persons handling toxic materials and final product. Noise levels of different machinery are reduced by many engineering control measures. The presence of students who had significant work experience (greater than 5 years) at Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited made the discussion livelier. It was however sad to note that India is not blessed with sufficient Uranium and that the percentage of Uranium in the ore is only 0.065% approximately compared to close to 16% in mines of France and Canada.

This video session was followed by a visit to the Uranium mines. The visitors were given adequate protective gears which included knee-high rubber shoes, helmets and battery operated torches. They were led by an instructor who answered the numerous questions raised by the students. After descending down with the help of a cage, the first destination was at 295 m below the surface of the earth. The students were fascinated to see the tunnels and the illumination and the safety features present in the mines. There were heavy vehicles carrying ores and debris from one part of the mine to another. The instructor explained how the ore is transported for refinement from one point to another.

The next point was at 350 m below the surface. At this point, there were unmanned conveyor belts collecting the ore and transporting it to the crushing unit. After three stages of crushing, the ore undergoes two stages of wet grinding. The slurry thus obtained in then leached for dissolution of Uranium. The leached slurry is filtered to obtain liquid Uranium. The liquid is then precipitated from the concentrated liquor to form Magnesium Di-Uranate or “Yellow Cake”. This is the final product of Narwapahar mines. The students were awestruck by the fact that most of the operations were automated and that all these runs smoothly many meters below the surface of the earth.

The questions still followed. They ranged from Supply Chain Management, process control, maintaining high morale among the miners, Corporate Social Responsibility, safety of miners and the people who live in the nearby villages from radioactivity and so on. The students left the UCIL campus with a feeling that India would become a self reliant Nuclear power some day.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Virtual Tour through XL Campus

While much is written about XL culture, bonding, activities, achievements, placements, rankings, etc, nothing much is online about the XL Campus...

A big gap, since XL Campus has changed over last 10 - no, 5- no,actually even last 1 year or so...

To fill up this gap, here is a Virtual Tour through XLRI Campus
(Note: you can manage the slide transition by taking the curser to the bottom of the photo)