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PGPM at SPJIMR has a one credit course on Gita Shibir. When I first heard about this, I was puzzled – What a course in spirituality has to do with the management studies? My aim is to become an effective manager, at least I thought so.

But all my doubts, queries and concerns were resolved by our Dean, Dr Shrikant. The PGPM course at SPJIMR is designed to enrich our Intelligence Quotient (IQ – Head), Emotional Quotient (EQ – Heart) and Spiritual Quotient (SQ – Guts). In an introductory session on Gita Shibir, Dr Shrikant explained that in any management course, we study subjects like Financial Accounting though our aim is not to become a Chartered Accountant. We also study Business Law though our aim is not to become a lawyer. Similarly, we have this course on Gita Shibir, but our aim is not to become a sanyasi or a saint. This course on Gita Shibir helps us apply the spiritual learning from ancient Indian scriptures to our personal and corporate life. It intends to provide us with a value based growth that can transform us into better intuitive managers. In the introductory sessions by Dr Shrikant, I appreciated the fact that Gita Shibir is not about a particular religion. It is about the core concepts of spirituality which are applicable to humanity at large, irrespective of religion, caste, creed, language, country or any other differences. I also realized that these spiritual concepts make a good logical sense too and I developed a liking for this subject. I was now really looking forward to the three days of Gita Shibir session with Swami Viditatmanandji.

The three days with Swami Viditatmanandji endowed us with many pearls of knowledge and wisdom. There is a lot to learn from Geeta and it can not be summarized in a paragraph, but I would like to mention some key take aways from the session:

  • We relate success only with external achievements such as wealth, power, name, and fame but in the process neglect the inner happiness. Inner happiness comes with emotional maturity which includes values such as kindness, compassion, honesty, ability to forgive others, charity, etc.
  • Every relationship should be valued, nurtured and nourished. In any relationship, think what we can do for others and not what others can do for you.
  • Happiness is a state of mind, a measure of adequacy. Happiness should be measured in terms of freedom, self-satisfaction and self-sufficiency and not in terms of fulfillment of desires. One needs to practice adequacy to achieve it. I remember Swamiji saying “Fake it till you make it” which means you fake being an adequate person (generous, kind, and selfless) till you actually reach there. When you practice adequacy it will automatically come to you sooner or later. Always feel that you are a giver or a contributor and one day you will actually be one. The aim in life is to be a net contributor/giver and not a net consumer/grabber.
  • Unlike all other beings on earth, human beings have a free will, a freedom to make a choice. It is possible that we may misuse this freedom. We must understand that what we do has an effect on the rest of the universe because elements of the universe are interconnected. We are a part of the organic whole. The interconnected elements act in harmony with the universe. They do not compete, but co-operate with each other. So we should also behave responsibly and perform our actions in harmony with this interconnectedness.
  • Every action/endeavour is a calculated risk. But we cannot determine the exact outcome based on our limited knowledge. So we must put in our best efforts and be ready to gracefully accept the outcome. Our actions are totally in our control, but the outcome is not. So it is important that we judge ourselves based on our efforts and not based on the outcome. This will enable us to take both success and failure with humility which will help us reduce stress, relax, enjoy and be happy.
  • Anger is a result of failed expectations. Just as a matchstick burns itself first before it burns something else, anger burns us first before it affects others. To be free from anger, we should reduce expectations, accept the world and be compassionate.

I don’t know whether it was the energy level or the Aura of Swamiji, but during these three days, the average spirituality quotient of our entire batch seemed to be on a higher level. This was evident from the level of highly philosophical as well as practical questions that we asked during our interaction sessions. Swamiji’s answers to most of these questions provided us with wonderful insights and a different perspective of looking at things.

We all know that to be a successful person requires three things – Knowledge, Skill and Attitude (KSA). After attending the Gita Shibir, I have recognized that the PGPM course at SPJIMR is both comprehensive and complete as it focuses not only on Knowledge and Skills but also on the Attitude aspect of KSA.

-Posted by Reuben (PGPM class of 2010)

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Valentine’s Day
February 14 2010

Morning 05:30

As the date of this PGPM 2010 blog log tells, our Personal Growth journey began on Valentine’s Day.  A 3 day stint at Garudmachi was the plan. The journey began at an unearthly hour – 5:30 in the morning! But we were excited, our Foundation Course End Term exams had just concluded.

We had all chosen Nature as our valentine and were wondering how we would spend our time. Everyone seemed curious about the course of the program. How and what will we learn, I wondered, when all we were looking forward to was a break from the regular rigour. Dr. Mala Kapadia and Dr. Kieth D’Souza hopefully had some solid plans to turn this around. Dr. Debasis Malik also went with us as a faculty member.

We reached Garudmachi around 11:00 Hrs. Our tents were waiting for us. There were three sets of tents located on different parts of the estate. We formed our groups, parked our bags in the tents and came straight back to the hall from where we had dispersed. A quick download on the rules and then the group was divided into two. One group was taken by Dr. Mala Kapadia and the other by Dr. Keith D’Souza.

Our self-exploratory journey began with an introduction before we systematically delved deeper into our minds with psychometric tests. The outcome was a better understanding of my strengths and weaknesses and of how others perceive me. We played an interesting game loosely based on the concept of ‘survival of the fittest’. Our lives were in handkerchiefs loosely tailed to each of us. If your handkerchief was taken by another, it meant you had lost. With the whistle the game commenced. Some ran helter-skelter, some sat down, some backed up against the wall… ‘literally’ to save their tail :P. The response was amazingly different in nature but the one thing that clearly came was ‘we do not have to take other’s life to protect ours’.  While most of us were intuitively understood this, in our actions we were more instinctive (in a Neanderthal sense) and that is what we reflected upon, realized and internalized.

All that we had discovered was hard to contain. The only resort for me and everyone else was to share and that helped us understand things better. After dinner and music we dispersed. I don’t remember when I went to sleep. I just remember a very thought provoking day came to an end with a final round of discussion among tent mates.

February 15, 2010

We began the following day with meditation and reflected upon day one. It’s a nice way to learn from your experiences and a perfect way to start a class with all our energies aligned and directed inward. Day two had more psychometric tools in store. Doing the test first with our limited knowledge and then understanding the implications of the results with the help of theory is how we went about it. Today the focus was on Emotional Intelligence. We learnt the importance of sharing thoughts and how it forms the basis of all relationships. Post lunch we were given a role play assignment. The theme was application of emotional intelligence in a real life situation. The uniqueness of each act was in itself an acknowledgement of the enormous applicability of our learnings. As the Sun set we meditated and reflected on the events of the day before Prof. Mala made us sway to soulful music. All the negative energies just seeped out of us.

It is said that the eternal goal of every human being is to be happy with one-self. The activities at PG lab were snapping into place deep rooted disconnects within us, slowly bringing us in sync with ourselves. The happiness as a consequence was evident in the glowing faces.

February 16, 2010

Trek and Assault
By the time I realized I am awake I was already in the bus going for the trekking. The trek started after a 15 Km bus ride. It was a first time experience for many of us. We navigated our way to the peak, diligently following instructions from our guides. Helping each other, talking to each other, shutter bugs snapping away, captivated by the natural beauty spread in abundance before us and at the back of all of this, probably learning. The view from the top was amazing! One of the best sights I have seen in the recent times. Reaching the peak was an achievement. Coming down from there was difficult, more so than going up. Tripping would have sent you rolling downhill. All in all, it was not the destination but the journey which we enjoyed.

Trekking or Flying

A quick power nap after lunch and we were ready for the Assault exercise. There were six tasks to be completed in as little time as possible. The tasks demanded team work and strategy to achieve results. There was no right or wrong strategy, the point was to decide a strategy and execute it. Though many of the tasks needed smart strategy the focus again was to evolve to that strategy. Each group managed to complete the Assault exercise. The take away – a hard lesson on Group Dynamics. How people choose roles in a group and how the outcome depends on the role played by each members. When you know a concept and then see it happening in real life, the understanding of the subject matter just shoots up (As we say it @ SPJIMR – you internalize it). A realization to contribute positively in a group was certainly there at the end. The day ended with a bonfire dinner. We had our dinner and then got lost somewhere in the flowing music played by our musically gifted batch mates.

A-Frame

February  17, 2010

Last leg of the journey
We meditated and reflected on everything that had passed and then took a printout of our reflections in the form of notes and drawings. I had never imagined that I would be associated with drawing in my life. But here I was about to make a drawing of my learning’s in the past three days, excited like a kid. Each team first analysed the results of personal assessments and then made a pictorial representation of their learning’s before sharing it with all participants.

Batch of PGPM609

All had achieved, all had learnt, all had discovered something new about themselves. This is was the crux of it all, make life a PG Lab. Grow everyday and through everything you strive to do. Do not just reach there but realize the achievement. Learn and reflect on everyday experiences. All in all ‘Don’t come back, stay at PG Lab’.

-Posted by Vikas Shrivastava (PGPM class of 2010)

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Shivam Says:

The first week in college after a long hiatus in corporate life was expected to be different. Laden with books and laptops alike, we were prepared for a long grind ahead. No one knew what lied beneath.  As a proverbial twist in the tale, PGPM students were asked to participate in the 26th Jan celebrations. The theme was the significance of republic day in our lives and what it meant to all of us.
The buzz of being on stage (after quite some time) was there to be seen in the class. This was the real college life that we were all missing in our air-conditioned cubicles (people even likened it to Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar stage performances from Aamir and co). Ideas were pouring in from everywhere as each one had something to add. Perhaps the exuberance of the whole batch was coming to the fore. With great difficulty (thanks to the deluge of suggestions – some passionate and some not so), we managed to zero in on performing a series of skits on bravery and musical humming.
Lucky we were to be blessed with a fine pair of guitarists who helped conceptualise the musical show. The idea was to create nostalgia from the old and foregone Doordarshan days by humming the title tune of Surabhi – the popular cultural show of yesteryears. As we stretched our vocal chords we realised there was a lot of rust to be dusted off. Thus began our first assignment @SPJIMR. Late night practices were the order of the in search of that elusive perfect synchronisation. To add to it we only had about a week’s time.
Meanwhile the skit was being simultaneously prepared with our star performers (pun intended) enacting the previous year young brave hearts. With all the last minute preparations (not to mention changes in plans) and numerous takes and retakes we were all set for our maiden performance in the auditorium.
The D-day began on a resounding note with the National Anthem being sung. The atmosphere in the auditorium was electrifying and as we undertook our performances all of us had only one thought- “College Life We are here to welcome thee with open arms”.

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Kosha Says:

On 24th January 2010, Gopal approached me in his unmatched style and asked “Will you play the role of 12 year old child bride?”  I started thinking of all the reasons so as to escape the ordeal! Finally, Gopal’s persuasiveness won and I accepted the role. Yes, I am talking about PGPM participation in Republic day -2010 at SPJIMR.
Republic day signifies sovereign and secular republic of India. Hence, republic day event needs to be significantly different than that of Independence Day, like it should highlight the unique aspects of Republic and not just patriotism.  Aditya (Republic Day CEO 😉 ) came up with an interesting idea of a skit depicting the courage displayed by children, who were honoured on republic day for their bravery acts in different sphere of society.   Other performance was ‘OPUS’, a musical act performed by our talented Guitarist Rahul and Gopal along with a group of 15 singers.  We had a very short time to practise, but we managed to perform JIT (just in time).  We also received valuable guidance from Uma madam on concepts and improvisations.
Finally, the D-day (or shall I say R-Day) arrived. We began with a quick round of OPUS practice at Bistro and then proceeded for flag hoisting. It reminded of good old school days. We saluted Indian flag with respect, awe and wonder. Yes, we celebrated 60 years of our republic! I felt that in spite of all the chaos, India works and it is truly incredible! Some of us also felt butterflies in our stomach about the upcoming stage performance.
Our act started with narration of the theme.  First bravery act depicted Afsana Khatun, a 12 year old girl who fought with the society and did not allow anyone to conduct her marriage.  While we had many mishaps during practice sessions, ranging from complete script change to main characters forgetting their dialogues, the actual act was smooth and powerful. Soumya (the Commissioner) managed not to laugh and I managed not to confuse my name between Afsana and Shabana!
Second bravery act was about a brave boy named Gaurav Singh Saini, who saved many lives during Nanda-devi land sliding and stampede in spite of his personal loss in the accident. With his optimistic smile, innocent face and sparkling eyes, Reuben was just flawless in his role as Gaurav Singh Saini. The team’s efforts depicting a land slide created good drama with dialogues like ‘Bhago!! Bhoo-skhalan’ and with great acoustic effects.
Then came the OPUS.  During the rehearsals, our voices were tangential to Guitar’s tune but the practice did make us little bit perfect. Especially, few of us like Sachin and Soumya were instrumental in maintaining the symphony.  The actual event created a pristine and serene environment with our clothes depicting Indian flags and our voice celebrating the spirit of India. Candles enhanced the overall ambience.  OPUS was short but our sweet melody 
What I admired the most was the support and presence of PGPM class during the event.  We were together just for a last 11 days but still we could feel synergy, shred off inhibition and bring out creativity, which in turn strengthened our shared identity of ‘PGPM609’.

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Samarjit Says:

After the first week of getting into the grill of an MBA course we were once again confronted with the omnipresent word in today’s corporate world i.e. tight timelines. To give a twist we were given just 3 days to come up with the concept s of anything aesthetic and perform it on 26th Jan before the SPJIMR family.
This looked challenging given the regular 9 to 6.30 schedule that we had to follow daily, not to forget the assignments that kept pouring in. But then once we all put our minds together, nice ideas came out and people volunteered to execute those ideas. one could see cohesion building among the PGPM batch students even when people were yet to know each other’s names. Soon two events were finalised, which were to be performed by PGPM participants. A musical chorus and a skit. So the night long practise sessions started, which gave all of us a glimpse of time management in a B-school, as we had to juggle between regular classes and practise sessions.
The initial practise session of the chorus proved to be a hilarious affair due to mismatch between scale of singers within themselves and with the guitarists. But soon, the sync was established. The skit also enabled our batch mates to discover a hidden actor within themselves.
The Republic day started with flag hoisting and singing of the national anthem. The whole PGPM junta was looking very ethnic in their bright kurtas. The musical chorus named Opus (musical congruence) proved to be a treat to the ears of the audience. With all the singers and guitarists in kurtas, the group made a formation that represented the Indian National Flag. Since the song was based on the classic ‘Surabhi’ Musical it induced some nostalgic feeling among the audience. Sur- sangam ended with crowd screaming ‘we want more’. The theme of the skit (the brave hearts of India) had already created some excitement for the event co-ordinator at the time of its approval. The act was based on the courage and bravery displayed by the kids, who were honoured by the president of India. The enactment was very difficult to replicate but the talented actors went far beyond expectations and received a huge round of applause.
Overall the entire event proved to be nice ice breaker for all the PGPM participants who had arrived in the SPJIMR campus hardly a few days back i.e. on Jan 14th.

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