Word Count: 1414 | Estimated time to read blog: 5 minutes
The boardroom of TAPMI, Manipal. Frantic discussions are on. The who’s-who of the Management are brainstorming, whatever that means to them.
“The coffers of the institute are suffering. At this rate, there will not be a penny left”, a member of the faculty, always in the habit of overstating the obvious, pointed out.
“Now who doesn’t know that amma? You are Ph.D no amma? That’s the problem with you amma, you must think amma. Think”, mocked the little man at the head of the table, barely visible over it.
“But in my opinion, we must all first answer a more important question: Why IT?” averred another, whose repertoire of questions was limited to the one above.
“This isn’t an IT related issue. This is about money and financial matters. I can write a 20 page document in Arial font size 8 and 0.5 line spacing to convince you. And it will be purely analysis – no gas”, came the counter reaction.
“Who said gas? My antenna picked it up. And don’t talk complicated things. Let’s all hold hands, form a circle, close our eyes and breathe deeply for 5 min. That should give us an answer”.
“How about implementing six-sigma together with 5S? We can also hire Juran as a consultant… I mean…”
“Nooooooo. This is not on. We need more FEEDBACK!”
“I can start (swish) French classes (swish) for the current (swish) batches during their (swish) free time and (swish) that could possibly (swish) help” retorted another lady, swishing back her hair with a jerk of her head.
“Hahaha. But the probability of the current batches having free time is 0. You don’t need to have a Beautiful Mind to realize that”, replied an overweight man in white pants from the other end of the table who was till now staring at the upper corner of the wall and smiling.”
“You are all wrong amma, all wrong”, interrupted the little man from almost underneath the table. He then jumped off his chair and started walking sideward, lost in thought.
“I first thought we will buy all the hardly-watched movies, like Manthan, that are rotting with producers and show it in our auditorium. Since we have made it compulsory, we can charge admission. But I just got a better idea!” he declared.
“What is that????” asked everyone in unanimous delight. Well, almost unanimous because the man in white pants had resumed his conversation with the corner of the wall.
“We will start Grand Scam!” and he rattled off the details. Everyone heard it with rapt attention and whole-heartedly agreed to the concept.
“Finally we have a consensus and in a very short time at that. That’s great. What shall I do with all the spare time? Ah! I’ll make it rain in my class tomorrow, hee hee”, smirked a prof from behind his red-rimmed glasses.
Thus was born the great Grand Scam, which is now an annual ritual. In order to ensure that the student populace received it with joy and enthusiasm, the management decided to market it cleverly to the students- by making it compulsory and attaching heavy credits to it. Inadvertently, it also helped another professor in gathering all the material for his class as otherwise his entire course could be wrapped up in one class. He now supplements his course with real life Grand Scam examples and manages for the remaining 29 classes. 😉
Circa 2007. The Grand Scam has become an enormously popular program not only with the institute’s management but also the students and local junta alike. Even the rain gods heard all the hype and decided to peep in last year.
The seeds for the Grand Scam are sown very early. The senie teams that are associated with the various aspects of the event select a few from the junie batch. Once this team is ready, they manage to dupe/tire/irritate 15 companies over phone and then send a mail inviting interested people from the batch to lead these companies in achieving their objectives. These interested people are no ordinary mortals – they are the future Ambanis, Nooyis, Tatas and Birlas – or that is what they are made to believe.
Once they bite the bait and enroll, a rigorous mock drill is conducted after which 15 Project Leaders (PLs) are finalized. They will lead the 15 companies to whatever enlightenment there is to be had. (But I am told companies are getting wiser and this year there are hardly 5 companies that are seeking enlightenment. The last year’s website is still not taken offline, perhaps as a memory of the good old times, huh? But hey, that’s beside the point!) Each PL then goes around looking for a 4 member LSG – Leader Support Group. Because ultimately, when the PL wants to transfer the blame, there has to be someone to dump it on. And having 4 members mitigates the risk considerable because even if 3 act smart, there is still one the PL can always rely on.
The rest of the students, both junies and senies, are randomly distributed – with the good looking chicks all piled up in the team of the PL who knows some committee members really well. And of course the love birds of the batch are not separated. But mind you, it’s all random and it’s not in anyone’s hands about who goes where. And you can always find trends in any given set of statistical data. There are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics, haven’t you heard of it?
On the D-day, the stalls are up and the stage is live with one event after another. The emergence of an occasional loggie from under the stage is not to be mistaken as an event – he just woke up after the sleep induced by his last night’s diet and is now ready for today’s. The visitors enter the stalls and by the end of the day, (s)he would have recounted 4 underwear brands for shooting an arrow, rattled off 4 radial tyre brands for jumping through a hoop and vouched allegiance to a particular brand of cigarettes for unsettling plastic bottles with a tender coconut. Diligent LSGs would have conscientiously noted these responses and replicated it a couple of times to fill up the survey sheet. These are the Misguided Games and intended to tap the hidden psyche of the consumer. Since it is ‘hidden’ there is no way anyone can disprove the findings of the research –no, not even the consumer 😉 And if the visitor is tired after all these games, there is always variety entertainment program by a few talented Brothers, on the stage. Right from making the family kid dance to crooning the latest popular Bollywood numbers, the Brothers have one class-act after another lined up in their orchestra.
The management lessons that are obtained from the event are priceless. For once, you really get a hands-on experience in managing material – gum, cardboard, cloth, paint and other unmanageable items that even Papa Drucker wouldn’t have dared to mention. The time management skill of most of the guys improves drastically during these few days and they learn to prioritize. So instead of attending classes, they are busy setting up the tent, burning thermocol or making up for lost sleep. Communication skills also sky-rocket as one realizes that an infallible way to communicate clearly is to stand above the subject and scream over his head. The chances of miscommunication are ruled out. And most importantly, lessons in people management are practiced effectively by threatening or bribing –one of which always works. So at the end of it all, one has trained oneself in the various nuances of management and has become a ‘wealth creator’ – for the institute. 😉
But now that I am out of the institute, I think I can make use of all the invaluable experience I gained from 2 Grand Scams and create some wealth for myself. Please read my ad by clicking here and let me know if you are interested in using any of my innovative ideas. My prices are very minimal and dwarf in comparison to the large benefit that you will derive out of it. What is the large benefit you ask? C’mon, you are going to be talked about by a marketing prof for a full 29 classes! Where on earth can you get 2030 minutes of free, uninterrupted publicity?? 😛
Disclaimer: The above narrative is entirely my opinion and events, roles and incidents are exaggerated for the sake of bringing in humor. This entry is NOT factual and any inconvenience to associated parties or otherwise is purely unintentional. [Hriday]