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Monday, August 20, 2012

Life of A Rural Manager

What is unofficial tagline of Brand Rural Management Programme at XIMB : “We Try Harder”

A simple question is asked by an aspirant, “Why does anybody ever want XIMB-RM as first choice in admission ?”

Yes, we all know that “XIMB-RM is only No. 2.”

Yet the reply is simple: “We try harder in nurturing our budding rural manager because we have to make a point. It's always the second ranker who works harder and learns a lot more in the process.”

The origination of the answer is not to create a cute, gimmick, but instead it was – and is -- a business philosophy that every XIMB-RM students holds true. Each and every student of rural management knows that he must work harder and learn extensively than their counterparts. XIMB - RM focus on frank and truthful statements about our ranks and education philosophy. This institution is a Sangam (confluence) where we seek to find balance between mainstream business and development of people on margins.

As I write this, I'm enjoying cool breeze of Vagator beach, Goa with a chilled beer. Actually, that’s not the true case at all. I'm sitting in a small room with bare minimum facilities at Gajapati district during winter internship. I assumed before joining XIMB that I can handle the weather of Odisha. Rarely, it rains mildly with a romantic weather. Its always either a dull humid weather or heavy rains. Nothing weakens Superman like Green kryptonite, the humidity acts same way here draining all energy! For once, we can wish cool weather every day (yes dear XIMBians, We all love Bhubaneshwar weather :X)! To add to that rigour were other matters like bad food (very very important). We love cuisine like Night-mess ka roasted chicken to X-cafe ka garlic chicken soup.

Arbeit macht frei is a German phrase, literally "labour makes (you) free". The slogan is known for having been placed over the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust, but that should be put on the entrance of this place. Yes, life is not so cool here. Time is a scare commodity in this place. Yet, one can see endless usage of time in various activities. People still have the spirits to involve in various Committees, quizzes, games and X-Walks. But this is a thing about XIMB: you rarely get time for yourself. Even the whole 24 hours seems to be exhausting, tiring and even suicidal as it can sometimes get, I don't think any of us would want it any other way.

When Rural India wakes Up at 5:00 AM only then our rural managers stop their interactive chatting sessions and start dreaming of liberal days of graduation. 15 minutes before beginning of the class, get you Ass Up Fast is the call from the beloved lazy neighbor. Even then, 9 out of 10 Rural managers are firmly grounded on their bed. Such is the start of the day and the forecasting of whole saga of two years can be made on this start.

There are not only Intelligentsia, Devil's Advocate, Activist, Salesman and Social workers but also Mamas, Chachas, Night-Owls & Free-riders present in each batch. There are people here who provide a lot of joy whenever they leave the room. While one or two are such masterpiece while everybody was drinking from the fountain of knowledge they only gargled. Yes, there are superstars who gives solid evidence of halo effect. Some of ours species can even argue with a signpost but there is one with whom it's hard to believe he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm. I fall in the category of rural managers who set low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.

Before a layman goes on a trip, one may want to read more about the history, the people, the landscapes, and the present political and cultural situation of the destined place. That is the pedagogy of academics for rural manager. Donor Mentality, CSR activities, Development tourism, Caste based business, deep poverty, top down approach of government, rehabilitation policy etc ... we were mentored for two years to question authority and yet develop leadership traits.

Our alumni travel across India and are ease with corporate office as well as a tribal community in a remote region. That sets us apart from our colleagues in India. We have our internal conflicts like how we will integrate development (not sure what it meant then) with surging profits of the company. We know both about CK Prahlad and P Sainath. P Sainath who? A question that is asked too frequently from the rural managers.

And we learn in two years : For India, reality bites. But Lage Raho India ,dream on! Business Managers are good Hegelian. They have a good theory, forget about the reality. Hence, the author has chosen to become rural manager. Yes, saying golden words in the end, we all have a deep love for 'sustainable development' of all 'stakeholders'.

Notice: This was a draft written long ago treasured in archives of the blog for unknown reason. It's been like 8 months since I last wrote in one flow. I am throwing a glimpse of life of a rural manager tailored at XIMB.

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