By Satyameet Ahuja

All of us have heard of a big fat Indian wedding.

This is a brief overview on a Big Fat Indian orientation. The orientation was suitably fat as 46 of the brightest minds in India came together under one roof, to pursue their lifetime aspiration of doing a MBA from a world-class business School.

We at Schulich School of Business love to start with a bang and our new cohort is still wondering where the four days of orientation and 31 hours of a carefully designed itinerary went.

Each day had a different theme:

Day 1 – Day of Information

Day 2 – Day for Others

Day 3 – Day of Health

Day 4 – Day of Leadership

Day 1 – Day of INFORMATION

The orientation week kick started with some mouth-watering breakfast dishes to ensure Schuligans energy levels were high and they are equipped to absorb all the necessary information required to succeed at Schulich.

We covered a range of important student topics on academic and career planning, student resources, academic honesty and ended the session with a phenomenal address by our Executive Director Professor V. Raghunathan on the difference between risk, uncertainty, luck and unpredictability.

An academician, columnist, author, CEO, Professor Raghunathan’s quick wit and deep intellect left the students high spirited and soaked with enthusiasm.

It did not take long for students to understand why he was featured in the Top 50 Global Indian Management Thinkers list and why one of his students – Mr. Raghuram Rajan has risen to become the 23rd Governor of Reserve Bank of India (India’s central banking institution).

(Professor Raghunathan addressing students at orientation

(Above: Prof. V. Raghunathan’s address to the class)

Day 2 – Day for OTHERS

At Schulich, the spirit of triple bottom line and responsible capitalism can be felt in the air. If we truly stand for it, we need to radiate this message and feeling as early as possible.

At our Hyderabad campus, this meant waking up at 5 AM on day 2 and driving out for 3 hours to the City of Warangal to meet the CEO of a phenomenal NGO – Balavikasa.

The CEO delivered a two-hour presentation on sustainable grass roots interventions in the field of Clean Water, Sanitation, Food Security, Health and Women Empowerment.

=The theme of his presentation was to highlight the other side of India and show how rural development can be effective if meticulously planned and patiently executed.

He did not stop there. He showed it to us.

Schuligans travelled another 45 minutes to the village of Ganga Devi Pally (website) to see this model village which recently was awarded amongst the best 3 villages in India in terms of rural development. Delegates from 70 countries have come to see this village and Schuligans had the privilege to hear from the CEO, about Balavikasa’s slow and steady progress over the past 20 years in helping this village reach its potential.

(Above: Schuligans in discussion with Mr. Shourie Reddy, curious to understand rural development work undertaken by his NGO in developing a model village in India)

(Above: Mr. Shourie Reddy, CEO of Balavikasa demonstrating to students the installation of an Any Time Water Machine, one of the few incredible projects succesfully executed by his firm, in supporting rural Indian villages get access to drinking water as paid customers – village residents pay 0.06 cents for 20 liters of drinking water).

Dead tired but satisfied to see a new vision for India, Schuligans returned with much food for thought and a better understanding of why people, planet and profit matter.

Stay tuned for a recap of the second part of our big fat Indian orientation week here in Hyderabad!