How IILM Turns Uncut Stones into Shining Diamonds – An Alumni Story by Firdaus Shadab Alam of Deloitte India

One year after graduating with honors and a boring degree had me thinking life has me beat. Been there? Good, now let’s talk about how it all changes.

My desperate attempt to find a job, any job had me going down a rabbit hole of researching for MBA colleges. At first glance, they all looked the same to me. I could not differentiate one from another. I sat for many interviews but once I visited IILM I knew this is where I’m going to study. To call it a college with a big heart is an understatement. This is a family, one where every second faculty member cares just as much about your future as your immediate family. So, me and my sister packed our bags, bid the city of Joy adieu and proceeded to live in the campus hostel for what I can without doubt call the best 2 years of my life.

While I did not have any specific expectations as a newbie but having previously done my graduation in Accounting, my main motivation was to pursue finance and get placed in a reputed accounting firm. My teachers did me one better and suggested I get a dual major in Finance and marketing. I only wanted to be an accountant but from learning economics to finance to big data science I now work in the Innovation team in Deloitte. A few years ago, if someone told me I would be working in such an offbeat and dynamic role I never would have believed it.

From early morning classes, to running around campus for assignments, and late-night study sessions to the interesting competitions, corporate exposure & continuous interaction with the corporates- there is never a dull moment on campus.The course is rigorously planned, giving each student the ambient condition and many opportunities to explore their full potential and polish their leadership skills. The days sometimes seem endless, coffee tends to become a constant ally to navigate through the myriad of projects, role plays, case discussions & group assignments. I often played table tennis with my peers to lighten the mood after a hectic day.

Unlike other colleges I saw most of my batchmates getting their dream job. From summer internships to final placement the CDC team has you covered. I did my internship at WNS Global Services Private Limited as I wanted to learn more about research and how one can transform it into a career.

On one hand I had the finance professor (Mr. Raju Majumdar) teaching us how to formulate a strategy or correctly analyze a balance sheet and on the other you have (Mr. Rajkishan Nair) teaching you the importance of self-awareness and moral judgement, in our post-modern world it is very important to understand what moves the world and how asking the fundamental questions will keep you on top of your game every single day.I thank each teacher who taught me so well that I graduated and was awarded the Gold Medal, from learning how to negotiate with absolute certainty, to remembering each word written by Philip Kotler to understanding why Big data is the next big gold mine. The faculty here will teach you everything and more. And most importantly they will do it with grace and patience. 

IILM for me was not only about the monetary return on investment. It has other non-monetary benefits added to the package which seems to lack in the average rung Indian B-schools. It has its own brand and its own value. They teach you hard skills such as marketing operations, economics and so on and soft skills such as teamwork, communication and leadership. Most importantly, it helps you establish the valuable ‘network’ and ‘contacts’ and you are left with more than just a degree. Everyone you network with during the period— fellow students, alumni, faculty staff, and visiting speakers — will prove invaluable when it comes to seeking out a high-profile internship and, eventually, a job.

Firduas Shadab Alam

Innovation Team at  Deloitte India

Alumnus- Batch (16-18)

Apply now for global education at IILM. Visit


The Community Identity, a Sense of Belonging

A community is an identity, an entity. And therefore, it is important.

Community is a group of people in a shared interest or loving space and have similar characteristics. When it comes to human civilisation, a community is a thriving ecosystem having its unique DNA, social and legal structure, beliefs, and practices. Threads of reliance and togetherness among the community members keep it alive. Community is an important facilitating agent of influence and change as it consists of people who share common thought processes and camaraderie. We usually talk about urban, suburban, and rural communities. But communities are varied and formed based on shared lifestyle and beliefs, like religious communities, occupational communities, political ideological communities etc.  All this make the concept of a community very relevant and important for businesses and government and whoever intends to sell an idea, service, product, or positive behaviours.

Building Community

Community building is a field of practice that aims to connect with a target group of people with a message in an effective way. Sometimes also called community development, it is a communication strategy and has time and again proved successful for the enhancement of a community. Community building exercises are important especially in a developing and populous country like India having a huge stratum of poor and rural population with high illiteracy and traditional belief system. Many social development policies and interventions of government and non-government agencies use community centric implementation strategies to bring about positive change. Social marketing of public policies and interventions are most effective when designed in a community specific manner, e.g, ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ interventions will be different for a tribal community in Rajasthan or Haryana which are areas steeped in patriarchy and religious beliefs than rest of India where female infanticide problems are not so grave. Health insurance concept can be promoted in a better way through community-based health insurance schemes (CBHI) to bring more adoption and utilisation of the concept, eg. VimoSewa of Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in Gujarat that built a community of poor and self-employed women. Community buildings help the government in achieving the goal of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). In a similar way, the power of community has been leveraged in many other development interventions like immunization, mother and child nutrition, disease or pandemic management, awareness programmes etc. The community members look up to community influencers and their peers to adopt to change rather than a plain reason to change.

Marketer Relevance

The community has always been attractive to the marketer who targets specific markets or niches to sell its products and services. A new whey protein manufacturer targets the gym going and vegan community specifically as it makes more sense to gain ground and a steady revenue stream. Lakers team in basketball is a world-famous brand that has built its own community of Laker fans to whom it sells its Laker merchandise. When Harley Davidson was incurring losses and had reached on the verge of shutting its shop, it tried the community building method (HOG-Harley Owners Group) for its bikes and accessories through its community building strategy.  Podcast uses community building and marketing strategies successfully to run its business in the face of tough competition from video-centric content. Mobile companies like Oneplus and Apple use community building and marketing strategies to promote their products and new launches.

A business can build its community through face to face personal contact, social media presence where the page google analytics can help the business check the leverage. Campaigns, events, theatre plays, festivals, fairs, social work and relevant, quality offerings that connect with the members help to build communities for the products where members feel involved. Marketing efforts for any product or service to the communities is easier and fruitful.

IILM and Community Building

Community building efforts help maintain lifelong connects. Many educational institutions, for example, IILM University, lays a lot of stress in harbouring its alumni community, roping them in for guest lectures, motivational talks and placements and highlighting them on a pedestal pf inspiration for future students. Every student feels part of the IILM family long after he/she has left the organisation. for its social work and CSR initiatives, IILM University also adopts villages in its vicinity and promotes education, healthcare, and other programmes of social upliftment for the poor communities. Students actively participate with full zeal in such programmes and develop a commitment towards community building for the larger good of the nation

Therefore, community building and marketing is important for organisations and businesses to remain relevant and in the competition. It not only empowers the business but also the customer. A thriving community ensures a happy society. Community building will also help in reducing social disintegration, harmful behaviours and will knit fabric of social support, social justice, and economic development along with brand loyalties.

The trend of community building and marketing is getting more prevalent and more niches will be created. It will not be exaggerating to say that community will be the future of marketing. Future marketers and policymakers should concentrate their efforts towards community building to remain relevant in the new age business and marketing scenario. It will be very beneficial for students to opt for Institutions like IILM that have dedicated community building programs which give ample exposure to students in this domain and help with their placements and career development. Students need to take up skills like interpersonal communication, blogging, public speaking, communication design etc. very seriously to gain competitive advantage. such skills are much in demand and will bring an added shine to their personality to make them stand out in the crowd. In this regard, students can further follow the author’s blog on IILM blog site or connect personally for queries and guidance on the email given.

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Traditionally, after completing the undergraduate program, students have three options – to join their family business, go for higher studies or take employment. Whether it is for getting a job or admission in a higher education institution, the students have to go through a selection process. After clearing the initial elimination rounds of written tests and group discussions a student moves into space wherein the individual has to sell themselves.

It is also a well-acknowledged fact selection panels of education institutions or reputed corporates traditionally recruit incumbents who have great communication skills, technical skills and a good attitude (meaning qualities like being proactive, having a positive attitude,  solution providers rather than problem creator, people management skills and similar skills ). While the students’ qualification, classroom-based or MOOC Certifications shows what technical learnings they have acquired, it is the application of the same and demonstration of life skills that interests and are normally being evaluated by the selection panels.

I am detailing a few activities which can be used to add depth to the students’ resumes as well as help them learn skills that selectors are normally seeking and move them closer to achieving their career goals.

Organizing a community activity/event – Most of us live in residential communities. Organizing a social/ cultural event for the benefit of the other members of our community helps us showcase our initiative, our organizing ability and our ability to influence people and get their support. The community activities that can be chosen by students could include

o    Organizing a free health checkup for residents of a locality by connecting with a reputed hospital and your local resident welfare organization / Blood Donation Camp ( Red Cross),

o    Organizing Diwali Mela  / Christmas Gala / An Entertainment night / Children’s Day Activity / Children Painting competition to encourage art and

o   Coordinating with Municipality or local governing bodies ( residential welfare association)for providing better facilities at your residential area  – installing Garden Gyms / Better club facilities / Water Harvesting Initiatives/creating a volunteering group to provide support to the elderly population in the vicinity

Volunteering for a cause – For a student, it is critical to identify a social cause one is passionate about. Whether it is saving the environment, or educating the children or caring for animals, it is important to have the conviction to improve the plight of another.  Connecting with an NGO related to the cause and participating in their multiple activities, allows the incumbent to highlight her willingness to contribute towards society’s wellbeing. Showcasing the same in one’s resume and interview exhibits empathy, ability to work for a team/cause, enthusiasm for one’s belief, which is qualities well appreciated by any selection panel. Additionally, the content ( photographs and videos) from these add value to the digital footprint for a lifetime. For example, if a student chooses to become a member of IILM University NGO-Club – Yuva Goonj , and helps in teaching the children in the nearby slums, it demonstrates that the student is a responsible member of the society, believes in contributing towards the development of others and is willing to take extra responsibility.  These are laudable qualities that are appreciated in any institution.

Internships on a part-time and full-time basis – Internships and other experiential learning opportunities are the final keys to maximizing the value of students’ college degrees. It is a well-accepted fact that securing employment after one’s degree is dependent on how well one has built experience during the period of education. Employers expect students to have experience before applying to minimize training needs.   On another hand, to get admissions into good educations institutions for further studies, it is critical the student has a good understanding of the concepts taught, which is again dependent on application.

In view of the above, in addition to doing mandatory internships to earn credits, it is always advisable for students to take on short projects on a part-time basis through the terms of their courses. These projects need not be with big brands, but with be start-ups who are hungry for hardworking and enthusiastic manpower and are willing to teach. Some of these projects could be in space of

–          Content creation

–          Market research

–          Sales promotion

–          Book Keep

–          Updating records

–          Lead generation

–          And many more

Each of these activities teaches generic skillset as well as function-specific skillsets that always impress the interviewer.

Needless to add, all the above avenues are in addition to the certifications the student has earned, and the extra-curriculum activities a student has participated in. So adding such new experiences can help the student fulfill their career aspirations!

IILM University’s students teach underprivileged children.

Do share your feedback on :

What are the other relevant initiatives one can undertake to make one’s resume more impactful?

Do such initiatives add to your life skills and also help you understand your interests better?