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Personality Traits in Mahabharata and the Ocean Model

Introduction:

While going about our usual day we interact with people, judge their personality as to how they are different from us and at times compromise  with the changing facets of their personalities without even thinking. We unknowingly almost like an automatic response form opinion about people depending on their overt behavioural responses.

Why we do this? Because we humans are wired for curiosity to know more about our environment aWhy we do this? Because we humans are wired for curiosity to know more about our environment and the people we live with. Like when we notice someone at a party surrounded by a large group of people, obviously the centre of attention, chatting and laughing; we may conclude that person is an extrovert.

So, how do we understand personality?

While studying personality we assume that personality characteristics are relatively stable over time and that traits show stability across situations. For example, someone who is described as an extrovert may be very outgoing and chatty at a party but less so in a conference. In both situations, they are likely to be more sociable than an introvert person. We also assume that personality traits influence behaviour. The person is outgoing and chatty because they are an extrovert.

At IILM, we offer courses in personality to undergraduate courses to help them discover themselves as well as understand our basic individual differences.

Personality and its spectrum

Cattell (1965) defined personality as being the characteristics of the individual that allows prediction of how they will behave in a given situation. Psychologists increasingly agree that five super traits may adequately describe the structure of personality.

Costa and McCrae (1992), who measured personality with their OCEAN model represents a continuum along which individuals can be explained in terms of their traits.  For a better understanding of these traits, the following is my explanation of how characters and their personalities were depicted from Mahabharat.

Characters from Mahabharat to explain OCEAN Model:

At IILM the curriculum is an interesting blend of science and mythology. I will explain how we teach traits to our Psychology students with the help of characters from Mahabharat.

OPENNESS – This factor refers to the individual having an openness to new experiences and an active imagination.

Karna was seen to be high on this scale as throughout the epic he justified his never-say-die attitude and courageously confronted all the odds of his destiny. His character in Mahabharata has everlasting fame because he teaches how can one present himself better than the destiny and accomplish everything with shatterproof determination. Bhima was seen low on this scale as he was conventionally oriented towards a particular goal that is of being the mightiest warrior.

CONSCIENTIOUSNESS– This factor describes our degree of self-discipline and control. Yudhishthira was high on this scale; was hard-working, organized, goal-driven whereas Shakuni was seen to be low on this scale as he is the person who poisoned the mind of his explosive nephew Duryodhana and fuelled-up the destructive war of Mahabharata, thus becoming the cause of the destruction of the Kauravas.

EXTRAVERSION – This factor is a measure of the individual’s sociability, energetic, optimistic, friendly and assertive.

Krishna was high on this scale as he attempted to navigate negotiations between the Pandavas and Kurus before the Kurukshetra war even happened. He convinced Balarama to not partake in the war itself. He even tried to get Karna to fight for the Pandavas as well. Sahadeva was shown to be low on extroversion, even though as the wisest of all the Pandava brothers he mostly kept to himself reading Vedas, spoke less and followed mostly what his elder brothers decided upon him.

AGREEABLENESS – This factor relates to the characteristics of social interaction. Individuals with high scores are trusting, helpful, soft-hearted and sympathetic.

Bhishma was high on this scale as his peerless statesmanship to be the mediator between the Kauravas and Pandavas and other impeccable characteristics still inspire his ardent followers across the world. Dronacharya was low on this scale as he discriminated against Karna and Eklavya on the basis of their caste. He did not voice out any objection in the court during Draupadi’s assault.

NEUROTICISM – This factor measures an individual’s emotional stability and personal adjustment. Duryodhana is seen to be high on this scale as he is motivated by greed, jealously, and a desire for retribution. Yudhishthira was low on this scale as he is calm, even-tempered, secure and happy.

Is there a situational difference when we portray our personality?

Psychologists explain this by segregating personality into a private and public persona. Private being the ‘real’ inner person, while public is the way that the individual presents themselves to the outside world. We may be confident and outgoing in some situations and less sure of ourselves and more retiring in other situations. A case where a shy reserved person joins an organisation but eventually becomes an arrogant and stubborn boss. This fits the explanation of how our personalities differ situationally.

Conclusion:

As much as individuals behave differently in different situations, our behavioural reactions can be clubbed into traits as similar reactions across age and cultures. To conclude, we can say that each one us is uniquely different yet distinctively similar as well.

 

“Personality is a mask we believe in”

Dr White

 

Relevance of Soft Skills for Personality Development among Students

INTRODUCTION: Soft skill, sometimes known as “people skills” are personal attributes that enhance an individual’s interaction with others, job performance and career prospects. Unlike hard skills or technical or occupational skills, which tend to be specific to a certain type or task or activity, soft skills are broadly applicable. There are two broad classifications of soft skills viz. personal attributes and interpersonal attributes.

Soft skills broken down under personal attributes comprise of the following:

  1. Optimism
  2. Emotional Intelligence
  3. Responsibility
  4. A sense of humor
  5. Integrity
  6. Time management
  7. Motivation
  8. Creativity

Soft skills under interpersonal abilities are as follows:

  1. Empathy
  2. Leadership
  3. Communication
  4. Good manners and etiquette
  5. Sociability
  6. The ability to teach
  7. Problem solving

It is often said that hard skills will get an interview but one needs soft skills to get and keep going with the job. In the initial years of one’s career, individuals need technical abilities or occupational skills may be important to get an assignment one seeks. However, when it comes to growing in an organization, it is the personality trait that matters. And this would apply more aptly in a setting where several people with similar technical expertise will compete for a position or a promotion.

Training of soft skills in our country becomes all the more relevant where the education system does not always delve into coordinated personality development. There is a lot of contradiction and argument in the industry as to whether it is possible to enhance soft skills through different modes of training and workshops especially when we already know that the person has lived with those traits all their lives. The answer to this question seems harsh although real. A student who wants to do well in his career and does not really have a choice, a reorientation of lifestyle and personal priorities becomes essential.

The concept of soft skill is not a recent concept, instead, it is a concept discussed since ancient times. Our Vedas and Upanishads enunciate how Vedantic prescriptions cab be an effective instrument for the personal transformation that automatically enhances soft skills necessary for growth.

A desire in a young professional to create a strong positive impression about the self in intellectual and social circles is paramount. Soft skills for university students should come with the intention of an all round development of their personality and not only focus on academics but train them professionally also. Inculcation of soft skills among students would ensure greater success for them across all the spheres of life. Today’s organizations and companies look for individuals who are flexible to adapt to the organization’s culture and are apt enough to establish meaningful interactions with people around.

Relevance of soft skills among students:

  1. For creating a healthy and productive work environment: We have to develop interpersonal skills like listening and writing that can ensure the flow of smooth and accurate instructions and information. This can guarantee a cooperative work environment with minimum levels of manageable conflicts.
  2. Efficiency in dealing with challenges: Hard skills help you with technical knowledge and skill building whereas soft skills as they include communication skills, etiquette and leadership skills make your adjustment better at the workplace. They make an individual capable enough to deal with challenges and problems at the workplace.
  3. For overall personality development: All round personality development can only be guaranteed if both the hard and soft skills go hand in hand. Thus as mentioned earlier, hard skills are not enough to bring the best in you and ensure success. Pairing technical expertise with the process involved in the implementation of the technical expertise would lead to over all personality building and growth.
  4. Demand of today’s time:  In today’s time, the strength of an individual is assessed on both the hard and soft skill parameters.  The one who lacks soft skills would not be able to compete with the demands of today’s time. Thus there should be a strong focus of the course curriculum on building and strengthening of personality by inculcating soft skills.

Conclusion: All round personality development of individuals should emphasize on the mastering of soft skills. At IILM University, there is a lot of stress on developing soft skills as a part of the course structure.  There are diverse facilities initiated by the University to delve upon such skills. Some of these facilities are:

  1. IILM center for Emotional Intelligence: This is one of the centers that cater to provide an idea as to the significance of emotional intelligence in our lives. How relevant this is for ensuring the future success of individuals and how can we make ourselves happy and satisfied thus adding quality to our lives.
  2. Course curriculum: The courses offered by IILM University just do not focus on the academic growth and learning of the students. Rather it also tends to inculcate applications based learning that can be implemented and utilized when our students enter the professional world.

We offer papers like communications skills, emotional intelligence inter group relations personality growth and development that gives them an idea about the corporate setup. These courses, apart from adding on to their knowledge reservoir add on to the other aspects required for personality development example a course on communication skills makes them apt to use the power of communication during meaningful interactions. It helps them lay their point of view much more comprehensively thus ensuring them success whether it is about cracking an interview or cracking a good deal at the workplace. Similarly, the course on emotional intelligence tends to tap competencies like self-regulation, nurturing relationships etc. that helps accomplish higher order goals that one can set in life, a course on inter group relations also tends to make them understand the relevance of dynamic interactions between two or more individuals or big groups. It makes them understand the complexities of group functioning thus avoiding conflicts and ensuring teamwork while personality growth and development, make them explore, introspect and evaluate their personality strengths and virtues. It gives them an accurate understanding of themselves thus making them understand their potentialities and abilities. Thus, the emphasis on soft skills development among the student lot is the need of the hour.

References:

Govind Singh Kushwaha, Role of Soft Skill and Personality Development, Research Gate, February 2012

Barbara Cimatti, Definition, Development, Assessment of Soft Skills and their role for the Quality of Organizations and Enterprises, International Journal for Quality Research 10(1) 97–130, 2016

Barun K. Mitra, Personality Development and Soft Skills, Oxford University Press

Personality Development Video, The Economic Times and The TIMES Multimedia, 2009.

TIME magazine, Vol. 172, No. 2, 2008.

The Beautiful Road Ahead – IILM, School of Management

Just out of school, a student enters a life, less cocooned, more puzzling, and challenging full of promises and heartbreaks. Parents also anxiously want their children to be on the right track of a steady career growth that promises a secure future. Wise decisions taken at this stage by the student and parents about the choice of course and institution will ensure good learning and focused career growth that is both rewarding and fulfilling. A beautiful road ahead is possible if one plans and decides well. Who wants a rickety ride in the graduation years?

In the market that is full of enticing offers and promises for a beautiful road ahead in education right after school, IILM, a top-ranking institute, is a name of trust running the helm of top-class education for decades. It has a unique reputation of welcome and warm ambiance with student-centric education that is in line with the demands of the market. One can see the wonderful reviews of students and parents on the internet about the quality education being offered in echelons of IILM. IILM has three imposing campuses in Delhi NCR, namely in Lodhi Road, Gurugram, and Greater Noida. IILM University, in Gurugram, offers several graduate and undergraduate courses in Management, Law, Psychology, Design, etc. apart from its rigorous Ph.D. program in different streams. All the departments boast of high-profile faculty and management, having an illustrious experience in their fields.

The School of Management

IILM University is nestled right in the heart of Gurgaon on the glistening Golf Course Road. The School of Management is one of its oldest and prestigious departments. The well-guarded campus housing the School has beautiful green manicured and well-tended gardens and lawns full of trees of mogra and pansy buds striking a contrast amidst the concrete and glass jungle of the Golf Course Road. One can see students sitting in the gardens with their laptops studying in the natural peace of nature or busy playing basketball/volleyball on the courts. Everywhere you see students, busy, happy, and secure.

The school of Management offers different undergraduate and post-graduate degrees and diplomas in varied streams of Management, Marketing, Human Resource, Entrepreneurship, Insurance, and Risk, etc. A well-equipped library that is regularly updated does not leave much for asking in terms of knowledge resources. The School of Management also aims and delivers 100% placements to the students in companies like Toyota, L’Oreal, HDFC Bank, Gartner, etc.

Faculty

‘No one should teach who is not in love with teaching.’ Margaret E. Sangster

Indeed, at the School of Management, the teachers are in love with their profession. The faculty is well-read and industrious in their efforts to impart impactful classroom teaching to the students. Many teachers have rich industry experience behind them and have research papers published in top research publications. The teaching sessions involve students and teachers in active, engrossing discussion of insights and wisdom. Case studies and role-plays, debates, quizzes, projects keep the students alert in the learning drill for a competitive future. Faculty is also deeply involved in continuous mentoring of students even after classroom sessions and students are active participants in organizing conferences, events, annual fairs, and social outreach programs.

Student life

‘The secret in education lies in respecting the student.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Student-centric education is the mantra at the School of Management. Students are involved everywhere, be it classroom, conferences, placements, etc. from day one at the school, the student feels part of the IILM family that builds his sense of responsibility and deliverance. The activities and clubs, like Marketing Club, Finance Club, Entrepreneurship Club, etc., keep the students busy in the learning mode. Yearly life skills training rendezvous to Jim Corbett Park help to relax the freshers and help them connect with their new friends and faculty and developing in the team spirit. Industrial visits and industry connect meetings and seminars help students gain exposure to the market they are readying up for. Students also participate in various competitions and social work programs with equal interest. long hours are also spent in the peaceful library. The hostel available for students is safe, secure, and hygienic. The management of the School is very cordial with the welfare and development of the student of topmost priority for them.

Good Decision

Choosing IILM University, School of Management is a wise decision to invest in a wonderful future in the business world. The teaching pedagogy is world-class and placements assured. Great global exposure is a value add with a number of student exchange programs and international visits. Guest lectures from the best in the industry help students get attuned to industry practices. They also become socially aware and responsible citizens. And of course, the beautiful green shaded campus is a big bonus.

The graduate years must be the best as they do involve the precious youth of a person’s life. A good institution will make focus on the future clear and be the mantle of guidance and support for the students. School of Management, IILM University, offers just that with passion and commitment. Students can get in touch with the IILM University admissions team on the university website and will be guided in the admission process and assisted with any queries. As the seats are limited in various programs offered by the School of Management, it will wise to submit applications as soon as possible.

So, for the prospects out there, make the right choice. Visit iilm.edu.in now to apply.

Surely, a beautiful road lies ahead!

 

Keywords: IILM University, IILM, Management, MBA, Gurugram, Student life, Placement, Golf Course Road.

A CACTUS IS REALLY JUST AN AGGRESSIVE CUCUMBER

Introduction:

As a cool cucumber can turn into a savaged looking cactus, all of us can indeed turn our calm selves to something ferocious because of anger which at times triggers violent responses. Reactions ranging from rash driving to banging doors to actually getting into a physical altercation and verbal aggression are seen most commonly with people who are apparently aggressive.

Social Psychologists cleave the concept of aggression into emotional and instrumental aggression which is to say that former results from unhappy/negative emotions (carried out in the heat of the moment like slapping in a fit of rage) whereas the latter is intended, a well-planned move (to hurt someone purposely like a bully in school or at work).

Aggression is exhibited in physical aspects – hitting, kicking to non-physical aspects like verbal (yelling), social (bad-mouthing, excluding others), racial (micro aggression), sexual (misogyny, homophobic jokes) that are intended to harm others.

Following Liberal education at IILM University, we teach life skills in out everyday classes in the form of role plays or class discussion to help them accept, understand and manage negative emotions.

But why do we aggress? Is it like a life skill that we all need so that we don’t look meek?

Evolutionary Scientists explain that we have an innate ability to protect as well as seek continual survival of our genes. Human beings need to be able to aggress in certain situations, and nature has provided us with this skill which means that under the right situation, almost all of us will aggress (Buss & Duntley, 2006).

Physiologists’ support evolutionary perspective as it is known to mankind that aggression is controlled by Amygdala i.e. limbic system inside the cortex controlling emotions. This further controls our autonomic nervous system which in stress activates flight-or-fight mechanism.  What science is trying to explain to us is that under stress, we will either fight the stressor or run away from it. Not only this, some imperative chemical substances in our body like serotonin which when found to be at low levels predict aggression (Kruesi, Hibbs, Zahn, & Keysor, 1992; Virkkunen, de Jong, Bartko, & Linnoila, 1989).

Behavioral scientists feel that what we see in our environment is how we condition ourselves to be; so if children see their parents act out aggression by hitting, to them it’s OK to do the same. It’s no rocket science to explain that aggression would harbor aggression and the more we see it, the easier it is for us to repeat it.

It is imperative to say that one’s social situation also makes it critical for a response like aggression. As it is commonly noticed that we may react violently in situations where we are uncomfortable/ fearful or provoked (with friends or subordinates) but may react more calmly in others (in front of an authority).

On hindsight, it is easy to recall that when we were aggressive, we were likely to be experiencing a negative emotion (example- unhappy thoughts, pain or discomfort) that’s why it became so easy to react aggressively. In general, it could be the feeling of being ill or undergoing emotional disturbance that makes one vulnerable to frustration which further provokes violent behaviour.

At IILM University which is considered one of the best private universities for Psychology around Delhi/NCR, we teach critical thinking and communication skills along with other courses where we discuss how anger does not become an issue till you keep ignoring it. Reaching to the core of an internal conflict and addressing concerns is half battle won without inflicting pain to self or others.

 

How to if not stop, control aggression?

The answer to this is Catharsis which is a process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotion. For reducing negative affect and its arousal, if we can actively distract ourselves from that emotion it can help break the cycle of being provoked to react in anger. Catharsis can be any form of meaningful engagement like talking it out, exercising, listening to music and is most useful when done alone.

At undergrad and master’s courses in Psychology at IILM University we teach positive and social psychology and most importantly emotional intelligence. We endeavour to help our students with a thorough understanding of psychology, its components and how aggression is a symptom of repressed issues which through therapy and counselling can be managed.

Conclusion:

Aggression is seen more an emotional than instrumental response needs to be managed by first checking on our feelings. We need to assess what caused this emotion and why? At times aggression is directed at something different than what actually provoked it. When we think carefully about our situation, rather than simply responding in an emotional way, we can carefully choose the most effective responses when we are angry (Berkowitz, 1993).

To conclude, aggression is not a disease we need to fight, lets comes to terms with how normal an aggressed response is; but accept that it cannot be typified into personality. We need to address cause before the management for a long-term goal.

 

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.

Follow my blogs or write to me at shahana.qutab.phd2019@iilm.edu

Is print media losing its sheen as digital media leapfrogs ?

“The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses” ~ Malcolm X.

Media has been ruling since time immemorial. Mass media refers to various platforms, which can be used to communicate and interact with a large number of audiences in different languages. The frontrunners being print and digital. 

Early print and digital

Print media is known from the days of Julius Cesar when Acta Diurna, came into being.It has been dominating the media and communication industry with newspapers, magazines, booklets and brochures, house magazines, periodicals or newsletters, direct mailers, handbills or flyers, billboards, press releases, and books. However, change is the only constant and with digital slowly building up a solid userbase over the years a question mark on the sustainability of print arose.

We all know that digital media is created, modified and distributed on digital electronic devices. For many of us, it may be difficult to believe, but in 1986, only 34 years back, we had as little as 1 percent of total media storage capacity in digital form.  This number rose to 94 percent in 2007, which best illustrates the speed at which digitalization came about. In a relatively short period, the Internet has had a remarkable influence on almost every facet of our lives. This evolution of media and communication has not just evolved more with each passing day but has also revolutionized the way individuals and businesses operate.

 

The debate and trends

The biggest advantage that print has over digital is its credibility. Print media is more trustworthy because once the news is published, it cannot be deleted or even modified. For most of us, the day begins and ends with screens. The print is a soft breeze that comes by to give us a digital detox time. When we read newspapers, there are no distractions from numerous clickable advertisements and pop-ups, that makes the consumption and comprehension of the news more deep-down.

In a country like ours, many areas have limited or no access to the internet. For them, print media is a blessing in disguise. However, when the debate continues to the statistics of literacy rate, digital scores a point, since radio and television do not require literacy and readability skills.

Current trends show that most newspapers and magazines are turning to their digital version and several online news websites are bringing their print versions. This is quite a mix bag of ways to reach more consumers and to establish credibility. However, in this fast-paced world and extreme paucity of time a  two-way communication that digital media offers make news and information interactive, engaging, and interesting. With a faster turnaround time and instant updates digital keeps us more streamlined.  This makes it easy to spread important news among the public.

However, as anyone can easily generate content for digital media, fake news is on the rise. As a result, unless they are famous and have a good name, digital media platforms are not being trusted by the public. In this regard, print media win hands down.

 

Who stays longer?

Yes! News is now being consumed in little digital packets. While digital boasts of a solid userbase today, print media has also witnessed healthy growth in terms of readership. Both have their pros and cons and will see robust growth in the coming years with their respective consumers. In fact, with increasing literacy rates, print is acquiring more users. The print is not losing its sheen, but it will have to diversify, experiment and explore more opportunities to remain in the rat race. So, we can say that print and digital media are co-existing quite happily for now. It’s for undercurrents to decide who sustains in the long run.

Journalism, media and communication programme at IILMU

We at IILM University understand the current trends, we know this is one of the most dynamic and imposing industry and therefore, the 3-year bachelor’s degree in journalism, media and communication offers the most intensive and innovative curriculum blended with a progressive pedagogy. From a range of core and electives, the student learns all about various media and communication platforms such a print, digital, broadcast, advertising, public relations, corporate communication, photography and many more. We teach journalism, media, communication not only as an industry but as part of society as well.

 

 

 

 

Harnessing Brand Communication to Reignite Momentum & Restart Commerce

Brand communication is voice. It humanizes any brand to be able to create real and relevant conversations with people. In times of crisis like today, brands play a significant role in shaping the choices people make. These choices are not just about the product or service, but also message and purpose-driven.

IILM conducted an engaging and interactive webinar on “Brand Communication in Times of Crisis ” by Karen Wilson – Publisher & Business Head Lifestyle Division – India Today Group. The webinar was scheduled for 15 May and was streamed live on YouTube. The participants were a mix of students, faculty, and guests who joined through registration.

YouTube video

 

Karen initiated the webinar by talking about how in these unprecedented times, people look to leaders and institutions for guidance, reassurance, and information. We further deliberated that customers today are more aware and exposed to the realities of business. And that’s why it becomes imperative for any business to stick to implicit messaging.

The webinar took an interesting turn when Karen highlighted how increasingly, businesses require to reignite momentum and restart commerce. How they should perceive this moment of crisis not as a danger but also as an opportunity but not at the cost of sounding an opportunist. She added that this is the time for brands to take a moment and reassess past business practices and the road ahead. Karen showed some eye-opening advertisements from the past and from the present that exhibited what brands must do in times of crisis and how in the process maintain their reputation as well.

The latter part of the webinar was open to the audience and some interesting questions on how businesses should strategize their brand policy when sales begin to nosedive, consumers set stricter priorities and reduce their spending, and most businesses postpone new investments. To this Karen focused principally on the right brand messaging and its importance. She explicitly pointed out how brands must appeal to consumers’ emotions. All messaging must elicit a high emotional response to the said product. The underlined sentiments of this new normal must be reinforced in all communication. To a very interesting question on how businesses dealing in non-consumable services must do their branding? Karen was quick to answer that businesses must leverage testimonials and focus on the USP of their service for the end-user.

The webinar was a grand success in terms of the relevance of the content, the structuring of the presentation, the flurry of questions from the audience, and the huge participation.  The crux that as humans, we’re programmed to stay connected. While social distancing measures offer protection and security, they come with a significant impact on the emotional and mental well-being of individuals, communities, and the world at large. It is at times like this that brands must continue to connect and reassure their customers that this too shall pass, and we are in this together, therefore resulting in them remaining top of mind.

Check out this post I wrote on “The Anatomy of Online business- Brand Storytelling the new normal, it’s packed with amazing tips.

Virtual Summer Internships in an era of COVID-19: IILM students share their Work from Home experience

COVID-19 has brought about unprecedented disruptions, impacted the economy across the globe and created a paradigm shift in higher education. Since the end of March 2020, there has been a national lockdown, bringing a standstill to almost all activities. This year MBA students have gone through a myriad of experiences and emotions due to COVID-19. The graduating batch of MBA students who got placed had their own set of worries, and the Year I MBA students had their apprehensions of their SIP. SIP or Summer Internship Program is one of the key experiences that are cherished by all MBA students. With COVD-19 unsettling all their aspirations, it was a Herculean task of the Placement Cell to get virtual internships for the entire batch, across various specializations. But much to the delight of the students, the Placement Cell arranged a good list of more than 50 companies who were ready to offer them virtual internships in multiple domains. As a result, some students are even pursuing two internships simultaneously.

Two weeks on, I got talking to a few students of the current MBA batch to find out their experience till now and am sharing it here.

Surbhi Dhasmana – Intern at E&Y

It is totally a new world for Surbhi Dhasmana. This dynamic youngster, aspiring for a career in the area of finance, has been fortunate to be selected as an intern at Ernst and Young (EY), one of the ‘Big Four’, in the department of Risk Management Services. Her orientation training last more than three weeks, which gave her comprehensive insights into the structure and policies of the company, the service line, the team and her role. She had been initially assigned the responsibility of research and analysis of financial documents and files of the clients in the database of EY and on the International Database. Based on a high-quality score of this analysis by her reviewers, the company has assigned her more critical tasks. She now interacts with the Engagement Partner of the Clients to gather more information and seek any clarifications they may have. Her experience so far has not only been interesting, full of learning, it has been also challenging working for one of the world’s top-most financial companies. Having a supportive industry mentor with whom she communicates freely and gets a prompt response to her queries has made her internship journey exceptionally smooth. Surbhi loves the work culture of EY, which is a flat organization and offers easy approachability. She has interacted with a diverse group of individuals and enjoys a strong connect between the team members. Besides the mentor, she is also assigned a ‘buddy’ to resolve miscellaneous issues. She is usually working around 10 to 11 hours a day, but she is not complaining. She has created her schedule and has become time smarter. She has polished her excel and other technical skills and is achieving the required results within the given time schedules. Surbhi feels that the normal office internship is good to network with people and leads to one-to-one learning and better time management. Since this virtual internship is inevitable due to the COVID–19 circumstances, she has learnt to work and discharge her duties and responsibilities remotely and achieve the same results.

Sharad Karnani – Intern at Fever FM

Sharad Karnani is an aspiring marketing professional who is interning at Fever FM in the area of brand marketing. After his induction, he got an opportunity to work in the area of marketing research and digital marketing. The overall experience has been good, with continuous learning and capitalizing on new things every day. He misses the physicality of an in-office experience but with supporting mentors and getting to do new tasks daily makes it fun. He has gradually adapted himself to his virtual internship, sitting at his place in his own comfort zone. He feels that it has increased his efficiency of working, but sometimes it is boring with no other colleagues around. He gets timely responses and feedback from his mentor with whom he communicates without any hitch. He is happy to be learning new skills every day and as of now with only 5-6 hours of work, there is not too much of pressure, so it is going smooth for him. In a short span of fifteen days, he has learnt the nuances of business communication. He does not like the occasional non-involvement in a task due to the physical absence from the workplace. He is still coming to terms with his virtual internship, he is missing pursuing physical internship which allows a connect with real people that is important to learn, grow and make new connections. But he understands the current circumstances and is grateful to IILM University for providing the perfect internship according to his preference and needs. He is glad that even in a virtual mode, he has been able to enhance his skills and develop himself. He is looking forward to contribute meaningfully to his internship company and gain valuable insights into the contemporary market trends and organizational dynamics.

 

Ishali Gupta – Intern at UN Global Compact

Ishali Gupta, who is the Vice-President of the Synergy HR Club at IILM University, is interning with UN Global Compact India in the HR domain. After her induction, she was assigned the task of undertaking research, preparing questionnaire for need analysis and feasibility study for developing a new online program. Spending around 6-8 hours during the day, she has already honed her skills in database management and tech skills. Even though the internship is virtual, and it has been two weeks, she has been able to get knowledge about various sensitive topics like sustainability, women leadership etc. through the webinars and virtual meetings and how to work as a professional. She has been able to get an work closely on the SGDs particularly related to gender issues. She has increased her network on LinkedIn. While she is enjoying her stint as an intern, she would like to have a defined time to work. Initially there were challenges to balance her work life, but now she has been able to create a schedule for herself. She was initially sceptical to pursue a virtual internship, but she is now finding it useful. Her mentor is quite polite and she communicates freely with her. She got the SIP opportunity through campus and is glad that the University has always been supportive for any issues related to internship. ‘Happy to be a part of IILM University Gurugram’ is what she has to say.

Raja Singh Rajput – Intern at Mfilterit

Raja Singh Rajput is among the well-networked and popular students of the batch, who secured an internship in the area of data analytics at Mfilterit. His erstwhile technical skills gave him an edge over others, and at the onset of his internship, he got to work on a new data visualization tool, Power bi, which gave him exposure to interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities. It has been a rewarding experience for him with his industry seniors supporting and helping them in every possible way. His mentors are very calm and patient while explaining things, as it is quite difficult and frustrating to understand tasks related to analytics in an online mode. Through his internship, he can now apply whatever concepts he studied in MBA. One of the initial hurdles he faced when his internship started, was that it was quite difficult to understand the concept online. Slow internet connectivity led to the video feeds freezing, making for a bumpy online experience because of low bandwidth and congested airways. But this has given him the opportunity to improve his patience levels! His work schedules are sometimes as high as 8 hours, and he operates on the deadlines given. Flexibility of work from home sometimes gives him the time to read books and pursue online courses. This virtual internship has given him a unique opportunity to independently take decisions after researching on the issue at hand rather than relying on assistance from others. Working remotely has been a big adjustment which he has made and is quite used to now. One of his key learnings apart from the technical skills is the understanding the importance of setting goals and expectations and asking for ongoing feedback.

Komal Yadav – Intern at Panasonic India

Komal Yadav is an ambitious young student who has got the opportunity to intern at Panasonic India in the sales and marketing department. It has been a fruitful learning journey for her. She has got an in-depth understanding of the product, refrigerator market, distribution channels and pricing strategies. She learnt the skill of creating channel strategy using market share and numbers of counters for different tier branches through simulation. She got a practical learning on customer buying behaviour and their pre, during and post-purchase decisions. She worked on PSI (Purchase, Sales, and Inventory), thus honing her Excel skills. She has got a hands-on learning about the industry terms and jargon. She has been able to enhance her email etiquettes and professional communication. Her internship has taught her the importance of deadlines. She feels that the success of a virtual internship lies on increased planning and consideration by both the intern and supervisor. Even though it is virtual, yet the internship can help gain skills and make connections. In the last two weeks she has learnt to create a professional environment while working at home and the significance of proper time management. Her industry mentor clears all doubts and has given her the freedom to ask any queries without any hesitation. She is finding her internship quite engaging and interesting. With the guidance of the industry mentor, she has been able to perform even the challenging tasks with ease. On an average she spends 6-8 hours per day on her assigned tasks and with each passing day, she is becoming more productive. While she feels that virtual internship is useful, but only to some extent. Komal thinks that visiting the company to get a real experience is a must. But she acknowledges that in these hard times, it is difficult to get an internship. She is grateful to IIILM University, particularly to the Placements Head, Prof Ruchi Shah, for providing opportunities, support and guidance in these times.

Ankush Bansal – Intern at Dabur and Kellogg’s

Last but not the least is Ankush Bansal, a young proactive student, who has opted for two SIPs simultaneously. Since its virtual, he feels he can manage both simultaneously. He has always been a multi-tasker in class, and it was his dream to get into a FMCG company. When he got the opportunity to intern in sales and marketing at Dabur (Chandigarh) and Kellogg’s (Ludhiana), both located in his home state, he did not have the heart to leave either of the brands he got selected in. He is learning the rules of the game on his own, without any induction from either of the organizations. At Dabur, he is required to be in touch with the retail shops and get the data for registering them on the Suraksha Store Portal (Govt. initiative). He is required to prepare the product portfolio of Dabur Real Juice and compare it with its competitors. At Kellogg’s, he is responsible for calling the KPC of the Kellogg’s in Chandigarh and Ludhiana area for their brand Pringle and conduct a survey. His double internship has given him immense learning so far. He has not only come to know about how the companies work, but also given him the opportunity to overcome his hesitation issues. He had teething issues in the beginning and found it difficult to cope up, but now, he is leveraging technology to adapt and perform as per the requirements. Both his mentors are supportive, and he gets a quick response to his queries. They have given him an environment to communicate with them whenever there is a need. He is working for 4-5 hours on an average in a day but wants more, especially field work, which he is missing badly. He has improved his communication and tech skills but would like to go out and network. He strongly feels that sales cannot be learnt virtually. However, he feels blessed that at least he has internships in hand, all thanks to IILM University.

These experiences indicate a new class of managers in the making. These self-motivated, energetic youngsters have beautifully adapted themselves to the virtual environs. They are among the 200 odd MBA students of their batch who have coped to the situation and geared themselves to a different phase of learning. They are past their disappointments of not doing a physical internship and all apprehensions. With the continuous support and guidance of their faculty mentors and the Placement Cell of IILM University, these students are in fact now surging ahead to learn and progress in their professional lives.

Whatever I am is all because of IILM: Satyaveer Pal (Alumnus, Batch 2006-2008)

After completing his Bachelor of Science from Mahatma Jyotiba Phule (MJP) Rohilkhand University, a young lad stepped out of his hometown Bareilly to fulfill his dreams in the Millennium City of Gurugram. A career-ambitious student, he landed at IILM to pursue a career in management. Meet Satyaveer Pal, Regional Manager – Sales (International Business), Aurionpro, Gurugram, an alumnus of Batch 2006-2008. His work takes him to places, literally. He has extensively traveled to Europe and the APAC and South Asia region, particularly Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Nepal where majority of his clients are based. His last International visit was to Indonesia and Vietnam in February 2020, just before the national lockdown.

I had the opportunity to speak with him recently, and he was reminiscing his experiences at IILM during his stay at the campus. Considered as a studious person, he was the CR (student Class Representative) for two consecutive years, and this helped him tremendously in improving his interpersonal skills and leadership qualities. His favorite faculty was the marketing professor, Dr. Priyanka Dhingra whose lessons in sales and marketing were a lifelong learning for him. Giving presentations, participating in quizzes and class exercises are among his best memories at the campus. He fondly recalled an instance when he had to make a sales presentation where he came up with an innovative idea of marketing and branding of pens. This activity – based classroom pedagogy made him realize that marketing was where his career lay, and today business development has become his forte.

IILM gave Satyaveer learning both inside the classroom and outside. He learnt how to respond and gauge behavior of other people. He acquired networking skills and learnt how to brand oneself. This learning has taken him to the pinnacles of success.

He got an opportunity to do his summer internship at Shoppers Stop Gurugram, and he was also part of a new outlet opening in New Delhi where he helped Shoppers Stop in setting up their retail business from the scratch. He gained hands-on experience during his SIP and developed a multidimensional approach to handling problems. He believes those students who do not take their SIP seriously are the ones who loose out on good placements later.

Satyaveer feels that he not just gained academic knowledge at IILM but also the soft skills that are required to be successful in the corporate world.

As he was an outstation student, Satyaveer stayed at IILM boys’ hostel, and that was a wonderful experience for him. He learnt to become independent and gained friends for life. He cherishes the memories of playing cricket after classes in the campus grounds, going around in the local markets and malls of Gurugram, and chit-chatting with his hostel roommates till late night.

It is such a pleasure to have an alumnus as Satyaveer. His colleagues praise him unabashedly. I was going through some of the recommendations he received on LinkedIn and my heart swelled in pride. Considered as a good task master and team player, his peers and managers hold a remarkably high opinion of Satyaveer. According to them, he comes with a very infectious sort of energy; always warm and outwardly sociable, he gets along with people very easily. He is good at making new connections and is the live wire of every conversation.

He is still in touch with his faculty, Dr Radhika Madan and Dr Sujata Shahi, presently the Vice-Chancellor of IILM University. He has had positive interactions with them in the past and due to these, he has retained the connect with his Alma mater. Dr Radhika had in fact taught him and still considers him as one of her brightest students taught till date. She has seen Satyaveer grow in his career path over the years. A very vigorous person with a clear vision, she feels that he knows how to co-ordinate assignments and the workforce he deals with. She has found him to be a very dedicated and committed person who strives to achieve his goals with full commitment and sincerity. His positive approach to all his challenges is what differentiates him from other students.

In the past twelve years of graduating from IILM, he has earned the reputation of an enterprise leader with an excellent track record of contributions that streamline operations, invigorate businesses, heighten productivity and develop business strategies.

alumni-SatyaveerHe visits IILM Gurugram once in two months – either as an industry speaker to share his insights with the present batches, or as a jury member for a campus event – contributing in every possible way. He has also recommended several students for taking admissions in MBA, the flagship programme of IILM University Gurugram. One of the most connected alumni to his alma mater, he takes out time from his busy schedule whenever IILM requires his presence.

He is currently residing in the corporate hub of Gurugram with his parents, wife Abha and a three – year old son Arkin. On being asked, how did his stay at IILM impact his career, he proudly said, “Whatever I am is all because of IILM.”

Before its back to normal-Pause and Reflect

So we get these forwarded messages of how lockdown 2020 is treating us and how long we will be suffering in this self-imposed isolation. Satirical jokes about Husband-wife, working moms and home schooling, work from home and work at home, binge eating as well as pollution levels down to nil to be able to see far far away keeps all of us amused.

And in the evening, when the rush of emails and pending work cools off and we are not expected to be logged on to any more meetings; a silence grows with a hounding question; Is it going to be like this forever? Will work structurally change where employers have realized financial viability of having people work from home and its efficiency? How are we going to cope with so many changes and so soon?

Clear blue skies, constant birds chirping, reduced pollution levels and an acceptance which was missing in the first week of #stayathome makes me realize the importance of slowing it down.  We all are compelled to take life easy while crumbling mental blocks to expect and deliver perfection and find peace looking at a messy home, jumbled up time schedules, eating boring home food and mostly not having a choice to step out.

Life before this lockdown was living a rush life; the experience to be everywhere and experience everything will certainly come back to us very soon. We all are wishing to return back to those experiences with a spirit of determination and hope that everything will be OK one day.

But before leaving our homebound lives and getting back into action, please let’s not forget why we are here. Did we learn something relevant out of this? Are we going to embrace self-isolation or just avoid seeing this quality time with self as a bad phase of 2020?

If we can just take with us where we are coming from to where we are going in the near future and accept that all life forms are important, so respect; we need each other, so empathize and to never take anything for granted- not a day, a person or a thing.

If we can just remember to be grateful to see beauty in finer things in life and be easy on self I think we have learnt our lockdown lesson well.

“Life becomes more meaningful when you realize that you will never get the same moment twice”.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         OURPOSITVE.COM