Last year on April 6th, I was sitting in the Club Mahindra Coorg property trying to complete a project submission and feeling really bad that I wasn’t able to celebrate my birthday :). Krishnan and I are big on celebrations… Just the type of celebration varies. We don’t party, but love to hang out with our friends, travel, and just spend time with each other. And then the Brazil term happened… And for a long time I wanted to advise people wanting to join PGPMAX that if you are April born, don’t expect the customary birthday cake !! Because the April term usually happens overseas and everyone forgets to celebrate.
But April 6, 2014 made up for the 2013 lost celebration and ISB more than made up for it, with the convocation happening on the same day as my birthday. So yesterday was a double celebration with the MBA certificate as the gift. Awesome feeling… Interestingly when some of us went in the morning to the campus, we entered through the main reception and after 2006 when Krishnan and I had gone along with dad and mum to check out if we could do our MBA from ISB, this was the first time I was using the main entrance .. Once I joined the PGPMAX program it was always direct entry from the Exec housing to the class 🙂
What an interesting day we had – starting with the collection of our gowns, trying them on, giving away our student card and getting the Alumni card instead, our own moleskin diary, sitting in AC2 and Antony sitting in the front row for the first ever time. It felt so nice being back in a classroom even if it was to just sit around ! Then we had the short event of felicitating the professor of the year and the academic assistants. It was the same Khemka hall where we sat on May 11th and 12th for our introductory session. It was great to hear Prof Kale again and it was a great honor to handover the trophy to him on behalf of our class. He had flown in just for a day and he must be taking his class back in the US already !! He is just phenomenal.
Prof Kale, we will remember your message of giving back and staying in touch with the school and our professors. That is a commitment. It’s the least we can do, for the immense learning that the institution and all the professors have given us.
After this event we met again in AC2 to add our contribution to the endowment fund and before that to decide our annual reunion. We then had our dress rehearsal and we wore our gowns, the hood and the cap.. Like school children again, we walked in formation, in two lines and went to the venue and returned to the atrium for a group photo with the deans. The atrium was so festive !
And you don’t have to struggle to find me in the picture .. Yes the little dash of pink pleats :):). This was the sari I wore in the morning. A better look at it in the following picture – >
From 1 to 3 pm we had a break and I went back to the hotel to handover the graduation invite to Amma and Krishnan. Here’s a pic with the gown and hat up close …
After lunch we went back to the campus and Wong got to ride with us. Amma learnt to say “how are you?” in Malay :). Amma and Krishnan went off to the venue and I went to AC8 to get really ready for the graduation. We got back into our gowns and this time the hats had a tassel that was hanging from the left. We had to move it to the right after we got our certificate from the Chief Guest Mr. Azim Premji. We fidgeted like children, while Sudha, Niranjana and many others helped us to get the hood right, the hat right and in some cases the gown right. The Dean listers, led by the topper, Kapil Kumar Jain led the way and we went in a procession into the venue. The atmosphere was so festive and grand !! All our families stood around clapping and we really felt like celebrities. We got to our assigned seats and kept clapping till all the PGP students also got into the venue. The Dean, Chairman of the board, Mr. Adi Godrej and the Chief Guest Mr. Premji sat down and Prof Dishan started off the proceedings.
After a small prayer, beautifully sung by the spouses of two of the PGP students, we got started. First was Kapil, our class topper giving his awesome speech followed by the PGP’s speech and then the Dean’s report, and Mr. Godrej’s short speech. Mr. Premji then spoke and it was fascinating to hear him talk of doing simple things consistently and making it big… He certainly has made it big and is helping a whole generation of students to make it big through his philanthropic work. The Wipro foundation has adopted 400,000 schools, staggering impact !! After the speeches started the certificate distribution and PGPMAX went first. For me, it was the second certificate from Mr. Premji and the third photo-opportunity … The last time I met him was 10.5 years back in Wipro Spectramind !! Ofcourse he didn’t remember, but I do :):)
Mr. Premji was not feeling too well, but he still gave away every single certificate after taking a short break. We were all done (610+) around 7 pm. We tossed our hats and screamed loudly and we were newly minted MBA graduates ! Woo hoo.. And it feels like yesterday that we were cribbing about class participation marks ! Then we went in to the PGPMAX office to collect our transcripts and certificates and some of us kept the gowns, and some of us returned it. I kept it. Don’t think am getting another one anytime soon 🙂
I got back to the room to eat dinner as I had a bad headache from sitting in the heat with a cap on …… A headache that I never realised while sitting at the venue with all the festivities happening … Did we really do 24 subjects over 12 terms and got to learn from 25 awesome professors, did assignments and 1000 page pre-reads … Did we ? The certificates we hold today says we did :):):)
April 6, 2014 – a double celebration that I am not forgetting anytime soon. I missed more calls in one day than I do in a month … Apologies to the many people who were trying to wish me on my birthday, but I was busy graduating :). Here’s the newly minted Exec MBA graduate –