The Indian Institute of Management Nagpur (IIMN) organized a series of interactive sessions by eminent speakers across domains, under the Orientation Programme for the Field Immersion Module. Mr Ram Bhogale (Chairman, AITG), Mrs Poonam Dhanwatey (Co-founder, TRACT), Mr Kshitij Agarwal (CEO, Sahyadri Farms), and Mr Amrut Bang (Programme Coordinator, NIRMAN) addressed the students during this event, conducted on Monday, September 30.
IIM Nagpur’s innovative Field Immersion Module (FIM) is a compulsory three-week module for the first-year students of the Institute’s flagship Post Graduate Programme (PGP) in Management. Under this module, students are attached to partner organizations from four broad sectors – Government & Infrastructure, Industry & Business (Small and Medium Enterprises), Agriculture, Food Processing & Rural Development and NGO and Environmental Management. Students work closely on managerial challenges in these organizations, analyze the issues critically and offer comprehensive solutions. Participating organizations also benefit from an external perspective, and can use this as an opportunity to explore the viability of new projects. Throughout the module, students receive guidance from IIMN faculty members who act as anchors for the process.
For the PGP Batch of 2019-21, the Field Immersion Module began with a week-long orientation. At the outset, the students were briefed about the process by Profs Varsha Khandker and Vishal Arghode. The briefing covered the objective of the module, its evolution since the first batch, the nature of work, the challenges that past batches encountered and how to tackle them. The professors also addressed queries and concerns that the students had about working on the field, towards the end of the briefing.
This was followed by guest sessions in which speakers from the four domains outlined managerial challenges in their respective sectors and how IIM Nagpur students could contribute to their resolution.
Mrs Poonam Dhanwatey, Co-founder, Tiger Research and Conservation Trust (TRACT) spoke about the threats to the environment on various fronts. She emphasized on the need for policymakers who are sensitized to grassroots realities and offer sustainable solutions.
Mr Amrut Bang is involved in shaping the strategy, building partnerships, and project management as the Programme Coordinator at NIRMAN – a joint initiative of the Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health (SEARCH) and the Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Limited (MKCL). Mr Bang’s talk enabled students to appreciate the peculiarities of the social sector, and emphasized on the need for professional management to bring about a difference in disadvantaged areas.
The third speaker was Mr Kshitij Agarwal, CEO of Sahyadri Farms – the retail arm of Sahyadri Farmer Producer Company Ltd, India’s largest farmer producer company. His session acquainted students with many avenues for sustainable enterprise in the agribusiness sector. He sought advice on the implementation of new projects such as the cultivation of medico-crops, economical, eco-friendly packaging solutions and a sustainable model for foraying into the organic food market.
Mr Ram Bhogale, Chairman, Applied Innovation and Technology Group spoke of the challenges faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as a result of inefficient management, lack of foresight and infeasible policies. He exhorted managers in training at IIM Nagpur to bring their insights to such businesses for improving their overall efficiency.
The Orientation progressed with a discussion between first- and second-year students of PGP, wherein the senior students shared their experience on the field during their FIM in 2018. Five students from the senior batch, who had worked in different domains during their FIM, spoke to the junior batch about the importance of being proactive, and identifying problem areas by interacting with all stakeholders on the field. The students subsequently visited immersion partners in Nagpur to better acquaint themselves with the work environment.
Introduced in 2015, the Field Immersion Module began with 31 partners, mostly concentrated in Nagpur and adjoining areas. A number of organizations from Aurangabad and Nashik districts have joined as immersion partners in the past few years. For the PGP Batch of 2019-21, IIMN has partnered with 61 organizations, of which 37 belong to the SME category, 6 from Government, 12 from NGO & Environment and 6 from the Food & Agriculture category.
Recommendations made by students to some partners in the past are already being incorporated into the latter’s action plans. These include projects on the development of Nagpur as a logistics hub, and the exploration of the potential of freshwater fisheries in Vidarbha with the Office of the Divisional Commissioner, Nagpur. The FIM is among the many opportunities for industry engagement that IIMN students receive, in addition to the Summer Internship and International Immersion programmes.