Category Archives: Life @ K

All the happenings, all the updates from God’s own Kampus

Walk-The-Talk:Calicut Half Marathon 2018

IIM Kozhikode will be organizing the ninth edition of Peekay Steel Calicut Half Marathon 2018 on the 25th of February 2018. As a prelude to the ninth edition of Calicut Half Marathon, IIM Kozhikode organized Walk-The-Talk event on 27th January, 2018 from the CSI Cathedral, Mananchira. The event promoted morning walk and historical significance of various forgotten landmarks of the city which saw large participation from across the city. The walk was inaugurated by Mr. K.P. Ramesh, executive engineer from Kozhikode Corporation, who spoke at length about the importance of morning walks. The event was graced by the presence of Mr. Prasanth Kumar, General Manager (HR & PR), Peekay Steels Castings (P) Ltd., Mr. PP Ramanathan, President of Niravu and Mr. Babu Parambathu, the coordinator at Niravu, our long term NGO partner who participated in the walk enthusiastically. Mr K Radhan from Achyuthan girl’s high school closed the engrossing walk by congratulating the entire team and conveying his good wishes for the marathon.
This year the theme for the Marathon is ‘Eco-Friendly Kozhikode’. Being environmental friendly is a paramount issue and needs to be taken seriously. It is all about taking simple measures to protect Mother Earth so as to make this planet a better place for communities and generations to come. Hence, creating awareness and taking measures is the way forward. It is this belief that IIM Kozhikode and Calicut Half Marathon wishes to encourage.
The marathon will start from beach (in front of All India Radio office) on 25th February, 2018 at 5 AM and run till Shri Gujarathi Vidyalaya higher secondary school. The marathon features three categories, a 21 km half marathon, a 10 km mini-marathon which are a competitive race and a 3 km “Dream Run”, a non‐competitive run featuring people from all walks of life. We will be conducting two more lead up events in the city in the upcoming weeks. The cycle rally will take place on 11th February, 2018 while the flash mobs will be conducted at the beach and at Hi-Lite mall on 18th February, 2018.

Over the past eight years, the marathon has been taking up a unique cause every year- having focused on critical issues of women empowerment, rights of differently-abled people, waste management, organ donation and healthy living in the past. Calicut Half Marathon 2018 is proud to be associated with Peekay Steel as the title sponsor and V-Guard as the Co-Sponsor. REGISTRATIONS ARE NOW OPEN. Visit to buy tickets for the marathon. Visit Calicut Half Marathon Facebook page for constant updates.

Press Release: Calicut Half-Marathon

On its 21st anniversary, IIM Kozhikode launched the ninth edition of Peekay Steel Calicut Half-Marathon and the Marathon is now open for registration. IIM Kozhikode will be organizing the Calicut Half-Marathon 2018 on the 25th of February 2018.
The event launch ceremony was held on 17th January 2018 (at Calicut Press Club) and was inaugurated by the deputy mayor – Ms. Meera Darshak. She unveiled the official logo and received the first ticket to participate in the marathon. Mr. A.K.Rastogi, chief executive (Works), Peekay Steels Castings (P)Ltd. launched the official Calicut Half-Marathon website.
This year the theme for the Marathon is ‘Eco-Friendly Kozhikode’. Prof. Anubha Shekhar Sinha, from IIM K elaborated on the various lead up events being conducted before the marathon. Lt Col M Julius George (Retd), chief administrative officer IIM Kozhikode spoke at length about the need and importance of an eco-friendly environment. Mr. Prasanth Kumar, general manager (HR & PR), Peekay Steels Castings (P)Ltd. and Mr. Babu Parambathu, the coordinator at Niravu, our long term NGO partner, also conveyed their wishes for the marathon. Being environmental friendly is a paramount issue and needs to be taken seriously. It is all about taking simple measures to protect Mother Earth so as to make this planet a better place for communities and generations to come. Hence, creating awareness and taking measures is the way forward. It is this belief that IIM Kozhikode and Calicut Half-Marathon wishes to encourage.
The marathon will start from beach (in front of All India Radio office) on 25th February, 2018 at 5 AM and run till Shri Gujarathi Vidyalaya higher secondary school. The marathon features three categories, a 21 km half-marathon, a 10 km mini-marathon which are a competitive race and a 3 km “Dream Run”, a non‐competitive run featuring people from all walks of life. We will be conducting three lead up events in the city starting from the upcoming week. “Walk the talk” will be conducted on 27th January, 2018 from CSI church, Mananchira to SM Street promoting morning walks. The cycle rally will take place on 11th February, 2018 while the flash mobs will be conducted at the beach and at Hi-Lite mall on 18th February, 2018.

Over the past eight years, the marathon has been taking up a unique cause every year- having focused on critical issues of women empowerment, rights of differently-abled people, waste management, organ donation and healthy living in the past. Calicut Half-Marathon 2018 is proud to be associated with Peekay Steel as the title sponsor and V-Guard as the Co-Sponsor. For registration visit Visit Calicut Half-Marathon Facebook page for constant updates.

Sangram’17- What Sangram truly stands for!

United in spirit, sports coordinators of IIMK,B,T,V

“Sangram”, the literary translation of the word from Hindi may be “Combat”, but the 3-day Sports championship between four elite IIMs of the south stands for much more. Every Indian is aware of what it takes to be accepted by these premier institutes and this face off between IIM Bangalore,IIM Kozhikode, IIM Trichy and IIM Vishakapatnam was not just amongst MBA students, but amongst all-rounders, each champions in their own rights.

IIM Kozhikode was bestowed with the honour of hosting this year’s highly anticipated edition and we strived to make it memorable for all the contingents. Inspired by the exemplary arrangements made by IIMB when they hosted this event last year, we kick-started the event with a jaw-dropping opening ceremony replete with a first-ever laser show, traditional lamp-lighting ceremony and a scintillating dance performance which left the audience wanting for more.The highlight, however, was our pioneering efforts in introducing aerial coverage of the events and capturing heroes-without-capes battling it out for crowning glory(check out the teaser below). The after-movie made from these videos will soon be shared with all to relive the excitement!

While the players and the cheering squad gave an adrenaline rush to all who witnessed it, others worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that IIMK played its role as hosts to perfection. Sports, however, is not limited to the sportspeople alone. Understanding this sentiment, the hospitality was extended to the supporting staff and the bus drivers of the contingents as well. We were helped in our efforts by none other than our beloved chettas and chechis ,who voluntarily jumped in like the superheroes they are and even lent their voices for the cheering squad!

But this post would be incomplete without acknowledging the whole-hearted support of the other three participating IIMs. Coming down all the way to Kozhikode’s picturesque campus and then giving it their all for this three day battle of guts and glory highlights their exemplary sportsmanship and team spirit. IIM Kozhikode have emerged champions this year after having faced and fought intense competition. Kozhikode has seen the worst rains this year and yet our contingent has practiced day in and out to rise up to the challenge.After all, sports and the twin spirits of camaraderie and sportsmanship is not a zero-sum game.

Sangram is not just an event, but an integral part of our existence. The contingent is not comprised of just our batch-mates but warriors of our wolf pack.Nothing can beat the thrill of representing your college, bearing the hopes of your comrades upon your shoulders and winning it for the home ground. All said and done, all the four IIMs stand united in our fight to lift the Sangram trophy. With renewed vigor and sportsmanship we all await Sangram 2018 !!


PS: For a good read and a good vibe, follow IIM B’s ‘official blog’ post on Sangram 2017:


~Public Relations Cell, IIM Kozhikode

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We Are The Champions of Sangram’17

Aspiring managers from the most prestigious business schools in South India came to prove their mettle in the field of sports, as they battled it out for the coveted winner’s trophy at Sangram, the annual sports festival contested by IIM Bangalore, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Trichy and IIM Vishakhapatnam.

The 12th edition of Sangram was hosted by IIM Kozhikode and proved to be better and bigger than all its previous versions. And after ferociously indelible training and planning, the splendid performances were there before everyone during the three-day sports fiesta which saw IIM Kozhikode emerge as its champions.

The festival which commenced on Friday saw a plethora of indoor and outdoor sporting competitions. The inaugural ceremony was a gala affair with awe-inspiring music and dance performances accompanied by an enthralling laser show with lights as radiant as the participant’s energies and enthusiasm.

While cricket, football, kho-kho, volleyball, throwball, basketball, tennis, badminton, hockey, and swimming gave the contestants a chance to showcase their efforts and continuous sweat-it-outs at the field, games like chess, pool and carom demanded them to wrack their mental faculties in order to enhance their accuracy and ability to strategize.

Focussing on the medals tally, IIM Kozhikode led the roost with 11 gold, 8 silver, and 1 bronze, followed by IIM Bangalore winning 8 gold and IIM Trichy and Vishakapatnam winning 1 gold each.

Rohan Agarwal, the Overall Coordinator for Sangram, emphasized on the Sports Committee’s efforts that they invested over a period of three months, overcoming the forces of nature and an extremely crucial summer placements week. Extending heartfelt gratitude, he thanked the competing teams and the audiences, “It was not the effort of Sports Committee alone but everyone who came to play and more importantly who came to cheer across the venues. I would also like to thank the participants from IIM Bangalore, IIM Vishakhapatnam and IIM Trichy for coming and making Sangram such a big success.”

IIM Kozhikode certainly is enjoying the reveries of this impactful achievement. It has successfully ‘Gone the Distance’ and now waits for Sangram 2018 with new found confidence to repeat this winning feat.


Every year, come November, ‘Kampus’ starts buzzing with excitement and activity- Backwaters, the flagship management fest of IIM Kozhikode will be drawing to a close on Sunday evening after 3 days of intense competition, entertainment and some groundbreaking cultural performances.

Day one started on a high note, with a potpourri of activities offering something for everyone. The Wipro Earthian Sustainability Quiz and SBI Sustainability Challenge case study were some of the highlights, promoting sustainability in business, the theme of the festival.

Shiksha, a CSR initiative to help school students through career counselling workshops garnered much appreciation. A student from White School, Calicut said “It cleared a lot of doubts. I was asked to write down my top 5 career choices and then given a roadmap on how to best achieve each of them”.

Other highlights of the first day included Avatar- a flagship event for finding the ultimate CEO and Model United Nations which had delegates debating over crucial concerns facing the world today. The evening saw an enthralling performance of Kalaripayattu, a martial arts form originated in Kerala.

The penultimate day commenced with the final round of Chennai Super Kings Re-Launch Case Competition. According to a participant “It was a great opportunity to study the world of sports franchisee through such an iconic brand”.

A collaboration with Josh Talks brought to IIMK inspiring personalities from diverse backgrounds- including N Rajiv-the president of the first gram panchayat to offer free Wifi to the public, Jabir Karat who encouraged moving towards a waste-free India and Jijo Kuriakose-the founder of Queerala all of whom attempted to broaden the horizons of young, bright minds by their extremely moving speeches.

The festival also had an appreciable mix of activities that kept everyone on their toes like the Treasure Hunt whose plot twisting clues made people dash around the campus and a highly interactive workshop by Mad over Marketing. The second day also saw a standup act by Biswa Kalyan Rath, which had everyone falling off their seats in laughter.

Sunday evening would have performances by IIMK’s very own music club and Anand Bhaskar Collective, the rock fusion band that has everyone jamming to their tunes before the 3 day long management saga concludes.

An attendee belonging to SIBM Pune commended Backwaters’ efforts saying “My experience so far has been amazing. The organizing team has been very accommodative and I would definitely recommend coming to IIMK Backwaters to my juniors next year.”  The event saw a participation of around 22,000 (including overseas students) in over 23 events with prizes amounting to 6 lakhs.

Biswa Mast Admi in the house – Power packed comedy on day 2 of Backwaters ’17 !

The comedian who came into prominence through his popular YouTube series “Pretentious Movie Reviews” , has  recently launched his own show “Lakhon me Ek” after the success of his stand-up act Biswa Mast Aadmi on Amazon Prime Video. Biswa always has his audience in splits and recently visited IIM Kozhikode on the Day 2 of their flagship management fest- Backwaters and enthralled the B-school students with his quips and punch lines.
PR Cell got a chance to catch him right after his performance and shot a few questions.Below are the excerpts from the conversation :

PRC : What was your “Aha” moment when you realised you wanted to be a stand-up comedian ?

Biswa : There was no aha moment. It happened gradually over time like most things happen. I used to write and whatever I was writing was becoming popular, so I thought of trying it out on stage. It was a gradual process.

PRC : When was your first gig then?

Biswa : I think it was December 2012.

PRC : You have a new show called “Lakhon Mein Ek” on Amazon Prime. How much is the character based on your life story?

Biswa : It is in fact inspired by my life and a lot of my friends too. The elements of the world that are seen are all real but the story is an amalgamation of various situations and stories.

PRC : Who is your favourite comedian and why ?

Biswa : My favourite comedian would be Louis C.K .Why ? Well he’s the best comedian in the world!

PRC : We have a lot of budding comedians in our campus. What would be your word of advice for them?

Biswa : Just keep doing it , just keep being funny! You should go to different cities and try your material out and you should stick with it for at least two years because that’s how long it takes for you to get your first 45 minutes. Don’t give up and if you want to do it seriously then performing in your college is not going to be enough because your college crowd relates to something that the rest of the world doesn’t really grasp.

PRC : Who did you like the most in our in- house performances today ?

Biswa : Well I liked all of them ! They were very good.

PRC : Okay so our last question. Can we expect a comeback of “Pretentious Movie Reviews”?

Biswa : Unfortunately I don’t think so. You should stop a show on a high note! Hence, we did not drag it too long.

PRC : Thank you so much for your time Biswa !

International day at IIMK

The students’ international exchange committee at IIMK recently celebrated its international day to facilitate cross-cultural dialogue between the resident students and the ones who have come to the college as part of a 3-month exchange program. The evening began with an array of delectable snacks prepared by the students. This was followed by a ‘cult night’ which consisted of multiple dances and song performances from both sides of the border. The highlights of the evening were a fun contest of interpreting Italian hand gestures and the fashion show in the end.
PR Cell recently took an interview of a couple of such students to get to know them and their issues better. Excerpts.

PRC: If you could just give a short introduction about where you’re from, where you were studying earlier and the reason you decided to come over here.

Camille: My name is Camille, I am from Paris in France. I was in business school in Bordeaux, had the chance to do an exchange program and wanted to discover Asia.

Francois: I am from Strasbourg in the east of France, studied in the north of France in Lille in EDHEC business school, decided to come to India as I wanted to discover the country. Besides, one of my friends had visited the campus last year and told me that Kerala is a beautiful place. Hence decided to opt for this college after going through the feedback.

Julien: I am from Neoma in France. Live in Strasbourg. Wanted to discover India hence decided to come here.

PRC: So how are you finding it considering all of you wanted to see India. Has the experience been good so far?

Julien: We already did a lot of travel together, just came back from Mumbai. Saw the Ajanta and Ellora caves. Also went to Wayanad and to Cochin as well. And we went to Goa as well.

PRC: Goa is amazing during New Year’s time. The hype is even more.

PRC: How are the academics here compared to your universities back in France?

Julien: I think it is comparable because the subjects are the same. Even the marks and examinations are similar. And I think we are working a little more here than in France. But yeah for me it is quite comparable.

Francois: I agree with Julien, it’s quite the same.

Julien: I chose the same subjects I had back in France so getting to know the Indian perspective on those, because here you have Indian companies as well

PRC: Do you face any language barriers in learning here?

Julien: Oh yes! During some of the lectures.

Francois: Also some teachers speak really fast and with a strange accent.

PRC: What do you do in your free time?

Camille: When we have a day or weekend, just travel and chill, go explore Kerala and Calicut, or the beaches next to us.

Julien: Watch football a lot.

PRC: Any suggestions on how we can improve the forex program for people who are coming later? Or anything you liked in particular that you want us to continue? Any sort of feedback.

Camille: Till now everything’s been really good and we have been welcomed really wel, food is good. So yeah everything’s good for now.

Francois: It’s very well organised.

Julien: Maybe the buddy program. Because we have to find out who he or she is, and if they don’t contact us, we don’t know.

PRC: That is a good suggestion. We can definitely look into that.

PRC: What was the one thing that you missed coming here from your hometown?

Camille: Wine and cheese.

Julien: So only food and drinks. *everybody laughs*

PRC: Which restaurants have you been to over here?

Camille: We’ve been just down, to the seafood restaurant, Downtown Café, the restaurant in HiLite mall, Sarovar.

PRC: You can try Sea Queen, it’s near Calicut beach.

PRC: And what would be the one thing that you miss about Kozhikode when you go back?

Julien: The heat. And Indian food, I feel.

Camille: And Indian people that we met. The campus also, and the view from my balcony.

Francois: Yes, the campus is nice.

PRC: Alright, thank you so much for your time. It was nice to get to know you better.

Tête-à-tête with Mr. Saurabh Mahajan: A PR Cell exclusive

IIM Kozhikode had the pleasure of hosting Mr. Saurabh Mahajan , Director of product Management at Ola and an alumnus from the PGP Batch of 2012,who had come down to the campus after almost 5 years to deliver a guest talk on managing IT products and services with a bird’s eye view on the cab aggregation industry.
The Public Relations Cell, IIM Kozhikode, took a trip down memory lane with Mr. Mahajan, in an edifying session to discuss the Indian IT scenario, product management, hands-on demos on interactive platforms, and the ride-sharing revolution, complete with generous sprinklings of the vicissitudes of Kampus Life!
A few excerpts:

PR: Most of our alumni are of the opinion that our campus has changed. Do you concur?

SM: Surprisingly, no! Since my graduation in 2012, I honestly don’t feel coming across any major changes in the campus, except perhaps for the increase in the number of stairways, adding to the ease of access to the academic blocks. What is heartening to note is that the classrooms have been technologically upgraded to qualify as “Smart classrooms”! Speaking of diversity and inclusion, ours was the first batch to record a whopping 33% of women in management without quota which garnered a lot of media attention and it is encouraging to know that the numbers remain similar 5 years down the line as well.


PR: From having majored in Finance-based courses, you now handle Product management. Has the transition been smooth?

SM: Frankly speaking, Product management is more General management than an IT profile, encompassing courses on Economics, Finance, Marketing et al. Of course, my two years at Zynga as an associate product manager molded me in the intricacies of this role better than any Indian Start-up ,in those times,could ever had. Zynga was essentially data-driven and 6 months into the company, I was already looking after a $50mn business as Revenue PM for Mafia Wars. 16 months and a couple of promotions later, I decided to scout for new avenues and jumped on Adobe’s bandwagon to develop Cloud-based services in India from scratch. Having served as the worldwide PM for the Adobe InDesign application, my work revolved around managing IT products and services. So, in a nutshell, I have been fortunate enough to dabble in myriad courses under the PM umbrella!

PR: With such lucrative options at Adobe, what made you take the plunge for Ola, a domain hitherto unchartered with regards to your profile trajectory?

 SM: Adobe’s stock options, albeit tempting, were nothing more than the proverbial golden handcuffs for me. I was still on the lookout for newer and bolder challenges and Ola made all the right moves. Ride-sharing in the Indian startup universe was an appealing enterprise for me. Ever since then Ola have been investing heavily in marrying technology with customer experience, case in point-Ola Play. My team handles personalization of the application to improve our CVP and increase the customer base. Our modus operandi involves a robust feedback mechanism, where we conduct dip-stick interviews with customers for effective need analysis and partnership with content providers.

PR: We often hear of divides between technical and managerial teams. How should one approach such technical-driven roles with an MBA from a premier B-school?

 SM: Interestingly enough, this is indeed a reality. Most MBAs tend to be left-brained and designers tend to be right-brained! However, these are two a different functions. Once you are through with the campus placements, the results you yield and the ideas you bring to the boardroom matter than the college you come from. The biggest challenge one faces coming from a premier B-school is the propensity of misplaced authority, making one come off as arrogant. What really matters is how you leverage your learnings and keep the team together. Humility is an art that needs to become a habit.

PR: From gaming to designing to car aggregation, this has been quite a diverse trajectory for you. How easy is it to switch profiles?

SM: Situational factors, more often than not, play a major role in job-hops. My decisions were heavily influenced by the circumstances of the times. Having said that, I would still recommend prudence and patience in deciding career shifts, simply because it comes with its own set of challenges of learning and re-learning complex and highly esoteric products and processes. In the end, problem-solving acumen coupled with relationship building and quick thinking abilities are vital skill-sets for almost all profiles, especially PM roles.

 PR: Your take on innovation in India?

SM: For any company to survive in India’s highly competitive markets, they need to constantly innovate. Many companies have tried and failed, yet there are still many, Ola being one amongst them, that are constantly striving to make services affordable and accessible to almost all strata in society. Ola has the potential to turn profitable as we speak, however this would only reduce our consumer base by almost half. Hyperlocal presence increases penetration rates and assists in creating demand. Companies like Swiggy is even experimenting in food aggregation!

PR: With disruptions becoming the order of the day, how do you foresee Ola changing the fate of urban mobility?

 SM: Accessibility and rampant unionization remains an issue. But Ola, as a company, is looking to solve the transportation problem. There has been a noticeable change with drivers shifting from the heavy vehicle to the light vehicle and passenger transportation segments, with better opportunities and standards of living.   If given a chance, we may even venture into boats!

 PR: Any message for the upcoming batches?

SM: I think it’s important to make the most of the two years at IIMK; observe people, learn from them, build a view on things. Keep yourselves updated on what’s hot and happening .In the end, grades and assignments don’t really matter. What truly matters is being a part of cognitive and affective associations, being a better problem solver. There is no secret to doing well in life, but it’s important not to fool oneself, not to have an illusion of learning.




Konversations with Sandeep Chatterjee

Discussion started where I introduced myself as coordinator from PR Cell and how back in the days of PGP05 there was no other committee except from Student council and Placement Committee. We went on to discuss the range of topics from college campus looked like back in the days of  PGP05 to relevance of IT as domain for MBA students. Find the excerpts below:

PR Cell: At your time this campus barely came into existence so for someone from say PGP05, 02 it would be difficult to connect to IIMK (in terms of what it is now)

Sandeep: Yeah I know, we were here for 3 months so for us it is still relevant, the campus

PR Cell: So for someone like us, do you think something can be done to bring earlier batches PGP01-05 in sync with this campus?

Sandeep: So what happened three four years back PGP03 people came down and that was a good initiative. So if you can catch some of those guys, maybe they can bring in their batch mates. This would be a good way to start. I know they cannot connect but still would love to see the campus. PGP03 managed to get 43 of their batch mates to Nostalgia.The one with Mr Sandeep Chatterjee

PR Cell: This is something we can put across to Alumni Committee and see how it works

Sandeep: Absolutely. Make them feel important can body will come

PR Cell: And for you especially how does it feel to come back?

Sandeep: For me it is really really close, I fell ill and this Institute gave me a chance to complete my studies. So that is why I have very strong feeling about IIMK. Whenever IIMK asks I do come.

PR Cell: I noticed that you are pursuing your PHD, how did this shift to learning happen ?

Sandeep : So what happened is , I do some courses here I take EPGP courses here , Mathew Sir then suggested me why don’t you do a PHD then. It was his push that this will be helpful. What happens is that in industry we tend to loose connect with the academia. Why do I come here? It’s a Darwin’s theory that you guys are better evolved thus the kind of questions you ask, we get ideas from that.

PR Cell: Moving on a different question now, most of us come from IT/tech background and kind of work that you do would require a lot of tech know how. So do you think that MBA prepares you for such roles?

Sandeep: if you go to hard core technical field there are people with strong technical aptitude who will offer resistance. So same thing happened with me. What I did I put extra efforts learning it. It may not be coding that I am expected to do but still I need to have a basic sense of it. Of course in an MBA program we are not looking to make them technocrats, even the courses that we have in here give you a basic idea of it. At least if you get the logic right you can survive.

PR Cell : It is said MBA is going to evolve in next few years, is this technical integration that is being talked about ?

Sandeep : Yes, There is a lot that is coming in technology, Cloud, Machine learning etc . So we need to appreciate technology. You need not write code but you need to know how IOT is going to solve your problem, generate sales for you then you are ok to go. These latest trends should be incorporated in the course curriculum.

PR Cell: How was brand IIM K evolved over the years?

Sandeep : IIMK as a brand has done really well for itself. Only problem is now it has stagnated. Reason could be that we are publicising ourselves in a fashion that we should. We have the business museum. No other B-school has that. We should it our advantage. Now MBA is a foreign concept but globalising Indian Thought. Who would have thought we could bring in Indian perspective to it.

PR Cell: Well Sir it was a great discussion that we had, any message for newer batch that has joined the institute ?

Sandeep : Have high hopes but don’t expect something as high as strategy roles. It takes time for that. Utilise your time well here and make the best of it.

The Public Relations Cell Team with the Alumnis

This interview was part of a series conducted by Public Relations Committee, IIM Kozhikode ( Interviews arranged by Alumni Committee of IIM Kozhikode ) as a part of Alumni Interaction done in the month of July, 2017


Konversations with Abha Banerjee

Abhabanerjee As part of the Women’s day celebration at IIM Kozhikode organized by the Gender Sensitization Club of IIM-K, motivational speaker and leadership author, Abha Maryada Banerjee was invited to address the K-community. Besides, Abha  being India’s first woman motivational speaker of international acclaim, she has written two books on Women leadership. The Public Relations Cell got the opportunity to converse with her


You are considered to be India’s first woman motivational speaker. What made you choose this seemingly unconventional profession?

I used to be a lawyer. From early on, I was socially inclined and I had a vision to contribute to society. I believed social change was possible. I was in this zone of building people. We need to build people if we want social change. The only thing available, at that point in time was law. I took law presuming that it will get me into the social sphere or places where I could either cause an influence, an impact or in some sort of way get involved in the social system but it was a different ball game altogether and I eventually made up my mind that personal development, motivation etc was an industry in the west, at that point of time. 20, 25 years ago. And when I looked at it, I realized, this is where I need to be, if I really need to follow my vision of building people. I need to understand people first, I need to understand how people can be built, how minds can be built. So I quit law after 10 years of practise and re-educated myself at the age of 34, to do what I am doing today. And I think it was a very wise decision because I am doing a lot better over here. I have helped lakhs of people across the world. It was unconventional, but I did not think it was because I understood it so well, that I thought everybody will pick it up but that wasn’t the case

Did you face any hurdles, along the way?

Too many things happened at that time, but eventually I found it was very important like bathing. Like you bath every day, every day you need motivation. It took me a lot of time to convince people that it works. I had to work for 3-4 years initially for people to be able to see value. Now of course it has mushroomed, everybody is doing it. A lot of people can talk but to have the power to influence and impact people in a positive way is a skill that one should learn. I have taught to many people on how to work on building others. So unconventional as it may be, it is the most important thing, people should be able to learn from. It is like a complimentary education. We get educated in a traditional academic sense but we need to build people. If we don’t do that, the education also sometimes can be wasted.

You have written a book “Nucleus” on women leadership, what do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

Firstly, women are not supposed to be leaders. There is this perception that women live, not only in India but also in societies abroad, where a woman is not deemed to be leadership material. She is not deemed to be strong, she is not deemed to be mentally tough That is one of the key reasons, why we don’t see a lot of women over there. Secondly, women have to bear kids, they have to raise children.

Leadership per say requires a lot of energy and commitment for anybody who takes it up, be it a man or a woman.  Women have to give away a lot of time to things like family, which is equally important. It we choose to do both it can be extremely tiring and exhausting. In the social sphere, in the corporate sphere or in politics, the amount of time it takes for a woman to get there, it is easier to find men who would want to do the same job.  So by the time you can identify a woman who can do it, there would be 20 men standing there, saying they can do it. Plus, on the top there is more men than women so it is easier for them to hire men. Men feel uncomfortable with the stronger leadership women show. They tend to sort of push you back a little bit or cause hurdles on the way. And I don’t think it is with bad intention. We as a society have not evolved enough to see women standing side by side with men or women doing bigger stuff or women doing things that men are doing.  Nowadays things are changing, which is very good. The last hurdle I would say is in women’s minds. Who do not consider themselves leaders because they have always been taught to stay in the background. They have been taught to play from the periphery. To calm down and let things be.

Can you name one individual whom you would call your inspiration?

There are so many people. However, I am a follower of Swami Vivekananda. He is no more but his teachings and who he was as a person is still relevant. I started reading his work at the age of 9, and by 13 I would call myself a full-fledged fan. I would do anything his teachings said. But when I picked it up and I could relate to what it says, it becomes part of your personality. His thoughts are very modern, very cosmopolitan it terms of equality between men and woman, about religion, about society, about the east and the west and about how we build ourselves. He was one of the key influences in my life. He taught that we have to build ourselves as people, if we want to build other


You are a mother, entrepreneur and you travel around the world. How do you maintain a work-life balance?

I don’t believe in this word called balance. I use a word called integration. When we talk of balance, we presume that there is lack of it. So it is a matter of prioritizing what is important to you. Keeping in mind, I have to take care of my family, my children, my work, my husband and myself. I have had to prioritize everything in my life. I have very little social life, I do not watch television or movies, I have very few friends, I do not go out, I don’t eat out. So that is the time, I spend with my family and my work. I have always had an office, but I have never worked from an office. I have worked from my home. And I make sure I work from 8 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon, when my children are at school. Now that they have grown up they are not depended on me anymore. Also I systematize everything. I make sure things are in place. I enjoy coming to places like IIMK, this is more useful than me being out elsewhere.

What is your message for IIM K students?

Celebrate your potential. You have huge potential, you have to identify it, you have to work on it and make sure you build yourself to a point that people can see you and be helped. Always be happy with yourself but keep building on everything that you have, whether God has given you gifts of any kind, talents, education, people around you

Interviewed by | John | Rohan | Public Relations Cell – IIM Kozhikode