TISS is bliss- Story of a curious TISSian

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    Mukesh Bhavsar has done BE (Civil) from Mumbai and is currently pursuing Human Resource Management from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Hyderabad. Earlier he was involved in The World Tower Project, the world’s tallest residential tower. He has also worked for a couple of NGOs in India and UK on alternative education. He frequently writes for Marathi newspapers and magazines on various social issues. Mukesh likes to spend his free time exploring himself and the world through classical music, travel and his camera.

    An MBA from a top university like Harvard or Stanford – was something that had never failed to entice me. But after having a look at their ‘modest’ course fees, I realized that my name is Mukesh but it is not backed by Ambani; so I would better focus on top institutions in India. TISS HR has remained at the top of my list because some of my role models who I met during my stint with the NGOs belonged to that institute. I wanted to live those values instilled in those dignitaries. TISS has always been close to my heart because when you visit the campus and interact with the students, you realize that there is something positive in the air around that campus. TISS has been an institution of excellence in higher education that continually responds to changing social realities through the development and application of knowledge; towards creating a people-centric society that promotes and protects dignity, equality, social justice and human rights for all. The waiting list of the TISS HR course haunted me twice before I finally got to be a part of the first batch of TISS HRM Hyderabad. In this article instead of limiting myself only with HRM, I will try to share a little general perspective.

    The knowledge of current affairs is important to crack the TISS entrance test, but it is even more important if you wish to steer clear through the actual course at the institute. A future business manager shapes the future of the society and to be able to do so well, it is essential that he is informed and aware about the stark realities. It is mandatory to study foundation courses on society, economics and politics in the first semester. It is a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study these subjects from the faculties having LSE and Oxford degrees under their belt. A few week into the institute and you find yourself actively taking part in discussions and debates on gender equality, CSR, sustainable development and many other topics. If you hang out with the development studies, public policy and other species at TISS who are trying to reimagine future (as our motto says), the broad perspective that you develop is truly beyond management. You are expected to read sufficient (read: super long) material provided before the class because the professors work as facilitators and not tutors. Practical assignments are often shaped in a way to make you face the harsh reality of the society – how about visiting a village and studying the persistence of caste hierarchy in a Smart City India? The motive is primarily to make you uncomfortable; make you move more towards acceptance; and help you to imagine solutions. Your brain is continuously fed and churned by exposure to thoughts of eminent writers and activists who have broken the barriers of conventions and are trying to rebuild a saner world. As a HR student of TISS, I not only feel proud about the HR heads who are TISS alumni but also about Medha Patkar and Anu Aga, who are trying to heal thousands of lives. The long list of eminent alumni brings us pride and honour but, most importantly, a sense responsibility to carry forth the legacy.

    Being a part of the first HRM batch has presented us with a bag full of challenges, responsibilities and opportunities. I feel like I am a part of a startup! We have good flexibility but limited resources so we learn what to focus on and how to become more efficient. Studying Labour Law from an industry expert who practised it for more than 30 years becomes a memory of lifetime. Visiting factories of ITC and VST industries reinforce classroom learning.  Attending various conferences of NIPM, ISTD and CII remains an enriching experience. During our weekly sessions we have had the chance to interact with highly accomplished professionals like ex-global HR head of P&G, Director- HR Asia-Pac of Signode, Senior VP-HR of Synchrony Financial and many others.

    Then came the most awaited part of the semester- field internship: every semester (yes!) the students work in different companies to understand business practically and implement their classroom learning. Hyderabad today is a city where the past intersects the future at every cross-road. Many MNCs have changed the growth trajectory of the city. Despite being the first batch, from the overwhelming response and respect we receive from the industry has made it evident that our future is certainly bright. Many of us are now associated with ambitious projects under the guidance of great names in great companies. What field internship offers at the end of two years is an experience of working in various industries; unlike other B schools where one summer project in one company ends it all. The concept breaks the monotony and the barrier of narrow exposure at the same time. By understanding the intricacies of various sectors, students are enabled to make informed choices and in the long run it helps them shape their career well.

    Though we remain occupied with assignments and presentations, we learn how to multi-task and make time to participate in competitions, festivals and college movie clubs. A serene walk around the lake adjacent to the campus, and listening to the song of various birds, is like meditation after a long day of work. A small batch of students has its own advantages: power-packed discussions with the guest faculties, focused attention and personalized guidance. The chairperson of the course is an IAS officer who has a plethora of experiences to share which teaches us about world what is well beyond the reach of the curriculum.

    Many of TISS alumni are in very senior positions in my chosen career path. The mentoring and help we get from the alumni in the sector of our choice, will certainly be key ingredient in our success in the post- MBA career. A successful career after a management program comes with its share of stress and pressure and a good management program prepares you to handle those challenges. You should be ready to get grilled and churned when you take admission into TISS. Before coming here, I heard it many a times that TISS is not B school but take my word for it, TISS is not a regular management institute but something that makes you a lot more than just a ‘manager’. In conclusion I strongly believe that the most interesting part which distinguishes TISS from other institutes is the field internship and its philosophy. TISSians believe that Institutions are not known for their infrastructure but for their vision, the legacy of alumni and the history they create. We are on our way to create another one… Join us!

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