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By: Interviewed by Nidhi Ann Jose
The Roar of Our Lions
An interview with the FORMS Chairman Chris Mathew Regi and Inflore Coordinator Akshay B .Nair on 27th October 2017
Nidhi Ann Jose: Hello, Good Afternoon Gentlemen!
Chris Mathew Regi, Akshay B Nair (Together): Good Afternoon Nidhi
Nidhi: Congratulations! We are very proud of our Management Fest Inflore and this year's Inflore was seen as one of the best managed one. What is the top most thing in your mind as you look back?
Chris: The first and the foremost thing that comes to mind is the sponsorship amount which was more than 6 lakhs followed by the 2000+ participants. This has never happened before in the history of Inflore. Another astonishing fact was that this year all the RCBS students were on campus, for whole two days of Inflore, unlike previous years.
Nidhi: Dedicated bunch of students we have!
Akshay: Yes of course! Pertaining to college invitations, which I was dealing with, we had the maximum number of participants this year. We concentrated more on the colleges outside Kerala, expanding our horizon, which did bear fruit. This changed the overall champions from the usual SCMS to a college outside Kerala. Quite an unexpected one!
Chris: Also this was the first time we directed our focus towards social media promotions. We thought why invest on an outside entity when we have talented resources in-house. Our own college media team did a wonderful job. We had people like Tom Sabu (MBA B), Aibel Johny (PGDM B), Achu Alexander (PGDM A) and others working on the media coverage. We even had Kiwi ads supporting us from Le Cocoon, The Rajagiri Incubation Cell.
Nidhi: How is Inflore positioned among other tier 2 B-School fests, what makes it different?
Chris: I think what makes Inflore different is that the sponsorship part is completely handled by the students, unlike in other colleges where it is funded by the college itself.
Akshay: The distinctiveness of our fest according to me is the amount of effort we put into hospitality. We had people running around for days to accommodate everyone. Food was prepared on campus on both days by the students themselves; Robin Mathew (MBA A) did a wonderful job in heading the food committee.
Nidhi: “The ROAR”! What was the idea behind selecting this year’s theme?
Chris: John Joseph (MBA B) was handling the Theme hunt. Initially, we received 18 themes and we asked them to elaborate, based on which 7 were shortlisted. The final theme was selected by Manoj Menon Sir and B Harish Sir. This year’s theme was selected combining the suggestions put forward by Jean Jacob Joseph (MBA A) and Maria Rose Reni (MBA B).
Akshay: The theme was decided as “The ROAR”. It was a great challenge to portray the theme inside the campus. Last year we had spent about two lakhs for creativity alone, but this time we used resources that were environment friendly and which were available on campus.
Nidhi: What were the greatest challenges you faced in putting all this together?
Chris: There were a lot of issues prior to Inflore. The university exams were scheduled around the same time that Inflore was to be happen, so we realized that the number of participants from Kerala would decrease tremendously. Therefore, we planned to focus more on colleges outside Kerala. This shift was a great challenge for the invitation and social media committee.
Akshay: Also since it was Onam season, companies were not ready to spend additional money on promotions through Inflore. Another issue we faced regarding sponsorship was the reluctance due to issues like demonetization and GST Bill introduction.
Nidhi: Quite a few hurdles you got through successfully there, guys. What about areas for improvement for the coming Inflore?
Chris: One issue was the shortage of ID cards for the non-management participants. The number of participants was way more than what we anticipated, but it was settled within an hour by printing extra ones.
Nidhi: From volunteer to event coordinator. What was your takeaway as a junior forms member from Inflore 2016 and how did it help you in organizing Inflore 2017?
Chris: When we were volunteers, we concentrated only on events that we were part of. This actually helped us in organizing this year’s Inflore as we were well versed about the issues that can come up in an event.
Akshay: Only when you excel as a volunteer can you co-ordinate things effectively as a leader. This time our committee members were so innovative. For example, we were able to change paper pen registration to digital form. This actually helped in maintaining an accurate list and we were able to give an exact count for the food committee.
Nidhi: What would be your word of advice to the junior FORMS & Rajagirians who would be organizing Inflore 2018?
Chris: A word of advice to the juniors would be to plan everything in advance. This year since we had worked hard on the planning part, it could be executed well. Saji George Sir pointed out that this year was an error free Inflore, something which has never happened before. The event heads made it a point to put in their maximum effort to minimize problems.
Akshay: What I would like to add on is not to take decisions individually, rather take a collective decision; seek advice from your teachers because they have enormous experience.
Nidhi: Now tell me, do you think Inflore helped in escalating yourself from a student to a professional fit in the corporate world?
Together: Yes of course! Both of us got placed (laughs).
Chris: When I was chosen as the Chairman, I had informed my teammates that I have not even been a class leader in my life. It’s actually team work that does the trick. Everyone will do the work allotted to them but the greatness depends upon how everyone helps each other in case of necessity, after the allotted work is completed. That’s the success of Inflore. I think even in corporate life we should help each other. Both of our past work experiences has helped in developing patience as well.
Nidhi: I believe both of you have patience written into your personality now?
Chris: Yes, also learnt how to handle people! There were about 2000+ participants and others from college connected to Inflore who we had to take care of. And we possibly cannot contact everyone in person. Everyone has their own differences as they are bought up in different situations and have different characteristics. We naturally cannot contact everyone in person. We now know how to get work done through a person. So even in the corporate world, as managers we will have to work with people and get things done; much like the definition of management by Mary Parker Follet “Getting things done through others”.
Akshay: During the final interview of Deloitte they asked me “What is your strength? How good are you in managing people?”. Before Inflore my answer would have been some fake reply, but now I can confidently say that managing people is something I sure can handle!
Nidhi: How supportive were the management and the faculty coordinators?
Chris: The main reason this fest has been conducted successfully for the last 13 years is the extent of support offered by the management and the faculty coordinators. Saji George sir has rich experience in organizing Inflore and Susan Mathew ma'am provides unceasing support. They have supported us right from the planning phase until the end of the programme.
Akshay: In giving thanks, the people who cannot be excluded are the non-teaching staff of the campus, from security guards to the technical team. Mr. Mathew K Paul and Mr. Joby Antony who toiled day and night deserve heartfelt appreciation.
Nidhi: To what extend is Rajagiri’s famous Motto ‘Immersive Learning Experience’ and ‘Inflore’ connected?
Akshay: This is the kind of event where you get a chance to apply whatever you have learnt. Be it digital marketing, finance, people or operational activities. Whatever we do, we either learn something new or strengthen the concepts we learnt.
Chris: Rajagiri as an institution is different from other colleges in many aspects. The kind of campus we have, the events and activities we are offered, the exposure in terms of participation in fests, organizing events, etc. It is not something every B-school can offer. Among these the most important one is the concept of immersive learning experience.
Getting involved in this event not only leaves you with loads of memories but also real life experiences. Nothing can replace it. The biggest proof that Rajagiri practice what it preaches is Inflore.