D. Shivakumar of the Aditya Birla Group Speaks on ‘Courage. Heart’ at SPJIMR Graduation Ceremony 2018

Mumbai: SPJIMR, one of India’s top ranked schools of management, welcomed about 2,000 guests for the Graduation Ceremony 2018 where participants from four programmes were conferred diplomas and certificates of honour. The spruced up campus buzzed with excitement right through the Graduation Day on April 20, 2018 as graduands dressed in customary robes sported sashes of different colours as per their programme.

The purple sash represented the two-year Post Graduate Diploma in Management’s (PGDM) graduating class of 2018 while the red sash marked the students of the Post Graduate Executive Management Programme (PGEMP) from five batches: 53, 54, 55, 56 and 57. The students of the Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGPM) adorned blue colours whereas the pink sash announced the very first graduating class of the newly launched, unique programme, the Post Graduate Management Programme for Women (PGMPW). It was the first time four programmes graduated together.

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The ceremony started with the Graduation procession led by the Chairman of the SPJIMR Governing Council, Mr. Deepak Parekh, the Chief Guest of the ceremony Mr. D. Shivakumar, the SPJIMR Dean Dr. Ranjan Banerjee and the Faculty Coordinator for the Graduating Ceremony Dr. Suranjan Das, followed by Governing Council members, programme heads and faculty members attending the ceremony. A total of 586 students who were to receive their MBA-diplomas followed the procession and entered the large graduation hall that was set up for the day on the north west of the 45-acre SPJIMR lawns and campus.

Ms. Priti Miranda, Registrar – Academic Administration and the Master of Ceremonies welcomed the procession amidst cheer and applause from the families and friends.

Mr. Parekh, Chairman of HDFC, who has attended SPJIMR Graduation Ceremonies every year since he became Chairman of the SPJIMR Governing Council, announced, “You are students only for one more hour now. You will soon become alumni.”

He then introduced the presiding Chief Guest, Mr. D. Shivakumar, Group Executive President, Strategy and Business Development – Aditya Birla Group and former CEO of PepsiCo India. Prior to PepsiCo India, he was with Nokia India. Mr. Shivakumar has also had a long stint at Hindustan Unilever Ltd. where he worked with more than 50 brands.

The Dean Dr. Ranjan Banerjee was received with loud cheers as he rose to speak. He announced the Institute’s landmark accomplishments, accolades and breakthrough innovations achieved in the past academic year.

Taking inspiration from the SPJIMR brand values of Courage and Heart in his message to the outgoing students, he said, “There is no courage without fear, just as there is no learning without failure. Courage dips when we allow the opinions of others to influence our sense of self-esteem. It is difficult to have heart when insecurity rears its head. Courage and heart have many dimensions, but for me it means that you are able to present your best self to the world on a sustained basis.”

“As you grow, learn and develop the courage to face reality on a sustained basis, you will then find the heart to shape that reality. As you do so, remember that you have a family at SPJIMR, a family that is rooting for you, rejoicing in every step you take, and ever ready to hold you when you fall. You are SPJIMR. We are who we are because you are who you are,” the Dean added.

The Chairpersons of each programme then presented the Batch Reports highlighting key moments from what was an eventful year for each programme on campus. From the new initiatives undertaken, to batch achievements and amusing anecdotes, the parents got insights into the participants’ rigorous, entertaining and enriching life on campus.

Dr. Vasant Sivaraman, Chairperson of PGDM, said, “The graduation day is a landmark event which is reflected in the anticipation and excitement of all assembled here. With the batch now stepping out to join the SPJIMR family as alumni we look towards your ongoing engagement as we continue to nurture the institution. We are there for you and will take pride as you build the life you’d like to lead.”

“Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfilment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart,” said Dr. Preeta George, Chairperson of the 21-month PGEMP programme, as she quoted Martin Luther King Jr. to beautifully sum up the prevalent mood.

Prof. Prem Chandrani, Chairperson, PGPM, said, “The musical talent of the PGPM batches has been exemplary. On a personal note, I am proud to have been very deeply associated with each one of you right from the beginning of your engagement with the programme; which is a source of great satisfaction.”

Prof. Vineeta Dwivedi, Associate Head, PGMPW, said, “This is a special day for SPJIMR as its first ever all-women batch is graduating today. We are happy and proud to present the maiden batch of SPJIMR’s Post Graduate Management Programme for Women. We all wish the graduating students a very bright future; they are not just the leaders of tomorrow but guiding examples to many other women, who are still waiting to return and fulfil their destinies.”

Chief Guest Mr. D. Shivakumar spoke about the role of courage and heart in the students’ future beyond SPJIMR and shared effective ways to navigate the four fears faced by many freshers. He said, “You are a rare, talented lot. People will give anything to be in your situation today, sitting where you are with a successful degree. You are one of India’s best. Have the faith and the courage to succeed. As you progress be good and do good. Formal education makes us use more of our mind to look at everything. Use your heart too; you will make a big difference. If you have courage and a heart, you will go far. Go pursue your dream. A big dream needs a big heart.”

The students were officially deemed as graduates after completing the timeless graduation rituals of oath-taking, signing the register and the conclusive hat throwing. The iconic graduation hats flew joyfully in the air announcing both the end of one journey and the beginning of another. As PGEMP graduate Rohan Kanungo aptly said, “The programme may conclude here but the journey goes on.”

Dr. Suranjan Das, Faculty Coordinator for the Graduation Ceremony, gave a vote of thanks, listing out a long list of volunteers and others who had worked under his leadership for over three months for the event. This was the first time Dr. Das led a ceremony that ran as a ‘silent’ event with no announcements but names and images of students on three giant LED screens as they came up on stage to receive their diplomas. It was a ‘Design Thinking’ approach that picked up ideas from Mumbai’s ‘silent’ airport and implemented it flawlessly at the ceremony.

Freshly minted graduates then joined the after party to celebrate their achievements. Faculty socialised with the graduates and their families over unhurried dinner, recounting shared memories and clicking snapshots for posteriority. The lit fountain in the lake, beside the venue, also reflected the overwhelming joy of the festivities and provided a beautiful backdrop for encapsulating many a memory, of the day gone by.

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