The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Corporate beep on B-school campus
- Cell companies make presence felt at IIMC with scholarships, lectures and fests

From prized scholarships to management lectures to festivities — cell majors are ringing loud and clear on the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) campus. And they are doing much more than just shopping for the best B-brains in this part of the world. After Hutch (erstwhile Command) and Airtel, latest entrant Reliance Infocomm has lost no time in hopping on to the B-school bandwagon.

The telecom behemoth, in its first-ever brand tie-up in the city, has joined hands with Pepsi to co-host Pratyancha, billed as the “first ever theatre festival in a B-school” in the country. Airtel, with its scholarship for meritorious IIMC students, and Hutch, with its series of management lectures at Joka, already have a strong campus presence.

“We are in the midst of drawing up our brand positioning strategy in Calcutta… We decided to tie up with the theatre festival as we found both the IIMC name and their proposal interesting,” said a Reliance Infocomm spokesperson. The main attraction at the two-day Joka meet, January 24–25, will be the in-house production, presented by the B-school’s Dramatics Cell, based on CEO-turned-novelist Gurcharan Das’ 9 Jhakoo Hills, and Sobha Yatra by Rangakarmee.

“We set up pitch teams for various campus events, who call on the corporates with concrete proposals for sponsorships. Our pitch team members went to Reliance with a well-worked-out plan and it’s great that they have decided to tie up with this unique programme,” said an IIMC external relations cell spokesperson.

But, while officially it’s just an “ad-hoc” decision for Reliance Infocomm, the other two cell majors have made it clear that association with IIMC forms a part of their strategy in the city. “We have always tried to be identified with the city, its people and culture. The management lectures are organised to facilitate development of managerial skill and knowledge among the college students and corporate executives in Calcutta,” said Sunil Sood, chief operating officer, Hutch. According to Sood, the objective of tying up with the country’s oldest IIM is to “take knowledge to a bigger cross-section of Calcuttans”.

Airtel, part of the Bharti Group, offers scholarships to IIM students amounting to Rs 1 lakh, during the two-year MBA programme. “Developing professional talent is our goal, and from Bharti Foundation, we try to help meritorious students pursue higher studies in the field of management. There is hardly any commercial motive behind these activities,” said Deepak Gulati, chief executive officer, Airtel, taking a break from conducting interview sessions at IIMC on Tuesday.

With corporates supporting campus activities, it’s advantage IIMC students. “This kind of support from major companies will help us experiment and come up with a wider variety of programmes, besides giving the institute a better branding,” added a spokesperson on the Joka campus.

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