In order to understand the challenges faced b the people at the bottom of the pyramid, Indian Institute of Management Udaipur's PGP Batch 2018-20 recently completed week-long immersion programme in the rural and tribal regions of Rajasthan and worked closely with local NGOs. During the immersion, students undertook assignments on unsafe behaviour in rural areas, assessment of government's Ujjwala Yojana and common property resources.
Students prepared for the immersion by taking a course on the Indian social and political environment. Following the course, the class was divided into five-member teams and each worked with an NGO for a week. For the immersion, IIM Udaipur partnered with many NGOs including Seva Mandir, Manjari Foundation, Jatan Sansthan, Gandhi Manav Kalyan Society and Ajeevika Bureau. These grassroot organisations worked as liaison and host for the students. Students conducted door-to-door surveys, focus group discussions and informal interviews in the villages.
IIM Udaipur is strategically located in the southern part of Rajasthan, which is surrounded by tribal villages. This region performs extremely poorly on the human development index, with 85 per cent tribal population in the belt. The rural immersion programme allowed students to increase their sensitivity to rural issues through direct experiential learning.
"The best part of the rural immersion was meeting the women self-help groups (SHGs) in the villages. We got to learn a lot from their ethical and transparent practices," said Akash Singhal, student (PGP 2018-19). Another student, Bhini Yadav (PGP 2018-19) said, "As managers, we need to factor in what impact our decisions will have on real people and real lives."
IIMU's rural immersion course, which has been part of our flagship PGP programme since inception, reflects our commitment to create responsible leaders by providing values-based education and to make a meaningful contribution to the region. We believe that it is essential for future managers or entrepreneurs to have a good understanding of the social and political realities of the country," added Janat Shah, Director, IIM Udaipur.