Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Student Consultancy Reflects XLRI’s Social Face


True to the spirit of the strong social ties that XLRI has been fostering over the 50 years of its existence, students of XLRI currently provide free consultancy services to NGOs and Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs). They have united under the banner, Students' Initiative Group for Managerial Assistance (SIGMA) to "help those who are helping others".

One of the recently completed projects was for the Don Bosco Self Employment Research Institute (DB SERI) – an institution for informal vocational training for school dropouts. According to members of SIGMA, "reaching out to people at the grass root level was really challenging" through this project. They took up the task of formulating effective vocational programs that would help the unemployed earn self-sufficiency. The solution followed after an in-depth cross-functional analysis and application of B-School learning.

The exposure also gives them a first hand feel of the real India and sensitizes them to critical social issues. A new project for an NGO is currently on the pipeline: It involves doing a need-gap analysis in rural villages near Kolkata and suggesting working models for the NGO to operate in these places. In all these projects, the students find support and guidance from the Faculty Coordinator of SIGMA, Prof. Biswatosh Saha.

Apart from NGOs, they are involved in providing consultancy to entrepreneurs and SMEs around Jamshedpur too. Currently, SIGMA is working on an impact assessment and cost-benefit analysis of the social initiatives of a private company at Jamshedpur.

Future plans of SIGMA include documentation of the projects undertaken along the lines of Harvard Business School Cases. This knowledge bank would supplement current courses like Rural Marketing and future courses like Corporate Social Responsibility by providing valuable classroom inputs.

Other future activities in the pipeline include the conduct of a national-level inter B-school Social Business Plan Contest and a Newsletter focusing on the common ground between businesses and the society.

Also Read:
The Economic Times, Learning Curve, March 15, 2004:
Building Beyond Books

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