Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's time for stress management at premium B-schools

Last Sunday, students at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B), took lessons from Kathak maestro Birju Maharaj in, guess what, stress management. It’s not just IIM-B. IIM-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) and IIM- Kozhikode (IIM-K) have also incorporated stress management in their curricula. Be it with faculty or students, premium business management schools are engaging newer initiatives for stress management.

“Birju Maharaj gave us a lot of examples from his life and also explained the role of music and dance in curbing stress in the corporate world. He explained to us the role of music and dance in the aspect of management and how it can help us keep track of our career goals in a highly competitive sphere without losing perspective. Some of our past speakers included V. Rajaraman, the father of Indian cloud computing, and S. Gopalakrishnan, CEO of Infosys. We are looking at calling some sports personalities and politicians to give us their insight,” says Ashish Dongre, media cell coordinator at IIM-B.

With B-schools witnessing high competition and stress levels on campuses, even stress among faculty is a recurring phenomenon. For example, Prathap Oburai, a professor at IIM-A, went missing on July 1 during a pilgrimage in north India. The reason assigned was that he had been suffering from depression.

That’s why, with yoga sessions, gyms and guest lectures, B-schools are trying newer ways to beat stress. “As a part of faculty initiatives, we have yoga sessions twice a week that can help in beating stress. We even have a separate meditation room for both students and faculties at the campus that is like a personal zone, where people can take some time in between their day,” says Keyoor Purani, professor of marketing and chairperson of the staff welfare committee at IIM-K.

IIM-B has an elective course, personal value growth and career opportunities, for second year students of the postgraduate programme in management and the postgraduate programme in software enterprise management. The course allows students to report any kind of stress to faculty members and interact with them for this. B-schools have also observed that stress occurs specifically during the beginning of academic session and placements. Students at IIM-A will get mentors on campus from this year onwards.

“Each mentor will get eight students who then follows up on any student-related issues, including their entry into the campus to academic submissions to placement issues. After their admission, they can directly contact the mentor on queries they might have about the institute and who will even give them a guided tour of the campus,” says Parampreet Singh, general secretary of the Students Affairs Council at IIM-A. Around 50 second year students from the post graduate programme in management (PGP) and PGP in agri-business management have started this mentorship programme for the benefit of freshers.

IIM-K has also roped in a non-governmental organisation, Mitr, whose team of counsellors and psychologists visits its campus every Wednesday to interact with students. “The team of counsellors from Mitr has also trained 15 students to act as mentors so they can help with stress management and provide support systems to other students,” says Mansi Baranwal, coordinator, student media cell.

Source: Business Standard, July 16, 2011
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