Sunday, 22 December 2013

Farewell Speech at IIMBs MPEFB 7 Valedictory Function

Entrepreneurship is no longer a small revolution in India. But, IIM education is still a privilege to those who can crack CAT and therefore at the outset I would like to thank IIMB and NSRCEL in recognizing that entrepreneurs don’t have to be able to answer 440 questions in 2 hours and 20 minutes and for giving us the opportunity to access IIMBs brilliance through this course. 


 I would like to thank the faculty for a creative subject design and engaging delivery. Special thanks to Professor Kumar and Professor Sabrinathan for being accessible to all of us and for giving importance to our sometimes silly and sometimes challenging issues. Thank you also to Pandurangan, our course coordinator, his team and the MDC team for impeccable arrangements – we would have never survived without those cups of coffee. Prof MSN — as our class fondly calls him - deserves more than just a special mention. Thank you sir, for always being so open, positive, patient and responsive with our feedback, requests and at times whims. Thank you Prof. Chetan for accommodating our extra lecture – clearly you were a big hit with our class, especially the girls. And, Prof. Ramya for re-introducing us to the joys of outdoor learning, exploiting the beautiful campus of IIMB. 

One of the best things about this course was that it was always focused on application and not having an exam meant that we were learning for the sake of knowledge and not chasing the certificate. Though, I have to add after all this time, it doesn’t hurt to hold the certificate. 

Our class appreciated the amazing guest lectures by excellent specialists, covering a whole gamut of practical subjects like funding, valuation, IPR, negotiation, family business structures that have helped us to co-relate our classroom learning to the jungle out there. A special mention of the most appreciated and inspiring guest lecture by IIMB Alumnus Saumil Majumdar. The MPEFB7 class would like to thank him for sharing his entrepreneurial journey with honestly and loading it with practical insights. 



When I came to class for the first time in March 2013, all I had was tremendous passion for my idea The Active Holiday Company. I am leaving today with a strategy and action plan thanks to Prof. Rejie's persistence (we promise to read Grants book chapter 5 very soon, Sir). I am also armed with structured thinking, a vision and mission statement, a potential investor, Prof. Sabri will be pleased to know – a financial forecast, a board of advisors that includes an IIMB Alumnus as well as a classmate from my MPEFB course. Not a bad take away at all!

I am teased by my class for having got maximum vasooli from this course - first I was on the winning team of the Capstone Game – thank you Arun for all your hard work with that. At a point, it did seem like I had come to this course only to let the forces of nature give me a successful launch pad for my book Wise Enough to be Foolish and I am indebted the faculty and to each of my classmates – in particular Rohit, Desraj and Rajesh, for their support in helping me promote the book. Rajini, I wish you were graduating with us today. Each one of you has helped me learn, grow and improve in a way nothing else can and it has been an honor for me to know each of you, individually. 


I would like to end by sharing with you my best takeaway from this course and it is best expressed in these lines that JK Rowling delivered to Harvard's graduating class in 2008. She said to them: I have one last hope for you, which is something that I already had at 21. The friends with whom I sat on graduation day have been my friends for life. They are my children’s godparents, the people to whom I’ve been able to turn in times of trouble, people who have been kind enough not to sue me when I took their names for Death Eaters. At our graduation we were bound by enormous affection, by our shared experience of a time that could never come again, and, of course, by the knowledge that we held certain photographic evidence that would be exceptionally valuable if any of us ran for Prime Minister. So today, I wish you nothing better than similar friendships. 

And, that is truly my biggest takeaway from this journey. I wish my classmates the very best in their entrepreneurial life ahead and should they at any point feel compelled to run for PM, abandoning their business ambitions, the one thing they must know in their hearts today, is that they will always have 24 votes to count on.  

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