Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It was not just another HR course

Second day of the second quarter it was the second lecture of the day. The time table said it was time for Individual Dynamics in Organization. An HR course! I had had an experience of HR courses in my engineering days. They were always theoretical, always monotonous, always boring. Whether it was Industrial Psychology or Industrial Sociology, most of them would look appealing in the beginning but after the initial few lectures there would be mass bunks especially planned for them. Not that they weren't interesting, but usually because the class would fail to see what value they would add to an engineering student. Credits and marks for these subjects required just a lot swotting, the last night before the exam.

On these lines were my expectations from this new course. At-least two credits would be easy to earn, one sixth of the quarter was only done. I expected myself to doze in the lectures.

With such stereotype already built in my mind I sat expectantly to see who the professor was, what would be her grading, was she more focused on end-quarter exams or there would be assignments? Will there group assignments or the boring individual ones.

The class started, the professor swept in with a smile on her face. Asked us to form groups of eight. We were to discuss about the best and worst class that we had ever attended. Focusing on those two classes, we had to recall what the professor had done, and what the students had done in those classes.
This was exciting. Everybody had something to share from their experiences in the first quarter. Each group shared their finding with the prof. For best class, professors were usually perceived to be fun, simple to understand, setting easy tests and expecting fewer assignment while students were attentive, interactive and sincere.

At the end of this activity, the professor said that this was supposed be a contract, we were supposed to behave as if we were back in the best class, while she would act like the professor we described from the best class.

It was quite and exciting start for a course. The initial comments at Gurunath after the class were, "Yaar aaj pehli baar laga jaise MBA ki class thi" (First time I felt, I was in an MBA class).

The next few classes were also immersive and interesting. Video clips from movies were an integral part of each lecture, something most of the class would look forward to. Concepts which might take an hour to understand through formal instruction, could be perceived clearly by the class through those 10 minutes clips. In class group activities and continuous interactive learning meant that even the laziest bum would never dream of dozing off in an IDiO lecture. Those two hours were a recharge, between all those mind boggling concepts of Operations Research and Cost Accounting.

My personal belief about all HR courses transformed with this course. Though not sure if I learnt what I was supposed to learn from this course, but this course helped me learn more about me. It helped me define who I was. The MBTI test that was part of the class activity, explained a lot of things about. I realized that the reason why I hated taking all those phone calls, going to all those parties wasn't because something was wrong about me. It was just me being a typical INTJ.

The reflected best self exercise was a similar moment of reckoning, helped me finally get a clear picture of the superman hidden in me. Everybody can't be best at everything, knowing your best self can help you channel your energy in that direction, helping you get sure shot success. This activity helped me in imagining what kind of career would really suit me after my education ends.

Another module that though not formally taught, but rather learnt by us through class presentations and guidance from professor, was on decision making. It only helped changed my attitude that gut feeling and intuition were the right way forward. I have started appreciating the fact that decisions of a group usually are more effective, better, than the decision made by an individual. I have actually changed the way I approach towards taking important decisions. I heed to people's advise even when they suggest something that I'm really against to. Because now I know that maybe I have a bias, which is blocking me perception, not letting me think from a certain point of view. A little introspection has also helped me regret a few important decisions in past which could have been different, had I attended this course earlier.

Class about personality, was another one which forced me to reflect on past events. I could now analyze and perceive the ego states of people when they were performing certain actions, my own ego states which forced me to behave in a certain way.

While each lecture of this course had a unique set of takeaways, two classes were a treat. First being a guest lecture by Mr. Shiva Subramaniam, on creativity and innovation, and other being a conclave of experts from the industry. The conclave bridged the gap between campus and corporate. Hearing those professionals talk about Pygmalion effect, Halo effect in their respective organizations was like a ISO certificate for the content of our course. This was effectively we were being taught what was actually relevant in the corporate world. Importance of an HR course wasn't never so great in eyes before.

The assignments were another learning experience. Coordinating with groups of 8 people to get things done wasn't a walk in a park. It was like managing your own pseudo-organization to attain the objective. Only glitch here was that the deadlines weren't evenly distributed throughout the quarter, some of the assignments that were really interesting got caught into the end-quarter frenzy of submissions, quizzes and presentations. The video making assignment was one of the best assignments we were asked to do in our MBA program. It really helped express what we had learned, with our creativity. Any competitor to this could only be LSG's Systems Thinking assignment.

Overall this course was really a fun and learning experience. It was inspiring too, to see how passionate one should be about things they do. Individual Dynamics in Organizations wasn't just another HR course for me, rather it broke the stereotype that I had for such subjects, helped me appreciate the value of these subjects, would look forward to another same experience in the next quarter.


  1. Thanks for the feedback Prashant; but was expecting a detailed outline of the learnings from each session. Anyway, glad to know you blog regularly!

    1. Oh I was actually trying to do the opposite, concise all my notes into a single blog-post. Thank you mam for reading though, and also for the course it was really a great experience. :)

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