On December 10, 2016, the Indo German Training Centre (IGTC) witnessed the most outstanding show of love, affection, warmth, unity, bonding and nostalgia; with a lot of credibility and respect. It was after all, the 25th Anniversary Celebration, Alumni Reunion and Homecoming; which students, alumni, partner companies and associates participated in, with full gusto. Taking IGTC’s success and standing to a new level, the event, held at Taj Lands End in Mumbai, ended up being an unforgettable experience for one and all.
Dignitaries, IGTC’s Corporate Training partners, faculty members and over 200 alumni took time off their busy schedules to be there for the event and reminisce about fond, old memories. One feeling which clearly took over all the alumni was nostalgia, but furthermore, they also made one more memory to cherish and remember with a smile, for the rest of their lives.
The event commenced with an inaugural panel addressing the audience and sharing their thoughts, experiences and journey with the IGTC.
Bernhard Steinrücke, Director General, IGCC spoke about IGTC’s contribution to skilling and IGCC’s commitment to help continue this march forward. “What started in 1991, with just seven member companies and 22 students in the first batch, today, provides a skilling system unique in India, that we can be proud of. Over the years, we have trained more than 1,500 young Indians for more than 100 German and Indian companies, with the help of around 100 highly qualified faculties, 15 staff members in charge of the training centres, under the leadership of 23 Presidents, and two Director Generals. Of course, looking at the humungous number of unskilled people in India, and the dire need for skilled talent to make ‘Make in India’ a reality, the contribution by Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC) and Indo-German Training Centre (IGTC) is only a drop in the ocean. This drop in the ocean, certainly though, does not make us consider giving up. On the contrary, the achievements over the last 25 years, and especially those in the last five years, only motivate us to excel further. The success of our students and the companies proves that we are on the right track. It is a coincidence that speaks for itself; that IGTC started at the same time when liberalization of the Indian economy started. Looking at where India stood in 1991, compared to where it stands today, and where the Chamber with its training activities that started in 1991 sees itself today, there is no reason to be pessimistic. On the contrary, there is only reason to be not just optimistic, but even enthusiastic. With opportunities present all around the place, the IGCC, with its 60 years’ experience in India is committed to turn IGTC’s ‘shining silver’ of 25 years into ‘glowing gold’ in the next 25 years. IGTC, you don’t get older!”
C. S. Mathur, President, IGCC, congratulated IGTC and wished it well for the future. “IGTC, in the last 25 years, has successfully promoted the worldwide famous, German Dual Education System, in India. It has groomed and trained more than 1200 students based on the dual education system. The programme is based on specialized courses, practical training at its various partner companies, and innovative workshops amongst other aspects. This enables students to understand the industry in every facet of business, to learn practical aspects of governance, ethical issues; and to emerge as responsible corporate citizens. We all look forward to IGTC continuing its outstanding programmes and achieving excellence and many milestones in the years to come.”
It was then time for Dr. Juergen Morhard, Consul General, German Consulate, Mumbai, to highlight how incredibly IGTC was standing true to its vision. “An Indian heart and a German mind – that is the vision which inspired the IGTC’s foundation, 25 years ago. And that is the promise which the IGTC still makes, to each and every single one of its trainees today. In order to let international business relations and prosperity grow, we need to foster a new generation of excellently trained young people. Ones who are open-minded, who think independently, and who are prepared to take the challenges of an even faster changing business world to come. Due to the relentless dedication of the IGTC team, the centre has expanded now, to three locations in India. During the last 25 years, IGTC has cultivated over one thousand young minds, and equipped them with the skills and self-confidence, necessary to take on managerial challenges. May IGTC’s success story continue for the decades to come, and may the spirit of ‘An Indian heart and a German mind’ serve well for many more generations of students! After a quarter of a century, IGTC’s commitment to provide hands-on experience of top quality education, has not wavered but it has intensified.”
Prof. Volker C. Ihle, Head of Department – Business Administration and Engineering, Duale Hochschule Baden-Wuerttemberg, Karlsruhe, Germany and Founding Director of the IGTC shared his experience of nurturing IGTC, right from the start. “Out of all the phases of my life, my stay in India was the most interesting, challenging and colourful experience. Mumbai is not only the birthplace of our eldest daughter, but also a second home for me. One reason for this is, of course, the Indo-German Training Centre (IGTC). Within 25 years, it has grown from a small baby into a still young, but most successful lady, thereby becoming the Alma Mater of many brilliant graduates, who are now spread all over the world. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to become one of the ‘founding fathers’ of this institution, and I am also proud of it.”
Mickey Dayal, General Manager, Internal Audit, Siemens, Former Director, IGTC, Mumbai, 1991-1999, spoke about setting up the course at IGTC. “I was most excited at the prospect of setting up this training course, since I had undergone a similar training in Siemens, Germany, and had many years of corporate experience. I knew that it was very important to incorporate a training philosophy that would make the students ideally suited for the corporate world. It has been an honour and privilege to have been associated with the IGTC from its inception, and it is most heartening to see its continuing success today.”
Malini Pant, Alumni, Batch 1991-1993, Executive Director, Head – Global Business Resiliency, India & Philippines, JP Morgan Chase shared her mantra, “Don’t refuse new challenges, value different perspectives, deal and thrive with ambiguity, value friendships and relationships which last a lifetime.”
Everyone on the inaugural panel then wished IGTC a hearty congratulations and a long, successful journey ahead.
After the panel members addressed the audience, it was the time to unveil the celebratory issue of the Indo German Training Centre, the Festschrift.
Mr. Steinrücke also unveiled the IGTC coin minted to commemorate the 25th Anniversary Celebrations.
“As per Indian tradition, you distribute sweets. So it is my honour and privilege to feed you all German sweets, since we are Indo-German”, he said as he fed sweets to Ms. Radhieka Mehta, Director, IGTC.
After these proceedings, everyone in the audience was compelled to become students again, as the Ballroom of Taj Lands End transformed into a classroom. Capt. Raman, Former CEO, NATGRID (National Intelligence Grid) and President, Reliance Industries; was the professor for the day. He conducted a Masterclass on ‘Leadership in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) World’. It was an informative and very interesting lecture, as the army was used as an example, to explain the operations of the corporate world.
Just like intelligence is key for an army, in order to succeed, it is very important for organisations to possess domain knowledge, and IGTC lays great emphasis on this aspect. In the army, living together increases the speed of trust among individuals. Since organisations too are made up of people, it is important that the interface and interaction with others increases trust while working together. Such relationships create fluidity. When interactions with human beings are based on well-intended rules and intuition, they lead to bureaucratic empathy. And it is this empathy that enables rules or general guidelines to be applied flexibly, on a day-to-day basis, when required. Considering the VUCA world, lubrication and fluidity is just as important to an organisation, as it is to an army. Being exposed to the same trauma, leads to bonding among people. And while the types of trauma situations faced by an army versus an organisation are completely different, investing in trauma training is important for both.
After the Masterclass, everyone got together to relive their bond with the institution that had given all the alumni; a stepping stone to a fulfilling career, friendships that stayed, lessons during the long hours spent in the classroom, and old and new relationships which they still cherished. The IGTC anthem was premiered and all the students sang in unison, as the anthem was featured for the alumni. It was a moment of pride and each one felt the true spirit of being an IGTCian!
After celebrating being IGTCians, the audience was witness to an insightful Panel Discussion, ‘Learning: A Gift, A Skill and A Choice.’ The panel comprised of B. R. Suresh, Vice-President – HR, Bosch Limited; Rupesh Basu, Chief Manager – Human Resources, Siemens Limited; Dr. Raman Ramachandran, Chairman & Managing Director, BASF India Ltd. and Head, BASF, South Asia; Priya D’cruz, General Manager- Local HR Services, Bayer Group in India and Alumni, Batch 1993-1995; Surabhi Mittal, Vice President, HR & Administration, LANXESS India; Dr. Santosh Bhave, Senior Vice President HR, IR & Admin, Bharat Forge Ltd; Arun Roy, Chief Financial Officer, Bosch Power Tools – SKIL North America and Alumni, Batch 1992-1994.
The discussion began with an opening statement on the topic, ‘Learning: A gift, A skill and a choice.’ Ms. Priya spoke about how much focus is given by organisations, to ensure the appropriate learning and development plan for each employee; and how critical this ends up being for the achievement of organisational goals. Mr. Rupesh shared his thoughts about the skill sets required to be globally employable and talked about how they can be developed, whether through traditional academic methods or through different approaches/ pedagogy for building competencies.
B.R. Suresh addressed the role of mentorship in the learning process and explained how it was encouraged in their organisation.
Dr. Bhave shared his personal experience in the journey of learning, and suggested learning and development initiatives that could be introduced in order to change or bring something new to the organisation.
The panel also shared views and opinions on how IGTC plays a more dominant role in meeting India’s talent needs.
Post the panel discussion, another important ceremony took place, the felicitation of the IGTC faculty members. The people without whom IGTC would not be where it is today. All the current faculty members were given memento cards, with a short write-up about them.
It was really special because these cards were written out by the students themselves. All the faculty members were touched and felt honoured by this sweet gesture from their students.
As the morning event drew to a close, Ms. Radhieka Mehta, Director, IGTC, concluded with a Vote of Thanks to everyone who had played a role in making the event a huge success.
Soon it was time for lunch; but for the alumni, it was time to hit the photo booth and click pictures with their batchmates, friends, and faculty members, to capture as many happy moments as they could.
After lunch, the alumni took a stroll ‘down memory lane,’ by sharing their fun-filled memories and reminiscing about college life at IGTC. Each batch was given the opportunity to put up a performance on stage. Many alumni relived their IGTC days by mimicking their professors, singing, and narrating stories from their IGTC days. The event concluded with a prize distribution for the batch with the highest attendance.
Mr. Arun Roy, Alumni, Batch 1992-1994, composed a poem for IGTC; which he then handed over to Mr. Volker Ihle, Mr. Mickey Dayal, and Ms. Radhieka Mehta, as a memento.
In the evening, it was an open house at IGTC. All the alumni were invited back to IGTC, to see how the institute had changed over the last 25 years. Current students had made sure IGTC was all decked up with streamers and balloons as it welcomed its alumni and made them all nostalgic.
There was also a wish wall, for alumni to share their thoughts and wishes for their Alma Mater, for the years to come!
The day ended with a fantastic party at Flamboyante, Mumbai, for all the alumni. Everyone came dressed in their best, and made the most of the occasion by spending as much time as they could with their fellow alumni.
It was an event like no other and brought a lot of alumni back to IGTC. IGTC’s anniversary celebration carved a niche in the memories of all the alumni and paved the way for many more such celebrations to take place in the future. IGTC’s 25th Anniversary Celebration, Alumni Reunion and Homecoming ended on a bittersweet note; everyone was delighted to meet their peers once again, and this time, each one of them found it a lot harder to leave and say goodbye.