Presenting the IGTC PGPBA Batch 2015-2017, the largest ever in IGTC’s history

The BASF Award for Business Ethics and Corporate Governance winners, Prasannkumar Pardhi and Prantik Bhatt in the presence of (l-r) Dr. Laxmi Nadkarni, Director, Human Resources, BASF India; Swati Arora, Resourcing, Human Resources, BASF India; Radhieka R Mehta, Director, Indo-German training Centre; George Sparschuh, President, Schott Glass and Bernhard Steinrücke, Director General, Indo-German Chamber of Commerce.

PGPBA Batch 2015-2017 celebrate their by tossing their graduation caps in the air

The mandatory IGTC cake cutting ceremony with the PGPBA Batch 2015-2017 and Radhieka R Mehta, Director, IGTC

Seniors vs. Juniors soccer match in action!

All are winners after the Seniors vs. Juniors soccer match!

A journey that started 18 months ago, and now, after studying more than 40 subjects, interning for six months in dream organizations, sitting through numerous examinations and series of assignments, and making everlasting memories; 78 students of the PGPBA Batch 2015-2017 graduated on March 04, 2017.

The Convocation Ceremony was held at the Presidential Ballroom, Hotel Vivanta by Taj – President, and what a ceremony it was! Ketaki Vaidya, PGPBA student, Batch 2016-2018, captures this momentous occasion of her senior graduating batch from a junior, current student’s point of view.

Finally, the day that the batch had been waiting for had arrived, their convocation. But this wasn’t just a convocation, it was also an amazing demonstration of the long legacy of IGTC’s relations within the Indo-German business community. The atmosphere was buzzing with energy and pride. In the background, the music of the IGTC anthem was being played, to add to that feeling of nostalgia. Excited as they were, the graduates were already at the venue, well before time.  They were welcomed by us, their juniors from the PGPBA Batch 2016-2018.  As we helped them get ready with their graduation gown and caps, we witnessed the happiness and joy in their eyes.  They had worked hard for this day and truly deserved to be wearing their gowns and caps with pride.  We were equally excited and thrilled to see our buddies (yes, that’s how we address our seniors) graduating. After all, these were the same people who had planned an amazing induction for us, embraced and welcomed us as we began our journey, and proved to be incredible mentors along the way. Even as the event unfolded, they were still being our mentors, albeit, unintentionally, as they made us realize, that to reach this stage i.e. Convocation Day, we had to pull up our socks and contribute towards our training and learning in a much more significant way.

At the same time, unknown to the arriving dignitaries, faculties, corporate guests, and parents and family members of our seniors, the IGTC’s management team was trying to tackle a major crisis; the hired photographer and cameraman had not arrived! But that’s when the power and spirit of being true IGTCians emerged. Soon that one missing photographer was replaced by more than 20 of us taking charge to capture the entire event on our mobile phones and cameras, as well as doing a live broadcast on various social media platforms!

Amidst all that background drama, the event started dot on time, we follow German punctuality, after all! Seated at the dais were the Chief Guest, Sunil Mathur, Managing Director and CEO, Siemens Limited; the Guest of Honour, Dr. Jürgen Morhard, Consul General, German Consulate General, Mumbai; George Sparschuh, President, Schott Glass; C. S. Mathur, President, Indo-German Chamber of Commerce; Bernhard Steinrücke, Director General, IGCC; and Radhieka R Mehta, Director, IGTC.  The happiness on our Director’s face showed how proud she was of her beloved graduating students.

Even though it was a formal event, it was high on emotions as well, and that became evident right at the beginning of the ceremony, as our Director took to the mike and requested everyone to stand for the IGTC Anthem.  She encouraged everyone present to join in and sing along.  As the Ballroom echoed with the words ‘IGTC you’re the reason we find success’, we could actually feel every word of the anthem coming to life around us.

In his opening remarks, Bernhard Steinrücke threw light on the challenges faced by the world in current times. He spoke about how the changes in politics and economy around us are challenging, but yet can be very fruitful if tackled tactfully. He compared free trade policies of different countries and raised an interesting point by asking if free trade was actually free. He compared the Chinese policies of trade to the EU policies and then discussed the connection and impact of the new emerging markets on them.

President C. S. Mathur, in his welcome address, affirmed his belief in the IGTC’s education process by saying that, “Industry recognises you even before you start your journey. And this is something that IGTC has been proving with every graduating batch, year after year. Education need not always be the conventional one where one learns only through classroom but one should be continuously adding feathers to the cap.” He praised all the graduating students for their achievement and encouraged them by saying, “There is nothing one cannot do. Today, the sky is no longer the limit as we are talking about inhabiting the outer space. Be unconventional and extraordinary because there is nothing that one is incapable of when one decides to put their focus and mind on it.  Play the game well! The results will follow no matter what!”

Consul General, Dr. Jürgen Morhard, in his heartfelt speech, talked about the various ways one can be connected to Germany.  He motivated the seniors by saying, “You are the ones who have to carry the tool box because henceforth you are going to enter into various streams of careers and you are going to represent IGTC wherever you go!”

Chief Guest, Sunil Mathur, MD and CEO, Siemens Ltd., commenced by saying that the IGTC and its programmes are very close to his heart.  This is because at Siemens, many phenomenal people, holding senior positions, are IGTC alumni.  He touched upon the challenges the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous (VUCA) world puts the industry in, and in spite of the unstable circumstances, how all the stakeholders expect great results from various multinational companies. His speech included comments on ‘Black Swan’ events like BREXIT, demonetisation and Trump coming to power, which can create new business opportunities.  And on the ‘Digital India’ campaign, which adds logic to the workflow by reducing the inevitable human errors, thus increasing the productivity of businesses. He ended his speech sharing his definition of corporate success. “It is not the salary and the size of the cabin that tells about the achievements and success of a person. Today, success is equivalent to your values, it is no more about salary and the position you hold in the industry. Your values influence everything.” In short, his message was to live a life guided by values and to inculcate those in our workplaces.

George Sparschuh, President, Schott Glass, added to Mr. Mathur’s advice on values, “The values associated with the industry are trust, integrity, accountability and fairness. Those are the pillars of success.” His parting words of encouragement to all of us were to spend more time with our family and friends, learn leadership qualities, and align our career with our personal goals. According to him, one way of achieving that was by writing down what we want to do; and then working towards making it happen.”

Following the dignitaries on the dais, our favourite marketing professor Sagar Narsian took to the podium to share his words of motivation and inspiration. He defined success as, “What makes you happy, and fulfils you. It is not by the size of the office you occupy or the number of people who report to you. It is the number of lives you touch and the number of lives that you change. That makes a difference, and that is success. The ability to do what you want, on your own terms and at your own conditions is what defines future success. And that is where the new leadership has to lead new companies; to lead their teams to live life on their own terms and conditions.” He concluded by wishing a thundering success to the graduating batch on this new paradigm of success.

As soon as Prof. Narsian’s speech concluded, our Director, Radhieka R Mehta announced a ‘special surprise speaker’ for the day.  As everyone looked around, somewhere from the back of the Ballroom, an elderly gentleman walked up to the dais and introduced himself as Shrikant Khare, father of the graduating student, Sayali Khare. His short but heartfelt speech about how proud he was of Sayali and how thankful he was to IGTC for shaping her into such a confident young management professional, was truly one of the most touching moments of the entire convocation ceremony.

Finally, it was the turn of our seniors, the graduates, to take on the stage and make their grand finale! Seven of them took the audience through their journey with such mixed emotions that in the end, all we could think of was, “WOW, it’s truly a privilege to be an IGTCian!” One may call it a coincidence or perfect training, their speech was also about values and how they identified and defined them. In their words, “The capability of being agile and being able to tap the power of synergies is the next stage in the evolution, which ultimately culminates in the making of a true leader. The common thread that binds all this (including values) together is innovation – which at the pinnacle, can be a world changing idea, but at the foundation, it could be just a new perspective of looking at an existing process.” They concluded their speech with these beautiful sentences, “If everyone is thinking alike, nobody is really thinking. I think when we decided to come to IGTC, we embraced this spirit of innovation. We placed more importance to the unique course structure at IGTC than just a paper degree.” Their video, capturing the journey through a series of photos and short video clips, drew a lot of laughter and nostalgia.

It was then time for the graduates to receive the fruits of their hard labour – their certificates! Two batchmates announced each winner with a unique title, one that they will always be remembered for at IGTC.  By then, the missing official photographer and cameraman had also arrived and they captured each expression and applause from the parents and family members, who watched with pride as their children received their hard-earned PGPBA trophy and certificate from the dignitaries on the dais.

Every IGTC Convocation includes the announcement of the main awards – Dr. Günter Krüger Award for Excellence, BASF Award for Business Ethics and Corporate Governance and Bayer Scholarships ‘Championing Success’.  This year, there was a new addition, Siemens Award for Excellence.

BASF Award for Business Ethics and Corporate Governance

Through a specially-designed curriculum, top management professionals from BASF including the Chairman and Managing Director, Dr. Raman Ramchandran stepped into the shoes of a faculty member, and entered the IGTC classroom to engage students in a course that sensitised them to the topic of Business Ethics and Corporate Governance.  IGTC is greatly indebted to BASF for their selfless involvement and huge commitment in terms of time and effort.  Dr. Lakshmi Nadkarni, Director – Human Resources, BASF, South Asia presented the award to the two toppers in this course, Prasannkumar Pardhi and Prantik Bhatt.

Bayer Scholarships ‘Championing Success’

The Bayer Scholarship Programme called Championing Success was conceptualized under the leadership of KS Harish, Country Group HR Head, Bayer, and is keenly implemented by his HR colleague and Country Expert – Talent Attraction, Vaibhav Rane.  Through a rigorous and exhaustive selection process, they focus on LIFE (Leadership, Integrity, Flexibility and Efficiency) Values to identify some of the best talent at IGTC, and reward them with a cash scholarship of INR 50,000.  This year, Vaibhav Rane proudly presented the awards to the three power girls – Kshitija Datkhile, Sapna Ashar and Yoga Ramachandran.

Siemens Award for Excellence

Siemens Limited, a founding partner of Indo-German Training Centre, has instituted the Siemens Award for Excellence. With a focus on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization, Siemens is a technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality and reliability.  The Siemens Award for Excellence thus exemplifies consistent demonstration of the Siemens values of “Innovative, Responsible and Excellence”.  It is awarded to two graduating IGTC students and gives them a reimbursement of the entire IGTC PGPBA tuition fees.  Introduced for the first time, it was the highlight of the Convocation Ceremony when Mr. Sunil Mathur, MD and CEO, Siemens Ltd., personally presented this prestigious award to the two winners, Bhargav Ghatpande and Sneha Arakal with these words, “We believe that the Siemens Award for Excellence will inspire students to pursue a path of excellence – towards society, the environment and the nation! Indian industry needs trained and capable future leaders who can contribute to its enduring success in a globalized, competitive world.”

Dr. Guenter Krueger Award for Excellence

This traditional award of the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC) in conjunction with the Goethe Institut recognizes and awards the Top Two of every graduating batch at IGTC; the very best! Their success is measured as a culmination of their academic grades at IGTC and practical training results.  The award gives the students an opportunity to study a language course with the Goethe-Institut in Germany and to understand best business practices in Germany through hands-on, practical training in their company. The formal certificate will be awarded to the winners at the next Annual General Meeting.  This year’s recipients, Pushkaraj Bhide and Sneha Arakal were given the award by C. S. Mathur, President, IGCC and Bernhard Steinrücke, Director General, IGCC, along with all the other dignitaries on the dais. Undoubtedly, the two of them truly deserved the platform and all the accolades.

As the freshly-crowned IGTC graduates took their seats once again, our Director, Radhieka R Mehta, had the honour to give the Vote of Thanks.  Even though, she was very happy to see ‘her kids’ graduate, it was an extremely emotional moment for her. With teary eyes, she confessed “Only we can understand the immense satisfaction, joy and pleasure, along with the pain, of seeing another batch leave the institute! After all, it is time to let our babies leave the nest to soar the skies.”  The moment she said that, truly there was not a single dry eye in the audience. Her parting words of wisdom to Batch 2015-2017 were “Simple Living and High Thinking. Keep your feet on the ground but eyes on the stars!”

This wonderful ceremony filled us, the junior batch with new motivation and zeal to succeed. It showcased what it took to earn that IGTC PGPBA Certificate and the value attached to it.  In conclusion, we juniors were witnessing our future in front of our own eyes.  And now it’s our turn to carry on the proud legacy.

“Together we aspire, together we achieve,

IGTCians at heart, phenomenal we will be!”

The After Party

True to tradition, IGTC hosted an after party for both the batches at the football grounds at Cooperage. Instead of showing off dancing skills, it was time to show off one’s soccer skills. It was a refreshing change from the usual winding up of a Convocation Ceremony, with lots of good natured rivalry and banter, plenty of skills on display, be it for soccer or cheering, and some cherished bonding time. As the after party ended, everyone had a whale of a time and most importantly, everyone emerged as a winner!