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The Impact of the SSP (Social Sustainability Project)

3 Dec

Money, Job, Changing the world, future leaders – This is what we generally think are the most important aspects in our life as MBA students. But it is easy to get caught in this bubble and rush through our lives following one thing after another. We never think how lucky we are in the little aspects of life. We are lucky that we are not the victims of a war, refugees, suffering from life threatening diseases or the victims of a calamity. We have had safe sheltered lives, which we have taken for granted. Our rants are just about money, position and power and we tend to live in our cocoons, avoiding the rest of the world. That is where the SSP (Social Sustainability Project) tends to bring in a bit of perspective in our MBA lives. They offer a glimpse into the lives of people whom we don’t think about much in our normal lives, except for a Facebook like, donation, or the occasional news article.

The various groups in our MBA class are doing the best they can in their SSPs. Some are helping refugees settle in Germany or helping them with their documentation while others are organizing a blood donation camp, collecting money for Men’s health, or helping immigrant parents of children with cancer in Germany who cannot afford the hospital costs. These may seem like little things, but it’s the little things that make the biggest impact. Our thinking tends to look at the big picture, and avoid the minute ones. But then, as Mother Theresa said, “A few drops do not make an ocean, but the ocean will be less without those drops.” Our contribution may not be much, but it is important. We do the best we can within the time which we have, but we do it, and that matters. This, I feel, is one of the most important aspects of the Mannheim Business School MBA, and which I feel should be a part of every MBA program. It enlarges the perspective and enables us to think how our decisions will affect the person at the lowest level of the organization.

I had the opportunity to visit a hospital where children with cancer are treated. It is really difficult to watch those children smile and play, without having a lump in your throat. These are the moments in your life when you do realize how things are so good for you, and we tend to lose that perspective in our daily rat race. I try to contribute and help these children in a small way, and hope that it creates a bearing in life of at least one child. That would be, for me, my impact in this world.

-Vivekananthan Ramachandran-

Mannheim MBA Class of 2014


A little bit of everything

26 Apr

The past 2 weeks have had a little bit of everything. Like I mentioned in the previous post, we had the Career Fair from 11-13th April, which has  led to some very interesting leads. I have my fingers crossed and hope to have my post-MBA journey charted out in its logical time. We also had the 1st Alumni Round-table, which was a semi-formal gathering of several of our alumni working currently in Germany and the full-time MBA class and the Program Management, Career Services and Alumni Relations teams. It was a fantastic event that have us an opportunity to have relaxed talks with the alumni over some awesome appetizers and drinks. 

Then we had several Workshops to help us approach Term3 and the career-search better. Note that I say career-search and not job-search. To me, the MBA is the ideal time to reevaluate your aspirations, skills and talents and narrow down better the type of career that you are meant for. Career-found, job-search is a piece of cake. We also had the monthly Stammtisch, where we reconnected with those of our classmates who were away in Terms1 and 2 on exchange-programs. My MCT; we spent the weekend in the company of a bunch of adorable kids. It was our day out, as part of the Social Project which was a great success Details coming soon!

Also, Term3 Classes began last Sunday with Cross Cultural Management. Here, we learnt insights into why people from different cultures behaved the way they did, depending on the historical experiences and social contexts that they were a part of. For e.g. Indians are more conscious of ‘saving face’ and tend to avoid confrontations. An agenda and structure is critical to the German way of life. The hierarchy is respected heavily in the French context. Considering there were at least 10 different nationalities in class, it was a true cross-cultural experience.  The weekend ended with the beginning of the Easter weekend.

Some running along the river, a barbecue at the park, Easter-Sunday mass, coffee with friends and a lot of reading; both the fictional and non-fictional (read- course material) kind have totally recharged me for the coming week. We start with ‘States and Markets’- the role that the Government can, should and does play in regulating/ controlling/ improving the markets. Promising!

Have a great week ahead!

Till later,


P.S: Its 22 degrees; God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world.

Its starting to rain examination results!

23 Nov

Now that its been around 4-5 weeks; more or less, since we took our 4 exams this term – Decision Analysis, Marketing Fundamentals, Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting, its now time for the examination results. We got our Decision Analysis results today; fingers crossed and hoping that we all did all-right.

In other news, its getting colder with every passing day; in fact, even as I type this post, I can hear the mercury dropping; haha. In fact, there are forecasts that it may, in fact, start to snow this weekend, here in Mannheim. I, sure am looking forward to the snow-flakes landing on my head. However, it appears that snow, this early is unheard of; I just hope that we (humanity) have not messed up the environment beyond repair. Sigh!

And now that we are getting deeper into Corporate Finance, I can visualize myself applying some of the Investment-valuation techniques (Net present value, Internal rate of return, Payback method, etc.) to future investment decisions. I wonder, what if I had applied some of these techniques to certain decisions, during my previous job. Would it have altered my decision? Probably not; but it would have surely added more value to my decision-approach and been a useful tool to more easily convince the team to make certain investments.

Tomorrow is German class, and I continue to wrestle with the Konjunktiv-II case , although I may  be getting my own back. We also have a presentation to make; my 3rd presentation in German- this one is on ‘Stuttgart 21’– the hugely debated topic in Germany at this moment. Its primarily a cost-benefit analysis on modernization of the current train-station and its infrastructure in Stuttgart vs. the costs involved; both monetary and otherwise (environmental, cultural, etc.) and whether the costs justify the benefits.

Our Social project; read for more, is getting underway. Most teams have a clearer idea of what they’d be doing and we can’t wait to get started. Watch this space for more on the various Social projects undertaken by the Full-time MBA Class of 2011.

Bis bald (till later,)


Making a difference, in our own way

27 Oct

One of the best parts of our course is The  Social Project.

At the beginning of the year, the entire class; 58 of us are divided into Multi Competency Teams (MCTs). These groups comprise of 4-5 of us, from different nationalities, different study- and work-backgrounds and differing years of work-experience. My MCT, for example comprises of 4 of us; 2 Germans, an Indian and a Pakistani. We have, amongst us, a total of at least 20 years of work-experience and come from backgrounds as varied as Information technology and Sales to Engineering and Consultancy. As part of the MCT, we deliver 2 projects; 1 is the Social project and the other, the Company project. More on the latter in a different post.

The Social Project embraces the whole duration of the program bringing together all team-members of each MCT into one common goal. The nature of the SocialProject is open and is humanitarian, social, educational or ecological, etc. but settled in Mannheim and the region. The Social Project is aimed at pursuing the following objectives:

  • Creating a strong class spirit
  • Training our ability to work in a team
  • Improving our project management skills
  • Showing social commitment

As part of the same, our almuni conducted Art workshops, fundraising drives, blood-donation drives, excursions, support-programs and other meaningful activities that helped make a difference; not just to society but to themselves as individuals.

Today, we had the 1st presentation from a social organization to help us get more ideas on how we could contribute meaningfully to society. The organization was a local institute that works towards integrating the migrant populaation of students into the mainstream via providing them guidnace in technical-apprenticeship and vocational training. Among the 58 of us, in the current batch, there are already several ideas taking root. I’d rather not spill the beans right away, but you can be sure that there is a lot of Goodwill being generated, and not just in the Financial accounting class. 🙂

Which reminds me that next week is the Financial accounting exam and I must get back to the IFRS standards. So, while I try to capitalize the assets in the balance sheet of life, you have a wonderful day. And watch this space for more on The MBA-Class of 2011’s social project.

For sure; a little goes a long way,