Reflective Writing – Shruthi Manjunath

The purpose of this writing piece is to reflect upon the aspect of my professional development that I have encountered throughout my journey at Coventry University. This experience in a nutshell has coaxed me to adopt a culture of constant improvement in me. It serves well for one to be sensible enough to remain sensitive to one’s working environment, the result of which can help in charting a suitable growth strategy for the organization & the individual concerned.

I believe U.K. offers advanced business administrative career. As I browsed through the list of schools and narrowed down to a few selected ones, I found that Coventry University fulfilled all my requirements of a well designed course structure with adequate facilities and broad curriculum. In the view of such a global scenario, I thought it was finally the time to widen the horizon of knowledge and the thought of pursuing an MBA seemed to me as the most logical step as it would open the gateway to enhanced career options leading to top position in corporate world and contribute towards building the blocks for my future endeavours. Due to my naivety, I believed only in 4P’s when I applied for MBA – Placement, Profile, Prospect, and Package. With this notion, I realized that it is an opportunity to translate my dreams into reality and hence proceeded to nurture my administrative skills at Coventry University. Little did I realise that there was a lot more than just 4P’s in store for me.

The biggest lesson that life has taught me is “whatever has to happen will happen and it happens for the good”. This mantra has helped me accept everything that comes by and not regret over anything.
I am not sure if it was my ignorance about cultures which prompted me to solely focus on my academics in such a multi-diverse learning environment provided by Coventry University. But things began to change when I started interacting with students from different cultural backgrounds as a part of my academic obligations. I realized that it is easier to bond with people whose cultural background I am aware of during my short stint as event manager with Culturae Mundi. I also learnt the importance of being an extrovert after coming in contact with a plethora of cultures which would not have been possible if I had pursued my higher education back home. I believe I have acquired the right mix of introversion & extroversion through my internship just like a turtle which knows when to pull itself in & out of its shell.

Culturae Mundi is presently like an infant with a mind of its own but its body moored to Coventry University through the umbilical cord which manifests itself in the form of students who represent both Culturae Mundi & its host. Therefore, the strength of this intermediary is determined by the quality of the student representatives employed to materialize its mission. I sincerely prefer quality to quantity & its significance is adored everywhere alike. Culturae Mundi, as an organization in a very nascent stage, should lay its focus on recruiting bright & self-motivated students who can be relied upon to spread its message in the right earnest. I wonder if anyone could have conveyed the message of quality in better words than Swami Vivekananda, an enlightened soul whose sole purpose in life was to help people uplift their spirits.

“Give me few men and women who are pure and selfless and I shall shake the world.” -Swami Vivekananda

The wilful exit of some of the employees of the Marketing department left a void in Culturae Mundi & since the organization was unable to find suitable replacements on time, it induced collateral damage in the form of increased workload on the remaining active members. As I foresaw the negative impact it would have on Culturae Mundi, I decided to take charge in order to bridge this gap by sharing the resources under my disposal with the marketing department. Barring the initial jitters, I managed to extract quality from my team not because of its size but due to the faith I had imposed upon the talents of my team mates.

The war of Mahabharata, which according to the sacred texts of the Hindus, fought between the seven-army-units strong Pandavas & eleven-army-units strong Kauravas at Kurukshetra in India was won hands down by the Pandavas who were a notch higher than the Kauravas in terms of quality. Not surprisingly, a similar outcome welcomed the Persian army at Plataea, Greece where the Greek army convincingly defeated an army which was nearly twice their size. These examples show that quality cuts across different cultures & needs to be the essence of Culturae Mundi’s growth strategy. The moral derived by me from this entire experience is: Quality can always be used to compensate for lack of quantity.

The desire to get baptized in the fire of administrative knowledge set aflame by Coventry University brought me to Culturae Mundi & I learned to make the most of my learning opportunities offered by both the University & Culturae Mundi. This is one vital lesson which I am sure will stand me in good stead in my career. I also learnt to look at the brighter side of things in order to give my best under duress during my tenure with Culturae Mundi.

The marketing role played in Culturae Mundi motivated me to write a purely marketing based internship report as there was lot of scope for improvement in this area. Concepts learnt from ‘principles of marketing’ and ‘marketing communication’ modules helped me a great deal in developing the report. However, through my internship, I have realized that the unabated debate over the best marketing strategy for the effective growth of Culturae Mundi or any organization, as a matter of fact, will yield fruitful results if & only if the organization involves zealous employees. As Culturae Mundi is an Intrapreneurship project, the event manager should realise that every event and situation is a business opportunity and have the ability to look at everything around and focus it toward the goals. “OHM” is considered to be the sound of creation & I am a firm non-believer of coincidences in life. There is a beautiful law of electricity called Ohm’s law which adds a lot of fuel to this belief of mine.

According to Ohm’s law,
V = I * R
Voltage = Current * Resistance
The above equation can be viewed through a managerial prism & inferred as follows:
Creation of an effective organization (Voltage) = Constant flow of ideas (Current) * Constructive criticism (Resistance)
I am sure the beauty of this surmise can be understood if one tries to observe it very closely. An organization with a dearth of ideas & constructive criticism can never be effective no matter how hard it tries to promote itself. The effectiveness of an organization is determined by its employees just as the intensity of the voltage generated depends on the medium through which electric current passes. These qualities should be present in all the active members of the pack for the organization to be effective.
Open mindedness and flexibility are the qualities required in the manager towards constant flow of ideas (brainstorming) and also to be able to constructively criticize at the same time to do what is best for the organisation.

There is a simple & important analogy between quality & mind which I would like to mention here. Just as the mind cannot exist in the absence of air, quality cannot exist either in the complete absence of leadership or its impotent presence. Having to manage a bunch of uninspired employees is one of the many worst case scenarios any organization confronts.
In such a case, the leader of the rank & file of the organization has to call the shots to set the house in order. Sun Tzu, the author of The Art of War, says that the commander of a legion is not responsible for its effectiveness if the commands are unambiguously communicated to his subordinates but he can take apt punitive measures, if necessary, to reinvigorate them.
I had a wonderful opportunity of working in partnership with the Hindu society to organise the ‘Diwali’ event. I got to experience this power of responsible leadership through Vithushan Vasanth, who is currently the president of the Hindu society in Coventry University. He is the heartbeat of his society due to the aforementioned qualities & I have been inspired by him to accept receptivity, meticulosity, assertiveness, transparency & dependability as the core aspects of my leadership style. Being an individual who hails from a semi-Hindu background, Vithushan Vasanth also manages to command the respect of his peers & colleagues due to his highly effective people management skills which is greatly appreciated by one & all in the Hindu society.

My internship experience has helped me realize that a prominent quality exists in every individual, each of which when stringed together will look as attractive as a festoon of flowers which supersedes the individual beauty of its contributors.
I truly admired Dr. Jean Bernard Adrey (Director, IEMS) for his quick decision making abilities. It was a great responsibility and challenge for me to put myself in the shoes of an event manager as all the team members looked up to me for solutions to various issues. As per my experience an event can never go exactly as planned and issues that crop up during an event need to be addressed through slick decision making.

My entrepreneurial spirit was stoked by the extraordinary outcome of our collective effort for the Cultures day event. It was an event where Culturae Mundi exercised complete control over the proceedings right from the word go & it turned out to be a rollicking event replete with enthusiasm from the members of the organization & the participants. As the event manager, I allowed the entrepreneur in me to tango with the challenges faced during the execution of our plans for the event & I wish to emulate the same in my career where I am sure to perform more than a tango.

“No matter what life gives you, be strong and willing to make it better than what it was” – unknown

View her complete dissertation :

Event manager – Shruthi Manjunath – Culturae Mundi Internship Project Report

About Shruthi Munjunath :

Shruthi Manjunath studied MBA in General Management from Coventry University.

Email : [email protected]