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Campus Recruit Learning Programme

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This article captures my journey and experiences in this MindTree Campus Recruit Learning programme, in which I was playing the role of a Mentor/Co-PAL.

This article captures my journey and experiences in this MindTree Campus Recruit Learning programme, in which I was playing the role of a Mentor/Co-PAL.

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  • 1. MINDTREE CMLP OCT 2009, “THE EXPERIENCE” By Uday Shankar AB
  • 2. PrefaceI was, at the time of august 2009, approached to play the role of the Co-PAL for the MindTree campus recruitbatch of October 2009. I accepted it and later on went to realize that what a great experience it was. During thisprogramme I closely interacted with many MindTree Minds recruited directly from campus and undergoing theCampus Minds Learning Programme (called as CMLP). I was primarily interacting with the house of achieving, oneof the many houses formed based on the MindTree CLASS values.This article takes you through the journey of my interactions and experiences in this programme, starting with howI got involved, what this programme is about, the first interaction, the different activities and learning’s in theprogramme, the orchard olympiad and other experiences. MindTree CMLP October 2009, Uday Shankar A B Page 1
  • 3. PAL, Parent-Anchor-Leader, is a role that unifies many roles and which, one as an individual will come across or look out for in his /her life.…and my 3+ month long duration playing that role, for campus minds, interacting with them daily, came to anofficial intermediary end on 12th February 2010. The interactions I have had with each one of them and thelearning’s I have garnered is unique. Helping many fresh campus hires to transform from college to profession, wasan experience of a different kind. Beginning of The Experience!I was associated with the MindTree Campus Minds Learning Program in different capacities, starting as a buddy andlater handling roles like Remote Internship Project Manager, Professional Programming Basic Chief Mentor andPerformance Improvement Programme Champion, which exposed to me to this experience early on.The opportunity to play the role of Co-PAL was indeed an exciting one for me, because, to be able to inspire,channel and motivate the energy of many campus minds with such great energy levels is indeed challenging, and Iknew that it would definitely be a satisfying experience if I was successful at least to some extent.It was Shivakumar GV (known as Shivu) who requested me to take up this role. I, being from the campus batch andmy earlier associations with the learning program, I believe, were the factors that worked in favor for me, apartfrom being a little successful in my 4+ year tenure in MindTree.Though initially, I was a little skeptical and unsure about what this role comprised of, I soon realized that it is abroad role, where I need to see what campus minds see and explain why it is, understand and resolve their concernsand issues, be available to them for anything anytime and overall help them in this transformation.So later, getting a call from a campus mind asking for a suggestion to choose a PG at night 9 PM or a campus mindasking for an outlook of assessment results at night 11PM wasn’t unusual for me. I was then actually happy thatthey felt at ease approaching me when something was bothering them (because, we approach people only whom wetrust when we are worried/unsure about something, for seeking guidance) Campus Batch and The Learning ProgrammeThe batch of October 2009 was a group of 130+ minds in Bangalore, divided in to three houses, named based onour value system, CLASS. It was House of Caring, Learning and Achieving, with house of Sharing and SocialResponsibility based out of Chennai and Pune respectively. Each of these houses had PAL’s and Co-PAL’s, and aPF representative, and I was the Co-PAL for House of Achieving (along with Neha Das and Nihar) and Mukesh asPAL. The programme was housed in Orchard, which is an entire floor dedicated for inducting campus minds toMindTree. Here each campus mind comes across many technical and behavioral programmes with each of thegroups being housed in a HOUSE of its own and with PAL interactions happening in the living rooms of theserespective houses! Orchard also had a Reading room and an activity room where campus minds could study & play!Orchard was a unification of one’s house and a school. Here campus minds interacted with PAL’s and Co-PAL’s inthe house and with Mentor’s, Facilitators (External & Internal), Chief Mentor’s and Dean in the school. All in all, Ishould say, a well conceptualized programme providing a strong learning platform and not to miss, a blend of joy. MindTree CMLP October 2009, Uday Shankar A B Page 2
  • 4. Our First InteractionOur first interaction was on a Friday evening, the 30th of October 2009 (though we were introduced to them on thefirst day of their joining on 26th October 2009). It was a fun filled “Tell & Get to Know” day where we got to knoweach and every campus mind, their interests and passion, their aspirations, where they came from, what they earlierdid, their role models and from some of them, their favorite books and many other things. We started of doing thisfirst activity a little differently, to also make this a first step opportunity for each campus minds to know their oneother campus mind a little better. In this, each of them was grouped with one other and one’s introduction was tobe given by the other mind. It turned out nice! At the same time, we had realized that the challenge to know each ofthem was with us too. So we started noting down about each of them! Which, I still have preserved in mynotebook. Happy, we were that the first interaction turned out great!After the first interaction, the next 3+ months of my daily professional life started with campus minds and endedwith the campus minds. Interactions happened daily morning between 9 to 9:30 AM and evening’s between 5:30PM to 6:30 PM (though we did give away some days for campus minds to prepare for assessments or doing theirassignments), apart from the few other interactions outside this time. Playing The Role!Thinking of this whole programme and our roles, it was clear that to be able to make this transformation smoothand successful, we had to come up with ways that had learning’s in the way they would be able to understand andincorporate it easily. So, we planned and chalked down many activities that touched upon various aspects like teambuilding, communication, collaboration, overcoming difficulties and challenges, approaching assessments and manyothers. Leadership sessions were an other unique platform, conceptualized by C2, and conducted across all housesthat helped them interact and learn from the experience of senior minds. It happened every Friday, where campusminds interacted with many senior MindTree minds like Rostow Ravanan, Kalyan Kumar Banerjee, Subroto Bagchi,Sripad K, Krishnan KS, Samartha, Bhageerathi D R and also external people like Arundhati Ghosh and SuhasGopinath.Some of the activities that we had in House of Achieving were, video sessions (that included Randy Pausch’s LastLecture and few other motivational videos), Basavanna’s Vachana (garnering learning’s from them), Helium Sticks,Clay Modeling/Build a House (that exposed campus minds to many real life project scenarios), Speaker Sessions(which we famously called, “Speak Out - The Achiever’s Voice”), .Net (that enabled campus minds to explore andknow the many MindTree intra net portals), Virtual Volleyball (which was a lot of fun, that emphasizedcoordination and control of thought over action), Creative Story Telling (that came out as one of the best), Skits(on many aspects like meeting/mobile phone/personal etiquette, Gandhian values and the CMLP programme byitself), Imagination day that comprised of Mr and Ms Blue Contest along with the Fashion Show (where campusminds ensured that we too did the ramp walk) and many others. MindTree CMLP October 2009, Uday Shankar A B Page 3
  • 5. The Different Activities and Learning’s!“Speak Out”, was one of the attempts we came up with to provide a platform for building presentation skills.Campus minds were asked to form a 2 or 3 member team and choose a topic of their interest. They would laterpresent it on morning PAL time, to all the other minds in the house. It was good to see topics on different areas likeRecession, Pollution, Generation’s, Search Engine and others. Though not all the campus minds used thisopportunity, it was pleasing to see that many did.“Clay Modeling” and “Build a House” were the activities that were an attempt to expose campus minds to variousscenarios of projects.In Clay Modeling, many 4-6 member teams were formed and the teams were asked to come up with a clay model ofChildren’s Play Area. In this activity, they were asked to come up with a draft design of all the things they wouldcreate in 5 minutes (which if delayed had a penalty), use resources only that was provided (with some teams gettingbetter resources then others) and complete the overall model in 30 minutes. Some teams that came back thinkingthat they had completed the project were asked to provide those missing things or improve what they had alreadybuilt or provide more than what was earlier asked for. At the end all the teams completed and there were manymaster pieces around us!“Build a House” was a little different activity with the emphasis on articulation, communication skills and dealingwith people with varied skills. In this, a group leader was shown a drawing of a 2 floor house with doors andwindows at different places and of different shapes. The group leader was then hand tied and blinded and was askedto guide their team build the house they just saw, from a card board sheet, only using their speaking skills! Addingto all this, some of their team members were hand tied too. As the activity started, some teams complained aboutthe shortage of scissors, card board and about difficultly in this activity and what not, but at the end reaching thegoal. So knowingly or unknowingly they had just completed to work with the resources in hand, collaboratingwithin each other!What was more important was the discussion that followed these activities. We went about discussing each team’sactions and how they had achieved their objective. As I look in to my book now, the learning’s that came out weremany,…like, Collaboration and Sharing, Learning to work under constraints, Meeting time lines, Negotiation Skills, Innovation, Teamwork, Being ready for change, Planning, Communication Skills, Clarity in the goal to be achieved, Seeking feedback, Providing valueadds and many more…I hope that these activities have served in some way, to help them understand the many aspects of project dynamics.Going To NeleIt was Nihar and Mukesh who initiated the Nele experience. Nele is an orphanage for rag picking kids in TimberYard layout and is housed in an unused space above a factory building, an act of generosity of an industrialist. Niharwas associated with Nele from quite some time and was content with the experience. So the intention was to let thecampus minds enjoy this experience too. The plan was to spend half a day with the kids, playing with them andbeing one among them. So, we had a drawing competition where MindTree campus minds joined different groupsof kids, working along with them as a single team for the competition. Later to which, we were shown an excellentTenali Rama play by the kids, which was so well coordinated and acted. Overall, it was a lovely day. On our wayback in the cab, it was nice to see that all of us were glad about the experience. One fact that proves this is that,though it has been months that we went there, many campus minds still go to Nele and interact with the kids there! MindTree CMLP October 2009, Uday Shankar A B Page 4
  • 6. Orchard Olympiad“Orchard Olympiad” was an attempt to bring in campus minds from all the houses to a single podium, for them tointeract apart from their technical groups and for them to have fun in the spirit of a healthy competition. It was ahouse based competition with events, indoor and outdoor, where each house member competed for getting pointsto their house, to keep his/her house up in the chart. It started with Picture Perfect, a game that was modeled onthe lines of Amazing Race and continued with events like Word Powers and Tug of War. The strategies anddiscussions the teams had during these events were indeed interesting to watch, how they at times backed up afellow team member, how they encouraged many to give more, and how those people who never played also lookedso immersed in the game, shouting and cheering for the team.At the end, the event concluded with the game of Cricket with Learning House winning the game & the Olympiad!It was an event which everyone enjoyed being part of, where they pulled the rope, ran and jumped taking pictures,made many others king and queen, played with words, fell on the ground, bowled, batted and What not. And at theend, it was all about living our DNA! More to The RoleMeanwhile, as we created these many different avenues, we also had to deal with many other softer issues likeperformance, integrity, relocation, ensuring positive energy across and many others. As a PAL, our responsibilitywas also to ensure that every campus mind meets the performance levels and is able to show significant progressand performance in his/her learning programme.At the onset of the Performance Improvement Programme (after PPB), we decided that we will have a weekly meetwith all the campus minds in this track, separately apart from our PAL interactions. It was to identify any concernsand special hand holding that one would require, along with motivating them. During these discussions, we askedeach and every campus mind about their confidence level, their progress, any blockers they saw, their learningschedule’s and any items that concerned them in the programme, along with urging everyone of them to do theirSWOT analysis and work on their weaknesses. It was indeed good to see that many of them realized where theystood and started working on things that required more efforts. Many a times, we also spent time talking to campusminds individually and providing them with a little push and motivation.Joining for lunch with campus minds was one other way that I thought of, to get to know them better and break thebarrier (if there were any). I have had innumerable casual conversations with them, sharing some of my stories andexperiences and listening to theirs. It also helped me to understand some of the things that run in the back of theirmind and that which they usually do not consider to speak out. Overall, I sure believe that it was a nice thing to do,which helped in achieving the overall objective.If I have to make a mention of all the activities and experiences that we have had, there are many more, Outing toManchinabele dam, Outbound learning in Hill View resort, Learning about the transformer that sits near theparking lot, Birthday Celebrations and the list goes on…It was all these several interactions and activities along withthe many technical and behavioral programmes from C2 School that helped make this programme a success, andthat enabled campus minds for a greater role as they moved on to projects.And at the end, the transformation from campus to corporate, a 3+ month journey was a great experience, we alllearnt something more and we sure did have a lot of fun.All in all, a nice mix of many experiences that I will remember for a long time! MindTree CMLP October 2009, Uday Shankar A B Page 5