Very meaningful, impactful and memorable journey for our son
With no desired option left while searching for a good, responsible, ethical and inspiring institution for our son after his graduation, we were contemplating to send our son to the United States. But fortunately we came to know about School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL) while reading a business magazine. We visited SOIL before applying, and we could feel lot of positive vibes – it felt so different from other institutions that we had visited earlier. We were delighted because we found what we desired. And we felt from the bottom of our heart that this is the place where our son should study.
From caliper to convocation it has been a very meaningful, impactful and memorable journey for our son. Our son has learned tremendously from the highly knowledgeable, versatile and articulate Mr. Anil Sachdev, distinguished faculty, personal mentor for each student from across all sectors, and action learning project. Add to this the industry relevant curriculum co-designed by a consortium of several reputed companies, invigorating discussions, theatre sessions, working with NGO’s one day a week, along with wellness program, conferences and appreciative inquiry. And a special mention to the grading system where competition is not with others but your own self – where every student can be a role model – what a fantastic concept.
A week at Sidhbari in Himachal Pradesh was one of the most memorable and healthy experience for our son. Imagine, all this happened in just one year! That’s amazing! This learning expedition at SOIL has nurtured and enhanced smart execution skills and thinking process in our son. We feel so fortunate that our son has studied at such an inspiring institution where ethics and other highly vital values are preached and practiced in the highest order. We know it’s not easy and therefore we salute SOIL for such healthy practices in these times. We too believe SOIL is a vanguard of change in building India’s future through relevant and values-oriented education. We thank SOIL for providing a wonderful learning experience to our son, which not only gave us happiness but also sheer fulfillment.
Organized brilliantly, the Convocation ceremony was also a fantastic experience. Along with the views, and feedback from the parents and their questions answered genuinely, the ceremony was graced by eminent speakers who delivered wonderful speeches. Mr. Anil Sachdev’s speech was really heartwarming and touching. We owe a lot to SOIL and it will always have a very special place in our heart.
SOIL brought phenomenal change in my daughter
I had heard about SOIL from Pagalguy.com and decided to send my daughter there on the recommendation of my cousin who had worked with Mr. Anil Sachdev years ago. He had said that if you want your child’s overall personality development, send her to this institute, placements will follow automatically. This fact was proved within a month of joining. The first change that I noticed was a dramatic increase in her concern for the family, and I realized that inculcating deep family values was a strongpoint at SOIL, a quality much needed in every individual who will eventually bond with his/her organization as a family.
Her experience of one year with an NGO had a very strong impact in realizing her social responsibilities and understanding the needs of less privileged individuals. The course at SOIL is of one year, and I was worried about the fact whether my daughter will be able to cope with the hectic schedule. But the curriculum was designed in such a way that students learnt to deal with stress situations and the importance of deadlines a quality which is helping her immensely in her job.
I am extremely grateful to the faculty at SOIL and especially to Mr. Anil Sachdev for the phenomenal change they brought about in my daughter.
I can happily say that now she is what I had always wanted her to be.
I learnt to distinguish between the ‘Right’ and the ‘Wrong’
Being a research assistant at SOIL was not easy because each time you accomplish a task the expectation levels would have raised and this is a kind of pre stressing which actually trains you to withstand higher loads during the future. As rightly said by Jeffrey Pfeffer “Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions so that the world doesn’t go to hell if you take a day off.” Under the leadership & guidance of Neetika Ma’am there is an ocean of knowledge which can be learnt and passed on. I always felt that learning is a continuous assignment for any individual and so we must always keep our cup empty and be thirsty for more and more knowledge at all times. As I think about the days spent at SOIL being a research assistant, I truly admire the learning experience it provided which I could readily apply in all spheres of my present life.
When I compare what I am today and what I used to be a year and a half ago, I can see the tremendous amount of change that has occurred to me. I was a very shy person, full of energy and ideas but did not have the skill to channelize the energies in the right direction. What I have learnt from SOIL as a research assistant is much more than the achievements I have had in my whole life. As a person I have learnt to manage time because we had to be responsible for our research while continuing our learning journey. Through the work done as a research assistant I have been able to visualize and understand the concepts explained in various management subjects. In fact it has helped to focus better at academics. I learnt to distinguish between the right and the wrong and support my arguments with factual data. I learnt the art of being a creator of commitment and energy in work environment.
In the present era, there is a splurge of information, but in spite of all these we are not able to actualize business and human potential, because we have not inculcated the right culture. Culture encompasses the personal traits of Self–Organizing, Self-Motivating and Self-management, Decentralization, Empowerment, Teamwork and Collaboration. I am blessed that at SOIL I have been able to inculcate the right culture which is critical for the success of an individual as well as for the organization.
I dreamt of serving the educational needs of rural India
“I have always dreamt of establishing an organization which will serve the educational needs of rural India. During my SOIL journey this dream was shaping up to see reality. I must tell you all that while working with the NGO Adharshila through the Social Innovation program at SOIL, I was provided an excellent platform to understand and serve the underprivileged society. This experience in turn also boosted my confidence in handling complex hurdles and at the same time gave me the courage to start a venture of my own. The amalgamation of the value system of SOIL and the strategically designed curriculum helped me in making the conscious decision to start “LAKSHYA Centre For Learning”. We at LAKSHYA aim to serve the educational needs of the underprivileged students of Bhagalpur, Bihar through innovative learning methodologies. The center is operational since past 6 months and till date we have enrolled 45 students into various courses. I wholeheartedly thank the SOIL Family for supporting and encouraging me to identify the true meaning of my LIFE!
“SOIL” – The best thing that happened to me in my life
My phone rung quite early in the morning & to my surprise it was my department head in TVS Motors (TVSM) on line. “Congratulations Vijay! We have decided to send you to the School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL) to pursue your Post Graduation in Marketing Leadership”. After a minute long conversation, where I was caught for words, I hung up thanking him & TVSM for the opportunity.
SOIL? I thought. “Have I heard it before? Certainly not”
But if TVSM wants me to spend a year there & pursue my post-graduation, then it must be something special. Very soon, I found out why it was. Right from the admission process (Talent Appreciation Process), I found SOIL to be very different from other Schools. With ‘Caliper’, started a very important journey for me. The journey of understanding myself. ‘Caliper’ helped me realize my potential strengths i.e. my gifts & of course my shortfalls. The first assignment in SOIL was to arrive at an ‘Individual Development Plan’ for myself, with the help of my program chair & Industry Mentor. “The perfect start”, I thought to myself.
Prof. Anil Sachdev’s Self- Leadership sessions kick-started the academics in SOIL; Sessions where Anil Sir just asked the right questions & sparked some deep level of self-introspect within you. And with that, started the most intense ‘learning phase’ in my life.
SOIL believes in ‘Learning by Doing’. Unlike the traditional ‘text books & lectures only’ methodology, this was more application oriented & meant that we had to put in a lot of research & work in live projects & simulations. Text Books & Lectures were just facilitators. Further, ‘Projects’ meant that that we work in teams & SOIL took efforts to ensure that we work with different people every time. By the end of the year, thanks to this policy of SOIL, we knew the ingredients & formula for a successful team!
“Learning by Doing = Learning for a lifetime”
I remember writing to my HR head in TVSM once, saying that “we are being kept busy by SOIL 24*7 that sometimes I feel, even Life @ TVSM wasn’t this intense”
To become an ‘Arjuna’ one requires the guidance & mentoring from a ‘Dronacharya’. And SOIL gave us many Dronacharyas to inspire us; Professors Hardayal Singh, Chiranjeev Kohli, VS. Mahesh, Shyam Viswanathan, Lalitha Phadkar, Saji KB Nair, NR Parasuraman & Nithya Shanthi to name a few. And it took care in ensuring that its professors were not only the best in their respective fields, but also truly lived up to its values.
The value proposition of SOIL in itself gave one of my important learning’s:
“Businesses & Organisations needs to be run for a higher ‘Purpose’ than just Profits”
Today’s corporate India has a lot of Business Acumen, but sadly without ethics & integrity. SOIL with its continuous efforts to bridge this gap by imparting its value based education system in young professionals, stands out as the best example for organisations run for a higher ‘Purpose’. We experienced the power of a higher ‘purpose’ through the ‘Social Innovation Program’, where we got an opportunity to work in the social sector one day in a week, for a noble cause.
‘Leadership Series’ came as the power boosters that continually reinforced that passion in us. SOIL identified leaders who have lived its values & invited them to ‘inspire’ us by sharing their journey of life. It had more than an inspiring impact on me though. That feeling of seeing me in that stage, inspiring a whole lot of young professionals 25 years hence, is the driving force behind my actions.
I would attribute the success of SOIL to its unique culture of ‘Appreciation’ & ‘love for people’. Appreciating the goodness in everything & everyone is in its DNA. ‘Morning Circle’ – A unique tradition followed in SOIL, where everybody meet early morning in one large circle, provides itself as a wonderful stage for appreciation & sharing one’s thoughts.
I would like to quote two instances when I felt the power of love & appreciation and the positive energy associated with it:
- My 25th Birthday which I celebrated in SOIL is so far the best among all my birthdays. Not because of the parties & gifts, but because of the words of appreciation I got from my professors & friends during that day’s Morning Circle. I had never been appreciated like that before & my eyes moistened in their love. I felt loved by everyone & that’s the most wonderful feeling one can ever experience.
- Jan 22nd, 2013 – SOIL celebrated Parents Day & we showed our gratitude & love towards our parents. It was an occasion I would cherish forever in my life. It was an honour for me to speak about my mother & her invaluable sacrifices in life to make me what I am today. She was a proud woman that day. She recalled those moments when we came back home & was in tears of happiness. She doesn’t know much about SOIL & neither about what I am studying at SOIL. But, after that day she told me that I should consider myself fortunate for having got this opportunity to study at a school like SOIL!
SOIL doesn’t participate in any B-School rankings, but I would say they have already got the first rank in the hearts of their students’ parents!
Amidst the intense journey throughout the year, my mind got its relaxations through the ‘Wellness’ program – deep diving into the depths of yoga & meditation & the ‘Sidhbari – Learning retreat’ at the Chinmaya Ashram premises in the Himalayas.
Through the course of the one year journey, I had already discovered what I loved & enjoyed doing;
“I loved it, when I was able to share my knowledge with my peers & juniors and was able to inspire them, just like the way my teachers & mentors inspired me!”
That resulted in what I consider the biggest outcome of my one year journey in SOIL; Frame a ‘Vision’ for myself in life!
It’s true; SOIL had imparted me with business expertise through its rigorous curriculum & some world-class faculty. But, in the process it had also made me a better human being. Looking back, today I really feel proud to be a SOIL Alumnus!
“SOIL” – The best thing that happened to me in my life so far!
Maybe this is why TVSM felt that I should be sent to SOIL. To experience the best!
“PeopleStrong has been hiring from SOIL since the very first batch and we still have the initial batch joiner with us doing a great job in our technology team! We were in search for people who are ready to break away from traditional mindsets and loves the ‘joy and ambiguity of creation’. In the current business context students view life from the lens of “salary, brand and role” however SOIL students sets them apart by thinking about “impact, brand building and creating or building leaders”. I wish SOIL students a great career ahead, I already see them taking leadership positions at our organization…!”
Professionalism and ability to learn are the qualities demonstrated by the SOIL students hired at HCL. Ability to collaborate and apply their problem solving abilities so as to add value to the work assigned and produce results in line with desired business outcomes is highly appreciated.
They are currently involved in Sales, Support and Delivery roles and are bringing fresh perspectives to the organization with passion and dedication.
SOIL has over the years been a key partner in Maveric’s growth. We have consistently nominated Maveric managers to attend the BLP program at SOIL and have also been recruiting talent from SOIL every year. Professional skills as well as life skills & values imbibed by students at SOIL are clearly visible amongst the Maveric’s who have joined us from SOIL. Many of them are key resources in the Maveric family today”
I came to SOIL with the curiosity of a child
The decision of my joining SOIL after having worked for over 6.5 years was a huge leap of faith and an extremely critical decision in life. I came to SOIL with the curiosity of a child, eager to learn, live and lead. It has been a wonderful experience so far. I have not just learnt the how’s and what’s of business but also how a balance can exist between targets and values. I have learnt the true meaning of the 5 pillars by seeing each faculty member, by learning from the Social Innovation Program, by hearing business leaders at Leadership Series and by completely immersing myself into the soil of SOIL.
The knowledge, experience and insights that SOIL has provided was an important ingredient in bringing success in being chosen as one of India’s top 25 future HR leaders. I today feel more competent and confident. I am filled with eagerness to follow the path SOIL has shown me. Ethics, Sustainability, Diversity, Mindfulness and Compassion, no longer mean words to me but are an integral part of me. They are the foundation which is shaping my today, tomorrow and the future.
(Avirup was chosen among the ‘Future 25′ HR leaders of tomorrow by People Matters initiative “Are you in the List?”. This initiative saw more than 1,300 young managers participating across the country, undergoing 5 stages of assessment and interviews to make it to the final 25 future leaders in the HR space)
“SOIL is the Place”
There comes a day in everyone’s life when one can look back at his or her whole life. Then one can see the patterns in life, and can connect those dots easily with each and every event that has happened in which had something to do with where you always wanted to be. This exactly happened to me last week, when my name was announced in the morning circle that I am placed with Genpact with a package that made me even happier and merrier. After hearing the good news I had goosebumps and was not able to digest the news. Everybody was shouting my name and was giving me a standing ovation while I was entering the class. I was awestruck by the way my fellow classmates welcomed me. I became very emotional and was not able to gather myself. I took a breath and collected myself and sat on a seat and suddenly Mr. Simond Goland, our Whole Systems Thinking professor, called me on stage to give a speech. I still don’t remember what I delivered at that very moment because I was still getting a feeling that I was dreaming. I gave a short speech and came back to my seat and started reflecting about all the things that has happened to me and how I reached till this point. Then while recalling all those events, I was surprised that all those major events and my major decisions were leading me to this point. It all converged and now all the things became clearer that why those events happened in my life. There had been some occasions in my life when I had to take tough calls and sometimes I used to repent those decisions, but now if I go back I know that it all happened because something good was in store for me.
It all started when I took a decision to join SOIL. I had a decent job and was drawing a decent salary but I had an urge to do something more, deep inside I knew that my present job was not enough and I was in a need of doing something more to grow. One fine day, I decided to start preparing for GMAT and also heard about SOIL from my colleague whose wife did a Human Resource Leadership program from SOIL and got a decent placement. I started to research more about the college and I found many great things and also some challenges that SOIL was facing. I did an extensive research and applied. Luckily I got selected with a research assistantship. I quit my job and took a tough decision to join SOIL. I had most of the eyebrows raised when I took this decision and then I took it as a challenge to prove a point and had confidence in college and joined SOIL. Even within a week, I had a feeling that I was enjoying my new life at SOIL and getting into the shoes of a student again. Suddenly the program took pace and we used to be fully loaded with assignments most of the time. Time passed soon, had many troughs and crests in the journey at SOIL. I am also working as a research assistant for Social Innovation Project (SIP) and learnt a lot in the process. The whole SIP thing helped me a lot in broadening my thinking. Apart from SIP some other major unique activities at SOIL like Sidhbari trip, External Mentorship, Huge Industry networks, Value system at SOIL, Theatre workshop, Mock interviews etc helped me a lot in cracking the process at Genpact and getting whopping package.
So, I am still sailing through this journey after this major event in my life at SOIL and learning continues. I can say that SOIL is the place which undoubtedly gave me some of the best and most memorable moments of my life.
My Beautiful Journey at SOIL
It is said that sometimes you unintentionally encounter certain situations in your life; but at a later stage all the happenings begin making sense to you, thereby giving a shape to your career, future and life. I am a firm believer in destiny and that’s how I see my world – This is exactly how I can describe my advent with value based abode, namely – The School of Inspired Leadership.
It began in my second year at Hindu College when our Economics batch 2008-2011 had a chance to meet Ms. Kanupriya Sekhri, Marketing head from SOIL. The session went on for around 2 hours and that’s how I got to learn about the innovative methods in higher education that SOIL had invented in a bet to revolutionize a whole new era of management education in India. A couple of years down the line while I was in search of an appropriate job I got a call from a consultant for a job opening at SOIL. The first thing that struck me was that day at Hindu college and I really wanted to consider this opportunity.
As it is said each step in life comes with its own challenges – something of similar sort happened with me too, as I had at the same point in time got an offer to work with AON Hewitt under Consulting Operations division. Now, there were many external pressures that wanted me to work with one among the most reputed and recognized brand names in the industry under HR domain; but, as I said before about my belief in destiny – my mind had charted out a different course altogether. I was more interested to unravel my quest for learning and discover my true potential. My heart and mind were completely attracted towards the value system at SOIL and the five pillars that form its foundation. It was quite an unconventional setting to be found – to be a part of the corporate yet so rooted to the values.
Thus, I joined SOIL and there has been no looking back since then. My hunger for learning has grown leaps and bounds here at SOIL because of the numerous opportunities the institute provides. While working for this great institution, I got to know about a newly introduced scholarship scheme – A 100% Scholarship scheme for meritorious students with a liberal arts/ humanities/ social sciences background. It had certain criteria for eligibility such as the student should be among the top five percent of the students graduating from his/ her class. I fulfilled all the required criteria, but due to certain unavoidable circumstances the scheme could not be rolled out completely and I was awarded 75% scholarship by the SOIL fraternity.
My learning journey at SOIL has been a lot around self-discovery with its own set of learnings, opportunities and challenges. The opportunities provided here amplify your true potential and discover your true calling being in sync with your value system. I am completely enjoying my journey and am more than contended at the fact that today I am a more self aware individual and know a lot more about myself as I am discovering my true potential. I would recommend everyone to be a part of the SOIL family in one way or the other to truly discover the inner potential that each individual carries. I am glad that my destiny took this route and SOIL happened. All the happenings of the past make complete sense now and I am contended as never before!
Welcome SOIL Batch 2012-13………..Were the words read by a girl who entered the building on 12th May’12. She was in doubts, tense and was hesitant to go in. She was thinking to herself- I am just a fresher and would now be between the batch mates who have an experience of more than 2 years. How am I supposed to stand with them? Will there be anyone of my age? Am I worth it? Have I taken the right decision? Well yes surely I had, Today when I look back and think about the first day at SOIL or the hesitation I had, it always brings a smile on my face. How wrong I was!
“Every individual has their own opinion, every individual is good at something or the other, appreciate the person for it. Do not compete with others compete with yourself, push yourself to do better than what you are.” This was the ideology of this college and believe me this is what we followed for the next 1 year and still follow it.
All the notions and hesitations which I had about myself and the college were gone in the first week itself when I met my colleagues and the way we all were inducted.
I being an average student all my life always had this one question how will I cope with all the studies and the extra-curricular since I love to be out of the class. An outstanding student never left an opportunity to be out of the lectures and whenever I got an opportunity I grabbed it with both my hands. Be it Sewa at the convocation or the two flagship events of SOIL “Meeting of Minds” and “Inspired Leadership Conference” where I headed one event and was actively involved in the other.
SOIL gave me many opportunities to learn. lead and live. All the classroom learning and discussions gave a new platform to me to learn, new perspective, it evolved me and gave me enthusiasm, a curiosity to implement what I learnt and I did get a chance to implement my classroom learning’s practically in my Action Leadership Program.
SOIL is a place where I got a family away from a family being a fresher I not only had a chance to gain knowledge from my professors but also from my peers who scolded me when I was not studying but were always there to help me when I got stuck anywhere. Even the easiest questions were answered by them to me starting from how to make a presentation to taking my mock interviews.
A year of investment which changed my life
My decision to join SOIL was quick and the stakes were high. A year of investment which changed my life forever and ever would be the best way to describe my experience at SOIL. From the Induction to Convocation day, every single event at SOIL is very different. If I have to just talk about five things which make SOIL what it is, then it would be the Admission Process, World Class Faculty and Curriculum, Social Innovation Program, Industry Consortium and Leadership Series.
The Admission Process which is primarily based on a psychometric test is an experience in itself. Till date the results surprise me. The students are taken in based on the Leadership and Emotional Quotient. The course also encourages overcoming the gaps through an Individual Learning Program which lets you work on your development areas and is reviewed periodically.
The curriculum is the most updated one. It is designed in consultation with Industry in order to make sure that the most employable MBA graduates are out of SOIL and they are productive from Day 1 in the jobs. The curriculum becomes even more interesting in the way it is taught and by whom it is taught. The best leaders from around the world are approached by SOIL to take courses like Mr. Saji Nair (IIM Lucknow) and Mr. Chiranjeev Kohli (University of California State University, Fullerton). Multiple Intelligences, Role Plays, Theatre and Case Studies are given preference over the usual modes of teaching.
The Social Innovation Program gives you an opportunity to work for the people at the bottom of the pyramid. On the one hand, you have Action Learning Projects which encourage students to apply theory to practical and on the other hand, project like these are an opportunity to do something for the society. Moreover, it also encourages you to find out ways to do more with much less resources. My project to work for the empowerment of women in Mewat District was an eye-opener and a great learning experience.
The Industry Consortium is formed by 32 big names in India. They are consulted in various activities at SOIL and prepare students to face the corporate world. Big names like TATA Steel, Mahindra & Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, ICICI Bank are of great help in arranging mock interviews, leadership series and recruitment drives.
The Leadership Series which act like a breather after a hectic day at SOIL constantly inspires you to be on your toes, keep reminding of why you came to SOIL in the first place and most importantly keep you motivated. Industry leader like Niren Choudhary (CEO- Yum Foods) have time and again been key speaker.
From then to now, every passing day, my belief in SOIL has only grown stronger and my bonding with it, deeper. My experiences made me fall in love with the Management Program. To be honest, the hectic schedule, the endless presentations, the case studies and the course packs were never seen as a burden because there has always been a great joy in learning and experimenting. Examinations where applications and real life examples are given precedence over jargons and text book answers then you really don’t have to worry about writing an exam and the grades. It all just happens and you just end up doing the best.
In retrospect, it all weaves into a beautiful one year and an exciting journey which made me learn and was a stepping stone to my destination of making a mark. Every one dreams of the IIMs and so had I, but I am proud SOILite and acknowledge that I got no less exposure or opportunities from SOIL. Every single experience at SOIL has made me to what I am today. May be SOIL was just another chapter in my life, but it was surely the best one.
In short, a journey which began with little knowing how it would unfold, folded in perhaps the most wonderful way…!!
Little did I know that my b-school education could also help me find my true purpose
Pen down, India’s first musical ready to roll! I see excitement in each one’s eyes and passion to make “7 Days to Wonderland” a success story! I sat reminiscing my past. Life has changed and how! I started my career in the banking industry with Deutsche bank in the investment banking division right after my graduation. Post completing 2 years there, I wanted to study further, gain more exposure. I looked at various management courses however I wanted to pursue a course in general management, rather than purely finance or marketing. School Of Inspired Leadership was then in its nascent stage, where it was enrolling students into its first batch of Business and Human Resource Leadership programs. My learning journey began with my admission into the Business Leadership Program. Being the youngest student in my course, I learnt important lessons, not only from my faculty, but also my peers. This seemed to be the highlight in my education. SOIL was exactly the place I wanted to be in- a place which gave me the academic knowledge and a platform to learn and work closely with experienced batch mates. The lessons I learnt from SOIL became the key ingredients in taking Humour me to greater heights.
Humour me! A young creative entertainment enterprise I co-founded in 2012. I got placed with Royal Bank of Scotland post completing my Business Leadership program. I worked in the consumer banking division for 2 years. When the opportunity to work in the field of entertainment came by, I knew that there was no overlooking that, but little did I know that my b-school education could also help me find my true purpose besides giving me skills to excel in an organization. I took the plunge and I am glad I did! Taking a leaf from SOIL founder’s vision, I knew that what we were creating in Humour Me was a community/family- one that trusts and guide’s each other. It’s this faith we have in each other that keeps us going and taking on unconventional projects.
Through SOIL I learnt the importance of being inspired and motivated, and that’s what we extend to our clients’- a reason to remain inspired!
My Transformation began in SOIL
I stood before a room full of children, patiently waiting for me to begin. I was there to speak to them about “Values” that focused on learning rather than the outcome. This is what “Val- Ed Initiatives” is set out to achieve.
With most of us complaining about what is missing in our society & organizations, I knew that we all were being driven by the outcome alone. I discovered the power of initializing new conversations on appreciation that completely transformed me. This transformation began in SOIL.
When my cousin told me about SOIL, I was intrigued. I engaged in conversations with the founders, understanding their concept. They guided me – patiently and honestly. They were set out to create responsible and conscientious leaders. I wanted to be one amongst them! A B-school with a curriculum that focused on authentic, unbiased conversation with emphasis on “Sanskaar”, reinforced through individual development program, Social Innovation Program and Self- Leadership is what stood out in its curriculum. My association with SOIL strengthened each day, even after I completed my program with them. SOIL focused on my personal development, with the founder taking personal interest in guiding, which kept me highly inspired and motivated.
I got placed with Dalmia Cements, through SOIL. My work with them gave me immense exposure and learning. I then co- founded Yuva Ignited Minds, a youth group started with the vision of awakening and igniting young minds about their responsibility towards the society at large working towards health, society and education. With a modest beginning of 12 members, today Yuva has grown to over 650 members, continuing to grow each day. My passion to work for the society motivated me to contest for Times of India “I Lead India” campaign. With rigorous rounds entailing personality, numerical, analytical With 20,000 applications across India TOI shortlisted 2900. The various rounds encompassed tests gauging personality, numerical and analytical ability of the applicants. Finally, making it through the process I stand representing Bangalore amongst 4 others in the TOI I LEAD INDIA campaign. 3 months back, I began my 2nd venture- Val-Ed Initiatives’ which teaches children ‘Values’ in an innovative & impactful manner to create stronger & healthier character in children bringing focus to learning rather than outcome. I teach values like Love, Focus, Positivity, Integrity & much more.
SOIL family has stood by me in each of my endeavors, whether it was my stint with Dalmia Cements, when I co-founded Yuva Ignited Minds or now when I began my journey as a Founder of Val-Ed Initiatives. My urge to give back to SOIL compels me to share SOIL’s philosophy, for everyone to experience transformation in their doing and being!
My initial days in PeopleStrong reminded me of my Individual Development Plan in SOIL
When I reminisce about my initial days in SOIL and PeopleStrong, a strong feeling of righteousness prevails over me. When I interrogate myself asking, “What has been the reason for all what happened?” or “Success” as you call it, I can see the flashback in front of my eyes. Undoubtedly, Leadership Series and Social Innovation Program in SOIL were paramount reasons behind my enriching experience in SOIL.
Till date, the powerful words and actions of the sterling leaders resonate and motivate to bring the best in me.
My initial days in PeopleStrong reminded me of my Individual Development Plan in SOIL. From the day one I followed it with perseverance and hard-work and this helped me to pave my path to surpass all my targets. Today, in just the span of 18 months, I have been promoted twice and now I am anxiously waiting for more to come! If there is one learning that I can share with you all, that will be, “Dream big, work smartly and push yourself to the core especially when chips are down, so when you see the day of light- you will be “Successful or rather Impactful”!
SOIL gave me an opportunity to lead
May 14, 2012 marked the beginning of a new journey for me and my life took a turn which I had never planned before. It is rightly said: “Life is full of ‘Uncertainties’ but whatever happens, happens for ‘Good’
I believed in it and joined SOIL despite having offers from other prestigious B-schools. The very fact that I am stating other B-schools itself justifies that SOIL is more than just a B-school as I am very sure of one thing – the varied experience I gathered in SOIL in one year, would not have matched the experience gained in other conventional institutes.
Before I joined SOIL, like any other MBA aspirant, I had my questions about the recognition of the college, affiliation with AICTE, its placements, its course structure etc. I inquired a lot about this college and all the other prestigious colleges in Chennai, Delhi, and Ghaziabad where I was capable to join. But the best part that attracted and lured me towards this school was the honesty and dedication with which my doubts were clarified. There were no hidden motives, no dreamland world but a blunt truth about what SOIL is all about, what is SOIL`s belief system and what should be my expectations.
My learning from SOIL started from Day 1 when I learnt that this is not the place where you can be complacent. But more than that it was a big family where everyone had his/her own individuality. No one was just an MBA student who came in to learn. Everyone has their thoughts which were given importance. That was the best part of this institution.
I was never an exceptional performer. I had always been an average student in school and college who was always interested in playing cricket and pursuing his hobby of dancing, chatting etc. But SOIL gave me reasons and opportunities to excel in everything I wanted to do. It all started with classroom activities performing well in exams, actively participating in group assignments and helping other friends to perform well.
As a part of curriculum, apart from gaining classroom knowledge, I was given a chance to do my servings for the society, interact with top leaders of industry as my mentors, work for various companies in live projects and last but not the least interact and learn from the CEO and founder Mr. Anil Sachdev who needs no introduction but can be called as powerhouse of knowledge. As I look back, I feel in one year nobody could dream of a better substitute available. It is easy to write an experience but it is really difficult to explain one. So everything that I have stated is an experience in its own way which is really unique and rich in its every aspect.
Soil gave me an opportunity to lead and manage an event – Inspired Leadership Conference (ILC), which is an annual flagship event of SOIL and various eminent leaders from industry participate in it. It gave an incredible experience to me as on one hand I led the group of students and on the other hand interacted with industry leaders to bring out something meaningful for the society.
Then came the Soil Premier League which was another opportunity bestowed on me to conduct an event for the Alumni, current students and staff where all could share the happiness of being members of the Soil Family.
All these events turned me into a competent and capable individual, who now knew the meaning of Mindfulness, Ethics, Sustainability, Diversity and Compassion – the five pillars of the school. The dedication to learn and perform and believing in the philosophy of SOIL transformed me into a person that I always wanted to be – an “ALL Rounder”. This particular word always fascinated me but Soil recognized me and awarded me with an “all rounder” award at convocation for my top performance in academics, sports and extracurricular.
This complete year in SOIL changed my way of looking at things: the way I approach things, the way I carry myself , the way I perform in a team or as a matter of fact the way I lead a team. All this came from the entire eco-system and environment provided by the school and the way it nurtured our gradual transformation. At the end, I was not only an MBA graduate with higher skills but also a charged up human being ready to do something for the organization, society and the country at large.
SOIL’s eco-system is an addiction!
I came to SOIL with a firm promise. Determination, focus, inquisitiveness, zeal and dark-circles helped me absorb whatever knowledge I could from diverse cultures, industries, ages and life stories. “Social Innovation Program (SIP)” was not only a humbling experience that probably taught me the true meaning of empathy and compassion, it also offered me an opportunity to apply management concepts in designing functional strategies to achieve targets like community development through better education. The Himalayan retreat in the foot hills of Himalaya was spent understanding my being through nature trails in the woods, meditation and yoga.
reminisce how the fission-fusion within and around kept me going zealously until I found myself standing numb on the stage after receiving “All-rounder of the year award 2011” on the convocation day. SOIL’s eco-system is an addiction! Experience at SOIL came handy by utilizing a bespoke combination of conceptual clarity, case-studies, simulations, peer learning and guidance by my mentors being industry leaders & faculty. Being promoted as amongst the youngest Associate Manager was icing on the cake last year. It’s been almost 3 years since I embarked on this ambitious voyage and since then I have been relishing every “nautical mile” travelled.
Learning at SOIL has been truly holistic. It made me aware of my potential.
Learning at SOIL has been truly holistic – from spiritual understanding to development of multiple intelligences. It has made us aware of our own potential. Courses like Strategic Rewards Management, Consulting Skills & Project Management have helped me streamline my efforts and my objectives and I have proven my ability to look at things practically despite being a fresh graduate.
(HRLP Batch of 2009-10)
Account Manager, Hay Group, Middle East
My worshipping Abode!!!!
Whenever we are sad and happy in life we think of only one person – the creator of universe “GOD”. God is omnipresent but we still go to temples to be more close to his presence. As I entered the new phase of my life I can feel strong and positive vibes all around me. I planned to devote my whole life to worship in this temple of learning. It was a totally different and amazing experience as I expected from the college. On the very first day when I felt the presence of God of the temple Anil Sir, I was stunned to see him and literally I could not take my eyes away from him. He interacted with us and changed our perspective to a great extent. He made us realize that instead of running in a race we must stop for a while and knock our minds and feel the need to discover in ourselves what we were born to do. When I sighted this holy man all my questions were answered about a holistic learning platform and what an inspiring leader one could become. He interacted with us a lot and we were motivated to learn from this holy place as much as we can.
Life had taken a full circle for me it was a school experience all again as we started with prayers after a long time, respecting our country by singing national anthem. Initially silly thoughts came in my mind but after 3 days itself I felt really good, I was able to feel the flow of energy and actually it’s the wonderful way to interact and make a strong network with peers, faculty and senior leaders present in this temple of learning called SOIL. Morning circle gives us the platform to be confident in ourselves and the most beautiful thing about morning circle is whatever we say we will be appreciated. So, this has started to change the feelings in ourselves to appreciate ourselves and others instead of exploiting the weaknesses.
On the first day I was reluctant to interact with anyone since I started this journey alone with no groups. But seniors were there to make us really comfortable by healthy interactions. The first week was the induction week which was beautifully designed. It was designed in a manner that we were playing games and at the same time getting to interact with each other and the faculty. A lot of effort was put by our seniors and faculty; it was very evident from the innovative games and was a sure reflection of creativity. We never felt like that when our college has started, we were having fun and in the meanwhile we were also increasing confidence in ourselves because we were getting to interact with peers. The whole week up till now has been wonderful and I have already learnt many things about me and if in one week I can learn so many things, I am exhilarated and amazed just by anticipating the coming year in SOIL (MY TEMPLE OF LEARNING).
Whisper of my Future Alma Mater
First time I heard the name of my current Alma Mater School Of Inspired Leadership (S.O.I.L) was from a close friend and a very supportive colleague during our tea break on a rather sunny evening. We were discussing about the realm of executive education and our future prospects. With close to 3+ years of work experience in IT field and a decent corporate exposure, our prime focus was beset upon a academic institution providing us with an enriching and vital learning platform. Amidst the lights of IIMs and IITs offering such courses, we heard of our future alma mater i.e. S.O.I.L. . On a lighter note we were initially sceptical about SOIL as our MBA destination as it was relatively new to this domain. But after a brief talk with one of the SOIL alumnus, we decided to apply for the same.
The Step Forward
The Caliper Test that every prospective student planning to get a admission in SOIL is made to go through was indeed in my eye unique and certainly very different from most of the tests I have given in my entire life. Through the sources of media I did find out about the test that it is more like a Psychometric Evaluation to predict an individual’s burning desire to predict its correct cohort, also whether he/she has a right mix of flair which resonates with the person’s character on the whole. After getting the confirmation for clearing the preliminary stage of SOIL’s admission procedure, I knew I have to be cent percent sure as to why I want to be a part of SOIL fraternity.
After deep introspection, I managed to depict my perspective for the essays on which my candidature would be evaluated. With a positive frame in my mind and in a subtle anxiety I gave my personal interview, which was more like a formal discussion thanks to SOIL representatives.
The Humble Beginnings
During our first day at SOIL, we happened to have the spiritual guidance and expertise of one of the best mentors in the country Mr. Anil Sachdev along with his SOIL family. Right from the bare beginnings we heard of SOIL’s unique training and learning program, the first sight of the same came into picture through the Morning Circle activity which acted as a unique platform to share the ideas and pay homage to our GURUS whose guiding spirit has helped spread the positive vibes all around the holy ambience of SOIL.
When we came to know about the struggle and hard work put forth by the SOIL fraternity to kick-start the academic institution and give life to its firm foundation, we were moved & inspired.. at the same time we came to a realisation that under a GURU’S GUIDANCE (Swami Chinmayananda) and a firm belief in the mission, one can help you achieve anything in your life. With the positive vibes reverberating around our holy field we all got a chance to meet our peers in person during the short lunch hour and breaks.
Half way through the day with heaps of energy ready to be unleashed, we met Mr. Ankush and his peer group for an interesting set of exercises, when the session ended we were acquainted with the core values of SOILs viz:
– Ethics: It was something which was imbibed in us since our childhood from our parents but while growing up, we forgot these values. Just by learning the various aspects of life in SOIL, we got the opportunity to learn about the same. We are trying to seep within ourselves the importance ethics in one’s life while making certain decisions in future.
– Compassion: We all have sympathy in our hearts for others who are in pain but what I feel that I’ll learn in my new family is to have empathy towards the people of our nation, which will not only help our fellow citizens but will also help our country to grow as a whole.
– Diversity: SOIL has a blend of people hailing from various parts of the country with different cultural backgrounds. While this might not be a distinguishing factor but what I noticed is the initiative taken by SOIL to help us gel with each other with the help of various team building activities with the sole focus on the motto “Unity In Diversity”.
– Mindfulness: Not regretting about the past and not being anxious about the future is something that helps us stay in the present moment. Both our future and our past depend on what we do in the present. This is such a simple idea yet difficult to implement. I am sure the environment at soil will imbibe this vital quality in us.
– Sustainability: This is one of the most important aspects one needs to think about while evaluating any idea. The entire idea no matter how innovative will crumble in no time if the foundation is weak and hence ignoring sustainability would be fatal.
Our next day started with the morning circle which will be a part of our life for the coming year and I’ll try to carry this habit in future too. Dr Snehal Shah taught us about the assignments imparting important corporate lessons and also the honesty with which we have to complete and submit them. She was one of the finest teachers I have ever met. I was spellbound by her vast knowledge and also the confidence with which she explained the importance of honesty. Also, we came to know about the concept of plagiarism and the impacts it has in one’s life. Next we were asked to learn about the policies to be followed while our stay at SOIL. I appreciate the way the same were taught to us by using the concept of a case study.
Till date the SOIL journey was not only an enriching experience but a unique one too. I do not know much about the teaching methodology at other b-schools but I feel SOIL certainly has its unique way of imparting knowledge and its emphasis on the moral values is unparalleled. So all in all I am prepared for the coming Year and the learning bestowed in the coming future.
I envision SOIL students will display breakthrough leadership
My 5 year vision of SOIL revolves around the students of SOIL. Over the next five years, SOIL must provide an extraordinary experience of learning and living together to 1000 young men and women. This 1000 strong team should be a great brand ambassador of SOIL. At work, I envision SOIL students will display breakthrough leadership. The SOIL alumni will distinguish themselves as people actively engaged in the community and nation as extraordinary citizens!
I genuinely enjoy the following aspects of SOIL:
The SOIL approach is to liberate its students from the shackles of simply accepting ‘what is’. SOIL students are encouraged to build the habit of unbridled curiosity. This allows them to search deep and engage with beliefs developed from a profound understanding of themselves and others.
Students at SOIL learn to leap from the question of ‘why’ to examine the possibilities of ‘why not’. Knowledge is not a limitation. Rather, it becomes inspiration for innovation.
SOIL invests heavily in enabling its students to introspect. There are various forms of such introspection – from the self-discipline of meditation to giving and taking feedback. Students discover that the power is within them – they learn how to bring it to life.
It’s a fast changing world. The global socio economic order is changing with the emergence of new economic powers. Technology is making and breaking traditions. In India, a young aspiring generation is emerging and demanding to be heard, understood and recognised. Leaders of today and tomorrow will need some time-tested and many new skills. Some of those are described below:
Leaders have to be Learners: Standing still is not an option, and akin to a ‘dinosaur’ attitude.
Authentic leadership: Power and responsibilities come quickly in this new age. People must realise joy by being genuine. Leaders must be ‘real’ people who build ’real’ relationships.
Committed leaders: Leaders must be passionately committed to the cause. They must strive to achieve goals that are ‘wholesome’ – to achieve business and financial objectives that are sustainable
Building Ethical Leaders
I truly believe that SOIL has been setup to serve the need of developing leaders globally – leaders with character, competence and enthusiasm. To me it helps them to conquer their own fear by appreciating, encouraging and educating them. And make them more mindful, ethical, compassionate to embrace diversity and build a sustainable future.
In five years, we would like to see SOIL in a residential campus and recognized as a global center of leadership development. With an accredited program, it should be able to provide leadership training and developmental programs on a massive scale across the globe.
Some aspects that are very close to my heart are:
-Active industry consortium and their participation in curriculum design and its review
-Focus on self-awareness, holistic transformation and individual learning plans
-SIP (Social Innovation Program)
-Action learning projects
-Regular evaluation of learning outcome and transformation
Today, Industry is in a challenging environment. It is facing stiff global competition, close scrutiny of its environmental and social impact, higher aspirations of its employees, shareholders and associated stakeholders. At the same time, unfortunately, societal evils such as corruption & extortions, and rise in inequality are leading to anger and antipathy across the world. It is well said that we cannot build industry and infrastructure while destroying moral and social fiber.
To strengthen this fiber, SOIL is making an attempt to build leaders who are ethical to engage and challenge negative groups of corrupt policy makers and service providers, compassionate to deal with rising aspirations and anger & antipathy, at the same time willing to create products and services which protects and sustains environment and communities around them. Moreover, it is SOIL’s endeavor to develop leaders who are energetic and passionate to perform better in the marketplace.
SOIL Board Members’ Stories
Creating Leaders who are guided by moral ethos
I was sitting with Anil at Grow talent Office in Gurgaon when Anil indicated a desire to spend next ten years on education. I felt it was a great idea! The obvious question was what type of education we should be connected with. We felt that our experience and expertise was in the field of leadership and therefore we should think of creating a school with focus on building leaders of the right kind.
We also felt that we did not want to create one more typical MBA school where most graduates opt for finance as that offers higher salaries. It was our hope that we can create an institute which will create diversity of aspirations and will provide leaders who value meaning in life and are guided by moral ethos. After various rounds of discussion with the stakeholders, we decided the priorities for the school. Anil came up with the name SOIL at Sidhbari and we felt it was most appropriate, as it indicated nurturing of minds.
I believe we are on the right track, and employers and academics are recognizing our unique proposition. My hope is that during next five years we will retain our uniqueness. We will also have a residential campus and will create inspiring leaders not only for industry but also for public policy and NGOs. I am most impressed by Soil emphasis on moral values and work with NGOs.
I am sure that industry needs capable leaders who are guided by Moral values of SAT, CHIT and ANAND. SOIL is doing its best to provide such leaders.
“Narender has scaled his contribution both vertically and horizontally in CORD after his enrollment in ELBP. ELBP has deepened his vision and perspectives for CORD’s growth in many ways strategically and
financially. His analytical skills and problem solving approach has been sharpened even further.
For instance, we have a critical problem of developing work force to serve rural and remote India. Implementation in the field is a herculean task. Since Narender’s participation in the ELBP, he has matured markedly in coaching as well as training our team to perform better. He has started building a network for outsourcing volunteers too to mentor some of our team leaders.
Narender is assiduously applying his knowledge from Action Learning Project at ELBP to many of our program components here at CORD.
I am happy to share with you that application of learning of marketing skills has enabled Narender to widen CORD’s fundraising and marketing strategies. I am sure he will scale CORD’s work even more in the future.
With ELBP, Narender has developed a greater enthusiasm and confidence to interact with different stakeholders in effective ways to the advantage of CORD. ELBP has driven his dynamism and enthusiasm further to work and demand performance from the team and himself. I see him balancing all this with greater appreciation of team members’ abilities and a greater insight in Narender to fulfill their training needs. His awareness and mindfulness towards them has acquired a new dimension.
What makes me very happy is that in spite of Narender’s increasing responsibilities he keeps
conscious balance of his family and his work demands, a learning I am sure that has been
fortified by ELBP.
I have no words to express my gratitude to ELBP team at SOIL for unveiling Narender’s potential even further through this great opportunity.
My hearty congratulations to all ELBP graduates whom I sure have similar stories to relate. SOIL is an apt ground for nurturing and creating leadership of substance and consequence.
My salutations to all of you in SOIL!
With warm regards.
Kshama Didi – National Director, Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development (CORD)