01 June 2015 13:38:12 IST

B-schools have to mentor students for nation-building

Neesha Rathod writes about rural-based projects that helped her understand the sector

After my B.Sc. in Agriculture from Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, Dapoli, I decided to pursue the PGDM in Rural Management from WeSchool. This unique programme mentors future managers/leaders, helping them gain a deep understanding of India’s rural sector; the needs and aspirations of the people, their lifestyle, culture and beliefs systems, and so on.

The programme gave me opportunities to work in a practical environment through several projects. Few projects which gave me insights into rural sector were:

• Exploring the grassroots – a 10-day tour of rural areas with the objective of understanding grassroot-level working and culture as well as the functioning of various government schemes there.

• Two-month summer internship with Mahindra Rural Housing Finance in Gulbarga, Karnataka. It was a project dealing with Target Market, Market Segmentation, understanding consumer behaviour and providing superior customer value and service standards.

• Three months of academic research projects with First Rand Bank where I learnt the dynamics of the urban-rural through a project on financial inclusion in India.

My decision to take this journey to rural India has paid off as I have been employed with the market leader in tractor industry, Mahindra & Mahindra – Farm Division.

It is deeply fulfilling to work with an organisation that works at ground-level, catering to the demands of India’s farmers. I get to meet the farmers, interact with them, helping me understand their needs and problems. This direct communication adds significant value to my decision-making. Through this communication though, one has to be very grounded, patient and speak in a language that they understand. The learning at WeSchool under the mentorship of expert faculty and their industry counterparts made this possible. Today, I am applying those lessons on a day-to- day basis to bring benefits to the rural society, the organisation as well as myself.

The PGDM (Rural Management) programme at WeSchool has made me a capable and empathetic manager. It has also equipped me to withstand challenges that will come from time to time.

With the spirit of ‘Make in India’ prevailing in the country, B-schools have the responsibility to mentor their young students, and equip them with necessary skills not just in terms of employability but also for nation-building. It is a long journey, full of twists and turns. But I envision a bright future not just for me, but for the nation.