Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Professor Daniel Drache is the Associate Director of the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and also a Professor of Political Sciences at York University in Toronto, Canada. We were lucky to have him on campus to deliver a guest talk on “Barack Obama’s Stunning Victory”.
As B-school students (oops… I meant participants), we have one discussion quite a few times, “What’s the difference between Managers & Leaders?” Does one imply the other? What are great leaders all about? Do managerial skills help leadership? I guess when we think about great leaders, a lot of images come to mind, including Gandhi, Mandela, Kennedy, etc. and in the years to come we may be hearing “Obama” in that list too. 

Excerpts from the Seminar:
Professor Drache spoke to us as well as the faculty about Defiant Publics and Winning/ Losing in an internet age. Yup, Internet; and to be specific, he spoke a lot on Obama’s campaign strategy using Web 2.0 and Facebook. It was amusing but not shocking to see that none of the professors sitting in the audience were on Facebook. Professor Drache even rewarded them a C- (of course jokingly) when he found out that they didn’t Text (SMS) either. Anyways, how exactly did Obama use Facebook?? During his campaign, there were around 780 regional offices across the US, with paid staff, to arrange and coordinate virtual discussion groups, chat rooms and organizations to mobilize the ideas and suggestions of the American population. These virtual communities made the people feel a part of the campaign. They created networks, and slowly Obama was able to reach the hearts of cynical and critical voters below the age of 30. These activities led to an increase in voter turnout (mostly in favor of Obama) and also a clear mandate for the people.

To Americans, McCain meant “War and Patriotism – Loyalty to the nation, right/wrong; Tax cuts to richer people” but the voters finally voted against that. The crisis caused by the Bush administration and the fact that people felt worse off as compared to 5 years ago did not help the Republican’s cause too much either. Professor Drache said that across the globe today, people hope to have a leader like Obama for “Change”. He called the people of modern times, “Defiant” as they boldly resisted and questioned authority which forcefully wishes you to believe their ideologies. Recently the world has seen a steady decline of Deference. Also, over the past decade, there has been a clear shift in public opinion from Bush-Blair ideologies to ones which actually help the nation progress. During his lecture, Professor Daniel presented a very interesting online poll, which is given below:

The above statistics clearly show, that Obama is “America’s favorite President” at the moment. The fact that a Black candidate won the elections rejects the belief that US citizens allow racism to cloud their thinking. Politics of inclusion and diversity led to Obama’s victory.

Q&A session:
There were some interesting questions from the participants of IIM Indore and Sugandh had even become Mr. Drache’s helpful aid by filling in the blanks on many a occasion. I must commend that fellow for a great GK. Or is it that “He doesn’t study”, as the professor said… 🙂 Anyways, back to Q&A….
In response to Raina, who asked the professor whether expectations may have just gone too high for Obama to fulfill them, Professor Drache said that no expectation can be too “HIGH” for a person like Obama however at times they may be unrealistic in terms of “time-frame”.
Commenting on the new American President, he said that he was a truly diverse cosmopolitan. He had won with his policies and as a gracious and respectful person. However, Dr. Daniel did say that we’ll have to wait for maybe around 2 years to actually see if he’s able to bring change.

Professor Drache’s recently released book: “Defiant Publics: The Unprecedented Growth of the Global Citizen

Another book he mentioned:
The Genius of American Politics” by Daniel J. Boorstin


It’s been almost 2 weeks since I’ve penned something online. Is that right? “Penned”?? I guess I should say “typed”, but who cares… 🙂

As you must have felt, I have been busy. I guess I took this term a bit lightly, messed up a few grades and now I’m slogging at the end trying to make amends. But I’ve learnt my lessons. I just hope I can get through this storm. 4 exams over in the first 2-day phase. 5 more at the turn of the year. Sadly, they end on 31st and I’ll have to spend New Years eve in the train back home.

But that’s not the only thing which has kept me busy. I’ve shouldered a new responsibility out here. I got elected as the Secretary for the Media & Public Relations Committee. (a part of SWAC, I mean SAC… I’ll tell you about that later) You can say, I’ve helped myself become a bit more busier. But I guess it’s fine. Always been passionate to work for this committee, and though it seems like a daunting task, I hope to do my duties well. One thing about being the head of anything is that, You very easily become the target of so-called “Critics”. And these days there are many. You’re scrutinized by every individual; One wrong move and Wham, they’ll hit you right where it hurts. One thing I’m glad about…. I have a great team – 3 individuals (Srinath, Raj and Srihari) who have a very level-headed approach to everything and I hope we all complement each other in the days to come. Here’s to you guys – Cheers!

This time round, the elections (yes even IIMs have elections) were a very new experience. People (including myself) campaigning for votes, making new contacts and even friends at times. Manifestos being presented, Questions being raised, Controversies and Rumors brewing. Some of it was truly painful and shocking, but all in all I guess I had my share of fun. I learnt how childish as well as how mature individuals can be. It all got over pretty fast. I’m gonna miss those days, and those posts on the News Groups.

Politics and Exams apart, it’s been a dull last month of the year. The 2nd term just seems to be dragging itself for too long. It’s become like one of those Saas-Bahu serials. I’m just dying to get back home to Udaipur and enjoy the Winter (Man, it feels so gud to cuddle up in bed and sleep all day long) :). I have to get attached to some NGO also during the same period. IIMs don’t leave you free very easily 🙂 Projects, assignments, Field Visits, Surveys… You name it, They’ve got it! I guess we all asked for it when we entered this humble abode. But I’m sure it’s better than working for some IT company 15 hrs. a day. I can wait for another 15-16 months.

X-mas!! It’s the season to be jolly. I guess we all are a bit jolly right now because of the 5 day gap between the two exam phases. Not too sure about Sections A & B; poor fellas have 4 classes every day, thats about 6-7 hrs of rigorous boredom. Sorry for you guys…
December kinda reminds me of the US. I miss the snow, the decorated streets and malls, the Christmas tree at home, those gr8 gifts :). I miss those days when school would suddenly be called off, the snow-man and the snow-fights! They’re all a distant memory now 😦

I watched a movie yesterday, “One-hour photo” where the protagonist speaks about the magic behind photos; about how families capture time in the blink of an eye, or should i say “shutter”. Even I have so many pics from those gr8 old days, when ignorance was a bliss, when blunders were called cute by people, when you could get low grades and not even care. Were those days gr8 or what??! Wish I had a time-machine.. 🙂

Anyways, I gotta get back to work. Still 5 exams to go, and some work for MediaCom. See ya all soon. Hope I get some time b4 I go off home, to write some more… Adios.