When you think of Goa, you think of booze, good looking men & women, beaches, the sun & sands, churches and so on.
Goa Institute of Management (GIM) organized the first ever of its kind entire 2 – day event on Social Media and Business on 28th and 29th August 2010 at the ITC Fortune Regina, Candolim, Goa. Events of this kind have been organized for corporates time and over again across the country while institutes like IIMs etc. have organized social media events as part of various conferences. But none of these educational institutes have ever organized a full fledged summit on Social Media. In that sense this was really a first of its kind event.
145 entries from IIMs, SP Jain, IMT, MICA, SCMHRD, SIBM Pune and many other top institutes with finally top 5 shortlisted to present at the event – there was intense competition for the battle to be the best in the social media arena. MICA, SIES Mumbai, IIM K, IIFT Kolkata and SIBM Pune were the top 5 finalists. We reached on the day of the event after a 9 hour bus journey in a Neeta Mercedes AC coach which wasn’t comfortable by any standards. The AC wasn’t functioning for most part of the journey and sleeping on the seat wasn’t a very comfortable experience other. But nonetheless we reached on the morning of the event.
The old GIM campus is located next to the Mandovi river at a place called Ribandar. They would be moving to the new campus at Sanquelim pretty soon. The old campus was a hospital built in 1963 before it got converted to a management college. But many of the indications that it was a hospital still remain in the names and even in the designs of the buildings. One of the boys hostels is called the Operation Theater while one of the girls hostels is the Morgue ;). After freshening up, we finally left for ITC Fortune Regina which is a 4 star hotel situated at Candolim, an hours drive from the institute.
The sessions on the first day included talks by Gaurav Mishra (Former CEO of 2020Social), Rajesh Lalwani (CEO of Blogworks), Deepak Gopalkrishnan (Windchimes Communications), Karthik Subramaniam (Hindu Newspaper), Karthik Nagarajan (Head, Online Marketing Division, AC Nielsen) to name a few. Interesting topics like emergence of new business models in social media, traditional media vs social media and transformation from brick to click were discussed on the first day. Other than the speakers and the talks, the best part was the food and the splendid hospitality accorded by the GIM students. Each team had been assigned a volunteer. Our volunteer Pankaj Arora was one of the most hospitable and caring people I have ever met. He always came to us to ask whether we had eaten, drank water, had coffee and was always ready to help us anytime. The four course meals during lunch and dinner on the
first day and lunch on the second day was out of this world.
Truth be told – I have never seen such fantastic, splendid, tremendous, mind – boggling (Don’t know what adjectives to use) hospitality, organization and food anywhere at any fest I have gone to (FYI – gone for competitions to IIT Guwahati, IIT Roorkee, BITS Goa, BIM Trichy, NIT Surathkal, Bharathidasan University and a company called Honeypot IT Consulting)
The second day was our case study presentation. After preparing for hours on end and also sitting the previous night correcting our mistakes and making sure we had an idea of what the judges would question us on, our presentation was a success. We were disappointed at having missed out on the first spot. But nonetheless, securing the 2nd spot out of 145 entries (we shared it with IIFT Kolkata) which was an achievement in itself and the entire experience of such a conference was fantastic. After the competition there was an interesting session on Financial Implications of Social Media which had interesting speakers like Rajiv Dhingra (CEO of WAT Media), Arun Nair (Online Marketing Head of Infosys) and Arun Nair (Online Marketing Head of Club Mahindra).
Before leaving Goa, we didn’t forget to chill out because that’s what Goa is famous for isn’t it? So the four of us – 2 from SIBM Pune and 1 each from IIFT Kolkata and SIES Mumbai hired a car and set out to roam around the beaches of Panjim. We went to Baga, Calangute, Dona Paula (which turned to be a jetty rather than a beach which we expected) and Miramar. There were also some interesting experiences wherein some pimps followed us and also a guy at Calangute who asked me whether I wanted ‘Charas’, ‘Ganja or girls. I also had an encounter with a transsexual also Calangute.
After getting the necessary ‘things’ like cashew-nuts and ‘more’, while we were waiting for the bus to go back, it started raining like never before – cats, dogs, cows, monkeys, donkeys everything. Guess just before leaving, God wanted us to experience what we hadn’t till then – Goa’s rain!!! Getting into a bus with wet clothes which had AC at full blast was a horrible experience. Very heavy rains, Crazy cold, taking out curtains to use as bedsheets because the blankets were 100 bucks, changing my shirt in the bus – the journey back on the bus was an experience it itself.
All in all it was one of the best trips ever in my short life. The best part was the fact that we enjoyed, had fun, made friends for the first time with our competitors too and also came 2nd. All thanks to Ankita Gupta, Pankaj Arora, Vijay Kulkarni, Mohit Sharma and each and everyone else (knew only these names that’s why mentioned them ;)) who was involved with the organizing of Samriddhi 2010. You guys rocked. Your hospitality, help, organization, speakers, the venue, food everything was tremendous.