Neelesh Rangwani (DD/ME/12) was the Hospitality Core for Shaastra 2010. He is the head of CRM and Affiliate Marketing at fabfurnish.com
How was your experience being a Shaastra Core?
Being a Shaastra Core is bound to be an exciting experience for any student. For me, It started with an ‘Aspiring Coordinators Meet’ where each member of the Core Group gave a presentation in front of all the aspiring juniors and sophomores who wanted to become the ‘big shots’ of a very small student community. I guess that was my first presentation in the Students Activity Centre (SAC) and surprisingly, I was not as much nervous as I thought I would be. In fact, I enjoyed addressing so many people.
Being on one of the top posts, you get to review some of the most ridiculous applications and interview “potential candidates” with highly irrelevant past experiences. I can remember a lot of funny incidents that happened during the interviews, one of which I remember quite distinctly. Apparently, a female candidate said some nice words about me after the interview which spread like wildfire across the institute, and after that I was always addressed with those words till the time I graduated.
Since I had already worked with most of my coordinators in the past, I knew their strengths and weaknesses, and allotted them their respective tasks accordingly. With such an awesome team, I was able to achieve almost everything I planned to do. Needless to mention that most of my team worked along with me 24×7 to keep everything going. I got a chance to sleep for sometime during one of the nights, during which I lost my brand new camera. 😛
Shaastra Core Meetings are really something. It’s a great experience to sit with some of the smartest guys in insti and discuss new ideas to make the brand Shaastra bigger and better. Even more awesome is to see the same bunch of smart guys leaving the most important discussions on table as soon as the Pizza guy arrives. The importance one gets for being a Shaastra core is something one can only feel and never express.
All in all, it was an experience that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.
What made you apply for the position of Core, and what would be your message to aspiring core candidates?
It’s one of the very few festivals that live up to the reputation of a Technical Festival. I fell in love with Shaastra right on the first moment I saw it. Watching all the cool stuff that happened during those 4 days was an amazing experience. Being in Hospi team gave me an outsider’s perspective of Shaastra because we were the ones who interacted with outstation participants the most and solved their queries. Very often I used to hear from the participants that our Shaastra was the best among the technical festivals. It was always music to the ears, and was my motivation to contribute to Shaastra’s growth using my organizational skills.
Also, when you are young, you tend to follow someone who is cool, and get inspired by someone who has made it big, or is popular. Something similar happened to me when I joined the college. During my first intro session, I interacted with one of the seniors who sounded real smart and cool. And when I went for my Shaastra volunteer training, he was right there leading our Hospitality Team. He even cracked a few big B-Plan competitions and got placed in one of the best firms of that time. That was enough inspiration for me to follow in his footsteps. Eventually, I did get a chance to prove my leadership skills.
My message to aspiring core candidates “Don’t just aspire, go grab this chance and make the fullest of it. It’ll be your first lesson to build something big”
What were the things among your Core duties that you enjoyed doing the most?
1) Asking all the coordinators to treat me for getting selected 😛
2) Interacting with hundreds of new people in insti, with whom I wouldn’t have got in touch otherwise.
3) Learning new things almost every day while coordinating with various departments – Design, Web-Ops, Finance, Facilities.
4) Distributing food coupons to the ever hungry volunteers. 😛
5) Selling my ideas to Dean of Students in 5 minutes.
6) Getting into the good books of Dean’s secretary and getting things done in priority.
7) Kicking ass when someone made some error.
Do you think the responsibility of being a Core helped you in your later life?
Yes, Definitely. Leading such a huge team helped me hone my leadership and communication skills. Being a Core member, I shared the responsibility of building Shaastra 2010 from scratch. It helped me develop my project execution skills.
All of this has certainly helped me in my career. Within two years of my graduation, I am deciding all the marketing strategies of a leading e-commerce firm in India. I have been given the responsibility of three major online marketing Channels which garner more than 50% of revenue of a 100+ crore firm. I am leading a team of 7 at the moment, and am on a hiring spree to build a much bigger team. I owe all of this to my learning and experiences in Shaastra.
Describe in one line : I love Shaastra because….
It’s a way to show IITM’s true technical prowess to the outside world, and is the face of all the innovations that happen at IIT Madras.
Describe in one line : I love Insti because….
It was a Home away from Home. I came to know some of the best human beings in the Institute, and I’m in contact with some of them till date.