Having fun while learning To become a great manager!
LIVE PERFORMANCES add to the entertainment quotient of a fest
IT is all about fun embellished with learning experience when it comes to organizing a successful college festival. If you say college festivals are all about the fun, frolic, dancing, eating, chatting, meeting new people from other colleges, participating in events, star performances and all that, just hold on. Let’s take a step back. What takes to bring in all these components in a fest? What goes on behind the scenes?
Given that almost every college these days hosts its annual festival, students from various disciplines of different colleges across the country speak about what takes to make a fest ‘good’, ‘unique’ and ‘laudable’. Arranging a fest ranges from planning a theme, to fixing the budget, managing sponsorships, inviting guests, performers, arranging events and a lot more. So, where does it all start from?
Formation and composition of a cultural committee
In most colleges, there is a separate core committee for cultural activities. The team members, drawn from various disciplines and departments are selected after several rounds of interviews and assignment submissions. As in Techfest (Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay), the organizational set up is 3-tier, with a team led by a group of 21 managers and an overall coordinator. Each Manager has a group of coordinators and organizers under him/ her who help to look into the finer details of organizing the fest.
Cultural festivals are also a coming together of the different committees. As Siddharth P. Bijlani from Imperium (Management Development Institute, Gurgaon) said, “The various academic clubs organise the management events related to their domain; the sports and cultural committees help in conducting the various sports and cultural events whereas the hostel and mess committee coordinates logistics and venue management.” So, the credit for a successful fest cannot be attributed only to the cultural committee members alone. Coordination plays a big role here, with all the constituents making contributions.
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Organizing a festival is unquestionably not a one-day match. Given that most colleges follow a credit system, missing out on a single class means losing out on a considerable grade point. Yet, students manage to put up a great show despite this firmness in class timings. “It all depends on how one manages his/her time. Some of us did miss classes to make preparations for the festival when it was necessary,” said Ronnie Philip from Techfest.
Some colleges plan their preparations accordingly so that they don’t have to bunk classes. “The preparations for Pulse are started almost two months before the event so that we are required to skip minimum number of classes,” said Karan Sud from Pulse(All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi).There are a few students who decide to stay away from these activities and focus only on academics.
As Ranjeet Pratap Singh of Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi pointed out, “As a part of a committee, you get some extra responsibility which would have meant that I had to devote substantial amount of time towards that committee and hence missing out on other stuff.”
But, though he was not a part of the core team, he definitely did not miss out on all the fun. As he said, “I have been a part of many initiatives like Marketing Club etc., which gave me a sense of responsibility and satisfaction without being as much time-taking as the core committees would have been.” Fests are a practical experience for how you manage time. As is rightly said, “In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later.” Apart from time management, here’s a list of skills members of the non-organizing committee miss out on.
It is very appropriately said, “Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds.” Teamwork starts off from day one of fest preparations. It is just the right team work that helps in bringing out the best decisions. As Siddharth mentioned, “Team management, work allocation, coordination, reporting, attracting footfall, time management, sponsors etc., were some of the major aspects of fest management.” Students adopt various means to make the co-ordination and planning easier.
The team of MICANVAS is divided into verticals – Planning, Marketing, Media, Public Relations and Sales, Student Response, Logistics and Creatives. Every vertical makes their own decisions but do run it up by the others in the weekly team meetings, which are very crucial.
|Various clubs come together to set up games and event stalls|
Budgeting and managing finances is really important. Every penny used should get billed. In some colleges, the faculty intervenes in such decisions. The budget is usually prefixed, based on the previous year's expenditure.
The magnitude and uniqueness of a fest is often determined by the number of events in a festival as well as the prize money. Events provide a good platform for students to prove their skills and get certified.
Some fests also provide scope to students from undergraduate colleges to participate in these events. So, it is a good platform for networking too. The prize money is also quite huge and often ranges from Rs. 20, 000 to a few lakhs.
It is often said, “Without publicity there can be no public support...” To gather audience, publicity is very important. In order to get good sponsors, being able to gather a good crowd is equally important. Some of the popular ways adopted by students to make their fest known are: launching a website; creating a Facebook page; making posters; sending invitation cards and so on.
Marketing acts as the backbone for the fest. For organizing a successful fest, it is very important to get good sponsors. While for some colleges it is easy enough to attract sponsors, it becomes difficult for many others. Some institutes also convince sponsors to come up with customised competitions. For example, at MDI, Gurgaon last year, the title partner for ‘Abhay’ was Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. “The format of event involved teams participating from various B-Schools to come out with a market-entry strategy for their regions. The ideas collated together gave the management at JSPL a pan-India strategy for their issues,” informed MDI’s Siddharth.
|WHAT I LEARNT|
“Even with the best of preparations, contingencies do occur. One should never be complacent and always be on their toes to tackle such situations.”
“Being an organiser was like undergoinga crash course in planning, coordinating, managing, networking and people management and team work.”
“To work in a team was one of the best learning experiences ever.”
“Be prepared beforehand by getting proper guidance. Remain calmin tricky situations.”
The ultimate Carnival
All is well that ends well. After deciding on events, arranging sponsors, inviting guests, it becomes very important to be able to manage the huge crowd. After all, that is what makes your fest stand apart from the rest - entertainment layered with hospitality. As Karan said, “In my experience, organizing a fest at such a large scale requires a lot of patience. One of the biggest issues is maintaining and keeping in control such a large crowd especially during the concert time, other than that a large number of smaller hurdles that come up from time to time like ensuring proper conduct of every individual event by the person in charge.” Almost all the students from organising committees of different fests agree that there is an excellent scope to gather a lot of practical experience. All said and done, a fest is one of the best ways to learn through fun.
“The most important thing is to put up a great show”
“As a member of the organizing committee, the most important thing on my mind is to put up a great show. It is very important that proper communication reaches out from the team and grievances, however small they may be, are taken care of there and then. We try to put up a show that may be renowned as much as our academic laurels.
Our USP is the plethora of events we conduct, ranging from performances by the biggest stars from India and abroad to enthusiastic participation from colleges across the country in various workshops and competitions. We have competitions on Literary Dramatics, Music, Dance, Quiz, Fine Arts, Fashion Parade, and lot more. This time around cash prizes of worth Rs. 8 lakh are on offer. We also have star performances by Shankar Ehsaan Loy and Amaan and Ayaan Ali.”