My alma mater?

May 7th, 2011

It was with a lot of trepidation that walked into the campus of my ‘alma mater’. For once my heart was aflutter. I was not going there as an ex-student, but as a journalist to interview a very senior person in the college.

But, where was it? I was in the right location… but, what happened to the college where I studied? The classrooms where I had irritated my teachers? The corridors I trampled on for five years?

They had been overwhelmed by the new building… a shiny 13-storey tower of stone and concrete and glass. It was not just the exterior that was all shiny… The floors were too shiny to scare me into being extra-careful while stepping into the corridors of the shiny building.

It had overwhelmed the original building of three floors, where I studied for five years. The new one is a celebration of globalisation. Its corridors don’t look very different from that of any 5-star hotel. It’s a zero-waste building… boast the creators! But, I wondered what about the energy costs of that building with the high-speed elevators and the numerous air conditioners to ensure that the students get to study in an optimum temperature to maximise their absorption capacity! Zero-waste indeed.

When you are optimising resources, then waste is minimal.

And, it’s got two levels of parking!! Is it a mall? Not very different, I thought, when I saw a store at the parking level. It had Adidas T-shirts, Nike sports wear. And, whatever else that are the favourite of souvenir hunters.

“Pick up a souvenir,” said my guide. He was none other than the head of the management education departments. The canteen was no college canteen as far an Indian student was concerned. It seems to be modeled on American college campuses. “It now reeks of all the trappings of an American college,” is what a teacher who had been a great influence on many a student’s idea of life says.

The shiny building came at a price. It cost only Rs 80 lakh, my ‘guide’ exclaimed. In the normal course it would have cost over Rs 1 crore. Much of the designing was done in-house as it now offers a course in architecture. But, would such huge spends ensure quality to the students who pay Rs 5 lakh to Rs 20 lakh to get an MBA degree?  Not a paise more or not a paise less.

Perhaps it does! Now there’s no dearth of people from the corporate sector ready to share their wisdom on ways to unravel the secrets of “the market”. It has managed to buy name and fame, and has stayed ahead of the game.

What about the job I went there to do? It skidded on the shiny floor and was temporarily lost in the humongous structure. alma mater? digg:My alma mater? newsvine:My alma mater? reddit:My alma mater? Y!:My alma mater?