When Pooja Dewolkar applied for a fellowship programme with a reputed national bank in 2014, this is what she wrote on her application: “I was the chairperson of Malhar in 2013, the annual inter-collegiate festival of St Xavier’s College”.
It worked in her favour. Her experience at helming a prestigious college-level event led assessors to believe she possessed qualities such as leadership and damage control. Malhar, Dewolkar says, helped her learn to think on her feet and deal with problems on the go.
Akhil Dhoot, 23, was a BTech student in metallurgy and material Science in 2016 when he took on another task. With co-chairperson Anmol Sureka he managed 22 team heads, 150 coordinators, and 300 organisers for Mood Indigo, the annual cultural festival of IIT-Bombay. He now has a job at consulting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers.
“I added it to my resume. One of the reasons for me being shortlisted was because of it,” says Dhoot. “What was your experience, key learnings and how will it translate to your on-the-job performance — these were the questions I was asked about Mood Indigo during the interview.”
When you manage a college festival with massive reach and unconventional themes, you are like a mini-CEO, says Fatima Agarkar, co-founder and educationist at educational consultancy KA Associates.
“It’s equal to a venture in project management. It teaches you innovation, generating funds, marketing and public relations.” In a world where every candidate for a job comes with impeccable academic qualifications — it’s not unusual for kids to score 99 percent marks – it is these management skills that give you an edge for jobs positions later.
College festivals are getting bigger, with teams of thousands of students, exposure to social media, good sponsorships and greater footfall. They’re a great opportunity to get an edge over for opportunities in the future.
ST XAVIER’S COLLEGE
- Festival: Malhar 2017
- When: August 12 to 14, 2017
- Footfall last year: 40,000
With the theme called ‘Upside down’, St Xavier’s College plans to have a new set of events for this year’s edition of Malhar.
One of the events called Illuminati which is UV light dance event has a theme of a fairytale with a twist. You have to give a dark twist to a fairytale.
If you are applying: Decide on a department and make sure you have skills to fit in it. A big misconception applicants have is that they need to have relevant experience.
It’s okay to bring just enthusiasm and skills.
NARSEE MONJEE COLLEGE
- Festival: Umang
- When: August 13 to 16, 2017
- Footfall last year: 50,000
Good at weaving travel stories? There’s an event you can win at Umang 2017, the annual inter-collegiate festival of Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics. The theme of the festival this year is called A Passport Full of Stamps. Another event, called Unpopular Opinion, allows you to reveal your hidden opinion (even if they seem anti-national) to the crowd. “If we do not have opinions, who else will,” says Smeet Doshi, vice chairperson Administration, with a laugh.
The festival plans to dedicate the full week to create awareness about mental health. “We will have workshops, an online campaign and engaging activities during the week,” says Adarsh Rai, head of the department of public relations.
If you are applying: Look confident and be prepared to be put into situations that will test how well you can handle work pressure. “The common misconception applicants have is that if they are friends with a member of organising committee, they will get into the committee,” says Smeet Doshi. “You have to have skills, buddy.”
- Festival: Kaleidoscope
- When: September 16 and 17, 2017
- Footfall last year: 26,000
Have a filmy aura around you? You can win the title of Mister and Miss Kaleidoscope this year at Sophia College’s annual festival. The two-day long event is dedicated to all things Bollywood. “We will have a drama event called Dus Ka Bees, based on regional cinema,” says Vishnupriya Jampa, a member of the committee.
Hormuz Ragina, poetry jam master, will be hosting a jamming session at the fest. “Expect some trivia surrounding the film industry and be prepared to jam some Bollywood numbers,” says Jampa.
If you are applying: Make sure you have a lot of time to dedicate to the festival and possess negotiation skills. “Most newcomers erroneously believe that as a volunteer, they might miss out on the fun,” says Malka Rizvi, a member of executive committee. Any college festival veteran will tell you that much of the fun is on the field.
- Festival: Polaris 2017
- When: July 21 to 23, 2017
- Footfall last year: 20,000
Polaris, the annual festival of Wilson College, is organised by the second year students of Bachelor of Mass Media (BMM), and is one of the few college festivals in which participation is compulsory.
“The theme for this year is called The Celestial Mantra,” says Sarah Shailendra, a member of the core committee. “The contingents (team of participants) have to represent a fictitious constellation which they create.”
One of the events, called Par Par Paradox, is about telling your constellation back home about earth’s flaws. “Contingents have to create a humorous satirical ad film for earth’s problems such as pollution, racism and global warming,” says Shailendra.
Put your intergalactic knowledge to the test and answer the questions that humankind hasn’t yet managed to, such as how can bicycle stay upright, at one of the events called Situation Spam. You better have interesting answers!