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IIM-C fests insulated from downturn
Pradipta Mukherjee
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January 06, 2009

At a time when most B-schools are slashing annual festival budgets because  corporate sponsorships are drying up, IIM Calcutta (IIM-C) has increased its budget by nearly 20 per cent for its four festivals this year. In fact, more sponsors have been roped in as the institute plans to increase the number of activities in the events.

IIM Calcutta's experiential marketing expo 'Census', held in January every year, had 1,500 participants last year and expects to see at least 1,800 participants this year. The budget has increased from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh this year.

An IIM-C student organising the festival said: "The event runs entirely on corporate sponsorship. Previous sponsors were Aditya Birla Group, ITC, Glaxo SmithKline, Cadbury, Hindustan Unilever Limited and RPG. IMRB was the knowledge partner."

Similarly, IIM-C's cultural festival 'Carpe Diem', held in December every year, offered prizes worth Rs 10 lakh to its winners and participants in December 2008. Axe, Zapak and Myntra were a few of the sponsors this time.

"Carpe actually grew this year, in spite of the recession. The interest shown by the corporate partners and participants ensures that growth will continue for the next few editions at least," reiterates the IIM-C student body organisers.

Nostalgia, the annual alumni meet of IIM-C, that happens across the world in the second weekend of May every year, had a budget of over Rs 25 lakh last year. A large portion of this budget was raised from corporate sponsorship. Quite a huge hunk was built up through personal contribution by the alumni.

Intaglio, IIM-C's biggest event, the only business symposium of its kind to have an ISO 9001:2002 certification for quality, has already queries from 57 countries, with over 10,000 registrations on the website -- the largest ever for any Indian business festival -- with just one week left for commencement.

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Intaglio includes competition from all spheres of management -- the Finance expo, the Marketing expo, the Strategy expo, the Consulting expo and the Systems expo. Intaglio brings together celebrities to take part in panel discussions or to judge events. Olympus, the flagship event, till now restricted to only the six IIMs, has now been opened to select international business schools.

"The economic downturn has not dented the fests in a big way. Though the overall budget has reduced marginally, the prize money alone this time will exceed Rs 12 lakh -- the largest for any single B-school meet in the country," said another student.

Aditya Birla Group is the title sponsor for Intaglio this year. Various other national and international brands such as Sail [Get Quote], Infosys [Get Quote], ONGC [Get Quote], Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey, Deloitte, Swatch, Tata Tea [Get Quote] and Spykar have already extended ponsorships for Intaglio.

B-school fests attract a large number of companies wanting to know how their products connect with the customer. These events gather information about consumers' attitudes, beliefs or opinions to any proposition.

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