Manifesto Review: International and Alumni Relations Secretary — Jithin Sam Varghese


The colour scheme works like this:

Green – completed already.

Orange – partially completed and/or will most likely be completed before end of tenure.

Red – not completed, or left to future Secretaries.

Jithin Sam Varghese was an unopposed candidate for the newly created post of International and Alumni Relations Secretary for the year 2013-14. It was created by the efforts of Professor Nagarajan (Dean IAR), Jithin and a few others. The motivation behind creating and applying for this post, Jithin says, is that IIT Madras has a network of alumni who have been successful in a wide range of profiles, and so far hasn’t utilized this lineage to the fullest extent. Alumni could help students make better career choices, help interns and new recruits adapt better in their work environment, and foster the development of various clubs in insti by providing funds, expertise and much more. Being a new post, it gave him the freedom to experiment and try out new initiatives; he adds, however, that it had the drawback of having no established framework to rely on.

Most of his achievements have been outside his manifesto since, according to Jithin, this has been a learn-as-you-go process for him. Notably, Jithin’s team has started the ‘I Love Insti’ video series and the alumni blog (Chennai36), has held an international fair, and has spread information through fundae sessions and orientations on topics like semester exchange programmes. The following is a detailed review of his manifesto.

 For Final Years:

  • Placement Orientation Session: To ensure all students have a smooth transition from college life to career. The event comprises of interaction sessions with recent graduates on corporate life and challenges.

Although this didn’t work out, a series of articles were published on Chennai 36, where alumni talk about their experiences in civil service, higher education and start ups, among others.

  • IIT Madras Batch of 2013 Yearbook: To develop a yearbook that contains details of all students of the graduating batch.

The yearbook draft was completed and the soft copy is available. However, it wasn’t printed because not enough people applied for it. Jithin says it will happen this year.

For Present Pre-Final Year Students:

  • Foreign Studies Portal: To develop a portal that can cater to the needs of all students and alumni who wish to go abroad for further studies. Universities and Conferences will be categorized department and country-wise. Details regarding scholarships, opportunities available, testimonials etc will be provided.

The OIR website has been revamped to include more details. In addition, a Google spreadsheet has been started with sub sections containing information about various colleges, semester exchange, important deadlines and the like. This is accessible to all the students.

  • Connect Series: To address the two main questions “How to get there?” and “What happens there?” The series will be more interactive in nature with queries compiled before, during and after the event.
  • Placement Training Session: To ensure students are prepared for placements. It will include Resume workshops, preparation guidelines and interview tips.
  • Mock Interviews: To give a definitive interview experience, interviewers will be provided a holistic idea of expectations. The mock interviews will be spread out over two weeks for core and non-core disciplines in coordination with the placement team.

Mock interviews and lectures were successfully organised, and both witnessed encouraging levels of participation. The lectures were by alumni working in different companies, as well as other professionals from companies such as ITC. Professional trainers were brought in to train people on resume-making and on how to go about group discussions and interviews.

For Alumni-Student Mentorship:

  • Institute Career Assistance Network ( Modeled along the lines of the ICAN at Harvard, will be revived. Students can avail the facility from second year onwards.

This portal is ready and will be open by April. The delay was due to the integration of the portal with LDAP to make it accessible to all students, without the need of creating another id and password.

  • Club Culture at IIT Madras (Core Engineering and IPR Areas — Consulting, Finance & Analytics): To facilitate networking between UGs-PGs-MBA students and with alumni, faculty in relevant fields. To solve real life problems in the long run and give exposure to the career challenges. To act as a branding avenue for companies on campus.

This wasn’t implemented.

For Alumni:

  • The “Relive IIT Madras” Initiative: Incentivize reunions with a stay in the hostel rooms for alumni coming for reunions.

This has been achieved only in certain hostels such as Ganga. Jithin hopes that this will be continued next year, since alumni feedback about this was positive.

  • Organize an inter-hostel/batch Schroeter to drive networking between alumni and students.

With the help of IITMAA, a cricket match was organized between institute team, alumni, non-teaching staff, professors and students.

  • IITMAA Chapter Revival: Revive the IITMAA chapters by driving student-alumni engagement in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

This has been successfully implemented in Delhi, with the revival of the chapter in that region.

For Hostels:

  • Work Definition for the Hostel Alumni Affairs Secretary: Organize a Hostel Alumni Sports meet for an informal weekend of sports and games for Chennai based Alumni. Maintain a Facebook group, YouTube channel, LinkedIn group for the hostel and supply content for engagement.  Also supply content for Alumni newsletters. Create awareness of International opportunities amongst hostel residents. Be an active part of Wilkommen, Connect, Mock-Interviews, Reunions, LLS and other networking activities.

The hostel activities got mixed responses, with the degree of implementation varying from hostel to hostel.

For International Students:

  • Exchange student team for Dean’s Trophy.

This couldn’t happen last year, but will be implemented in the current edition of Dean’s Trophy.

  • Non-comp performances for Litsoc WM.

This did not end up happening.

  • Adventure club treks for International students and iPALS buddies to ensure better bonding.

This didn’t happen, due to the inactivity of the adventure clubs. iPALS has been successful this year with more and more international students interacting with local students.

For Other Institute Activities:

  • International Participation for Shaastra and Saarang: To push for contingents from universities with which we have MoUs.

Although this didn’t work out this year, talks with Taiwanese embassy have ensured that Shaastra will see a team from Taiwan participate in the events for the next edition of Shaastra. This initiative hasn’t been successful for Saarang.

  • Ticket Sales via Alumni: Discounted ticket sales to be pushed through Alumni working in Chennai & Bangalore companies.

This could not be completed this year due to lack of coordination from different departments. If planned early enough, this can be successful, Jithin says.

  • Club Funding: Identify enthusiastic alumni and push for funding of Institute clubs.

Funding for clubs such as those in CFI has been successfully obtained from alumni. This can be extended to other clubs in the future.

Vital Statistics

Item and Colour Code






Ongoing or Partially Completed/Orange









Initiatives and achievements outside manifesto:

  1. Chennai36: The alumni blog is a forum for alumni to share experiences and opinions, and has been active since the middle of last semester.

  2. 2013 batch fund-raiser and 2014 batch fund-raiser.

The idea is that students of a batch will donate their caution deposits, and the money collected will be used for a cause decided by the batch. In the 2013 batch, 208 people donated their caution deposits and 2.6 lakhs were collected, which was given to CFI. A similar idea is proposed for the current batch as well.

  1. I love Insti series.

I love Insti is a video series aimed to bridge the gap between students, professors, non-teaching staff and alumni, and also to showcase insti culture to the campus as well as to the outside world. Videos are based on various aspects on our campus, such as clubs, departments, hostels, etc.

  1. Information session for semester exchange.

An information session for various opportunities in foreign colleges was organised.

  1. Alumni reunions for BT, Chemical and Mechanical Engineering departments.

  2. International Fair.

A platform to publicize our partner universities will happen on March 14.

  1. Mentors for interns.

Each intern will be assigned to a mentor (an alumnus working in the same area as the intern’s company). The mentor will provide assistance in adapting to the work environment, finding accommodation and any other support required. This will be implemented this year in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

You can find all the manifesto reviews here.

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