(27 June 2014) Excerpts of “Challenges and opportunities for ABS: Pune chapter perspective”

At the UK Alumni Meet held in Delhi on 27 June 2014, Dr Premnath who was representing ABS Pune was asked to talk of some of the challenges and opportunities associated with ABS. Other ABS chapters also presented their views. This was meant to stir discussion and to explore how one can strengthen ABS.

Here are some brief excerpts from comments by the ABS Pune representative:

  • ABS is a relatively unique alumni network — it is a pan university network with a country-wide scope. It includes a variety of people with varied professional interests, varied university affiliations, etc.  The common threads are: a) have gained professionally and personally from learning experiences in the UK, and b) have probably benefited from a British Council or UK-BHC program.
  • This diversity poses its own unique opportunities and challenges.
  • Challenges
    ….. Fuzzy network unlike specific college or university alumni network. Lot more heterogeneity. Heterogeneity makes cohesiveness difficult
    ….. How do we figure in the top of available networks and distractions. What makes us attractive?
    ….. How does this network work for its members? People are part of professional networks, family and social networks. What does this network bring? Not clear
    ….. Need Champions who will and can put in time in organising activities. Often relatively cohesive core group. Volunteer driven activity have their own limitations.
    ….. Subcritical funding. Raising sponsorships is hard given the other competing demands on sponsorship funding available.
    …..Other virtual networks bare now available. Are they a boon or bane for ABS? They compete for attention….lot of networks now.
  • Opportunities
    ….. Stay close to UK link. Other activities have other networks. Ex TiE for entrepreneurship, etc.  bringing the best of UK closer to people is a good choice. Ex: UK football for disadvantaged kids. Healthcare tech for the masses. The experience of LSE-AIM exchange. Need help from British council here.
    ….. Associate with local organizations but what do we bring to the table: Money? Volunteers? Experts and distinguished alumni? Visitors from UK? UK networks?
    ….. Library is a social good to rally around (works in favour of ABS Pune)
  • What are the Role models or equivalents?
    ….. Alumni networks of specific universities? Not really. These groups are more cohesive.
    ….. TiE ? Not really. The topic of interest is more cohesive.
    …..Pan IIT association? Common thread in IIT brand and do something for India theme.
  • Ideas and suggestions
    ….. Create a common web portal for ABS with online management system for documents drop box,  events announcement and reporting system, email, mailing lists, membership database , publicity tools etc. each chapter can have a separate view. Finance it centrally.
    ….. How to rejuvenate the team? Need mechanisms to bring in recent alumni into fold. How do we get them involved?
    …… Build further on existing relationships of alumni in Pune with UK organisations.  Identify themes of common interest to Pune alumni. Identify themes of interest to Pune alumni where UK has examples and role models to share.
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