Oxford students visit Akshaya Patra!
As part of their cross-country academic excursion, 78 students of 33 nationalities from Said Business School, Oxford University, pursuing the Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) course, recently visited The Akshaya Patra Foundation in Bangalore, India. The visit was made to study the Operations and Technology module adopted by the not-for-profit organisation. The students also visited various other organisations like Wipro, Infosys, Kingfisher and RuralShores. This is the second Oxford University visit to The Akshaya Patra Foundation.
How the visit progressed
The day started early, around 6 a.m. with a visit to the Akshaya Patra kitchen at HK Hill, Bangalore. A team from The Akshaya Patra Foundation-Human Resources department briefed the students on various topics such as:
What is the minimum distance travelled by the Akshaya Patra delivery vehicle on an average during a school day?
What happens when a vehicle breaks down en route to a school?
What are the safety measures taken by the kitchen staff?
What is the average time taken to prepare a day’s meals?
"The idea was to give the enthusiasts a peek into our overall operations. We explained various techniques adopted at our kitchens like gravity-flow mechanism, Six Sigma while also explaining how hygiene and quality is our top most priority," mentioned the Head of Talent Engagement & Development, The Akshaya Patra Foundation.
The students were shown high-impact videos that left them spellbound about the work that Akshaya Patra is doing. They were also briefed on how the Government is backing the organisation by providing grants. These presentations raised a number of interesting questions by the students.
Vital aspects of the project that match Akshaya Patra's module
According to Kathy Harvey, Director, Oxford executive MBA programme, understanding how organisations deal with a multitude of stakeholders is an important part of the Oxford programme. The vast number of stakeholders of Akshaya Patra includes over 1.3 million school children, their parents and teachers, the Central and State Governments, all the employees of Akshaya Patra, its donors and volunteers. It is very important to meet the requirements of all the children Akshaya Patra reaches out to, while also maintaining transparency and accountability for every Rupee that is spent in implementing the Mid-day Meal Scheme.
The students were encouraged to ask questions based on assessment of financial risks, sustainability issues, challenges faced during operations, tackling these in a resourceful manner and such others. The idea behind the visit was to expose the students to different dimensions in technology and its application around the world, their prime focus being developing nations.
A networking event was conducted for the students by Akshaya Patra at the end of the visit. Many of the students expressed interest in volunteering with the Foundation. Harry Turner, one of the students from the EMBA programme, said, "Thank you very much for the tremendous work you [Akshaya Patra] do for the children of India."