Paanwalla turns teacher, offers marketing tips to Mumbai management students

Jun 26, 2017, 20:40 IST | Pallavi Smart

The marketing professor of second year PGDM students at SP Jain Institute of Management and Research invites owner of a pan shop to deliver a lecture on 'Sales and Distribution'

Sunder Pujari, owner of a pan shop in Andheri, talks to management students of SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, during an interactive session
Sunder Pujari, owner of a pan shop in Andheri, talks to management students of SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, during an interactive session

What would it be like if you ever get to learn the nuances of marketing from a panwalla? The second year students of Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) at SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR) had this out-of-the-box experience, when their marketing professor invited the owner of a pan shop in Andheri, to present a lecture on 'Sales and Distribution'.

Fulfilling experience
According to the students, this unusual class, which was held last week, was a fulfilling experience.

Their marketing professor, Dr Renuka Kamath, who came up with the idea, said, "Learning becomes effective when it blends with relevant examples. Concept of sales and distribution can be taught through the book, but real-time experiences make it more relevant."

In the hot seat
When Dr Kamath introduced panwalla Sunder Pujari to the class, he nervously took the teacher's chair.

"What started off as a hesitant conversation, slowly transformed into a smooth exchange of ideas. He taught simple lessons through the conversation. I played the anchor and ensured that there was a lot of discussion, so that Pujari felt comfortable," said Kamath, adding, "The entrepreneur in him came through as he spoke on brand preferences, retail margins, distribution networks and how business works in the lanes and by-lanes of this financial capital."

Speaking to mid-day, Pujari said, "I was taken aback when their teacher approached me for the class. I did not know what to teach, as all of them are so educated. But Dr Kamath and the students made me feel extremely comfortable. We discussed the importance of marketing in keeping the demand of a product high. We also talked about good marketing techniques and how sales depend on human relations."

Effective learning
While sharing this unique experience, one of the students, Anu Kutty said, "Pujari spoke about how products reach the market, how they are distributed, retail tactics, margin and so on. Even though he does not have an MBA degree holder, he made the class extremely relevant through simple and real examples."

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