Workshops in MIT — Scam or not – Should we be worried?

The following mail was received in our Inbox at about 5:00 PM Today. We decided to publish it despite it being an anonymous mail!

I had sent the following mail to the student council president on 2nd April, and haven’t received a reply yet. The mail is self explanatory. I am not sure if you are the right person to write to, but if possible do post this on your blog.

You can easily verify the authenticity of all the facts.
Whatever your decision, do reply to the mail.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: room mit <[email protected]>
Date: Sat, 2 Apr 2011 01:09:56 +0530
Subject: Workshops
To: [email protected]

I am a 6th sem student of MIT. Over the years, I have observed the activities held by the TSC’s, and have discovered a very negative trend. It started with the event “Anveshan” by ISTE, followed by Ankit Fadia by IE CSE. Now we have “dot Java” by ISTE and Web designing by IE CSE.(being in CSE I dont know about other branch events, so I cant say much about the other IE’s)

The disturbing parts are:

  1.  Anveshan: Take a look at their publicity budget. They had massive flexes all over the campus, in addition to normal publicity. Should clubs really budget a large portion of their expenditure towards publicity?
  2. Ankit Fadia: This workshop was organised, even though the organisers themselves knew the guy was a fraud. Perhaps they were getting some financial cut themselves, but I cannot say for sure. However, they did  clearly lie at the infodesks and on the youtube video posted by them.
  3. “Dot Java”: This is the one that actually prompted this mail. What gives a Student organisation to charge Rs 700/head for a workshop taught by a 3rd year student? Assuming they got 50 participants(I believe they got more), net income = 35000. Costs of publicity=5000(at the max). Room booking costs Rs 100/day I believe, so 1400 for that. Budgeting other logistics+certificates at 1600. Their net expenditure=8000. They are making a minimum profit of Rs 27000. Yes, TWENTY SEVEN THOUSAND. Is it really justified to have a TSC make such massive amounts of profit?
  4. Web Designing: I dont have much of a problem with this, but considering that IEEE did a similar workshop for about Rs 200/head and LUG does it for free, Why is IE CSE Charging Rs 700 for it?

The reasoning behind raising this issue is that currently the above clubs are stockpiling cash by preying on 1st year students, who do not know the actual costs of workshops, since the clubs doing lower price workshops are out publicized by these clubs.

I can predict what will happen next sem, these same clubs will have a large amount of free workshops for the incoming 1st years,(sponsored by the stockpile they have collected from the current 1st years), and basically
wipe out the possibility of any other club conducting any workshops.

Someone can say that it is up to the students to decide which workshop they want to attend. But, they must know about it, and a workshop with a publicity budget of Rs 500 CANNOT compete with one having a budget of Rs 5000+

I do have a few proposed solutions/suggestions to solve this problem. Pls reply to this mail with your thoughts. published this mail in good faith and doesn’t side with any of the aggrieved parties or insinuate malice towards any of the parties mentioned above!


  1. I am from the health sciences campus, and I do not much about the affairs of MIT but if such things are actually happening, then it is wrong… it is good that it has been brought out in the public. I do not know how much of a hold the officials have on these clubs, but their expenses and accounts should be monitored.

  2. I guess this belongs on TMJ more than here, but an interesting article.
    Could someone do some independant fact checking, specifically on the rupee values given in 1) and 3) ??

  3. @Aersh: I agree with you on that.

    @Anonymous: Thanks for that observation. This is not an article though, it's just a mail we received and decided to publish.

    TMJ is very much welcome to investigate and find the facts.

  4. Received this mail at 6:25 –

    Thanks for publishing it. Within 20 minutes of your publishing it I got a reply from Pranay wanting to discuss the issue further.

    I'll keep you updated., is pleasantly surprised that it's posts are well received by the authorities and hope a proper appraisal of the situation is carried out and a satisfactory outcome is achieved!

  5. People just don't understand that the certificates being offered are just there to lure more of them……those 'certis' are nothing more than specks of dust while appearing for placement interviews……..

  6. I dont think this will change anything, this is how it has been and this is how it will be till people realise what they are getting into ..

  7. I believe that the regulations regarding the money handling should be brought back as they were before, where MIT Accounts Office handled accounts of all MIT clubs.

    Certificates for workshops on basic HTML, CSS, Java(language), C++ dont have any value coz these are the subjects that are taught as part of curriculum to the students.

    -Akshay Johri
    More of these feedbacks being forwarded directly to the Associate Director- Student Council will help.

  8. @AJ , @OS

    The issue with handling the money by MIT accounts is that there is a lot of paperwork involved in organising even small workshops, such as those attended by 30 people at a price of Rs 50

    A solution(I have not really thought this out fully) Would be to have additional regulations imposed when the price of a workshop is > Rs x+kit cost, OR a certificate is being given. Kit cost would be verified by one of the faculty concerned with the branch

  9. IEEE STUDENT BRANCH MIT looted so many in the name of robotics….their kits never worked at almost double d market price….so many mitians have lost their money……under water robotics..they dont even know a shit about robotics

  10. Underwater robotics may have been on the more expensive side, but since then IEEE Student Branch has been pretty fair with most of their pricing. They had web development at 50 per head, Free seminars, and TechWeekend was very lightly priced. But yeah, the general trend over the past year from most clubs has been towards concentrating on minting money rather than imparting knowledge, which should concern the authorities.

  11. Speakin as the President of one of the clubs mentioned above:
    1. Anveshan publicity or for that matter publicity of any event of ISTE is sponsored, u can c the sponsors' name on the banner and posters. Wat do you expect we should do wid the sponsors' money.. And if you have a problem wid that u should start wid bigger college fests and all where lakhs is spent on publicity only!!! Clearly the anonymous here doesn't understand the business rules.. My sympathies…

    2. dot Java workshop: first of all its 800 fr non members, 700 fr members and 500 fr working members where 60% seat is fr working members only.. so i wud suggest to recalculate!! plus know d facts before saying anything.. its a 3rd year who's takin the workshop bt we're having guest lectures on advanced topics of JAVA frm professionals.. The anonymous here clearly shows his inability to understand the procedure and cost involvement of a workshop.. If anybody has any doubt(this is for you mr. anonymous) go and complain to the respective authorites cause the price factor is well discussed with the faculties before we (in ur terms) start 'looting' ppl…

    Apart from dis i totally agree that we have some profit in some workshops bt then nobody comes n praise us when we do free workshops or guest lectures by professionals like the recently conducted 'C-ing the placement side of C' workshop…

    I said this before and am saying this again plz feel free to call me anytme to clear the doubts before showing ur depth of knowledge in public…

    -Tanay Pratap
    ISTE Students' Chapter, MIT
    Ph: 9742353551

  12. one has to go by the quality of the workshop. The use it is going to be to them in the future or immediately. Publicity is something about creating awareness. If anyone has a prob with any workshop why dont you conduct your own for free. It is easy to comment rather than to make things happen. It is easy to compare things when you are part of NOTHING and dont have the brains to make things happen yourself…

    One should not make a comment staying anonymous. It should he does not have the balls to own his words..

  13. We have reminded time and again not to be personal in the comments and on issues such as these its advised to be more polite. Hence some of the comments have not been published. If you can tone down the comments and remove inappropriate words we would be glad to publish them

  14. @tanay
    1)I was going by the posters, however I have heard that the total attendance was 100 people, so the profit is more than the figure of 27000, espicially if you have sponsored publiity. In that case it would be closer to 500*60+700*40-2000=56000 How many other clubs make this amount of profit?
    2)"And if you have a problem wid that u should start wid bigger college fests and all where lakhs is spent on publicity only!!! " I am saying that too much is being spent on publicity, the amount should be reduced.
    3)Sorry, but conducting a workshop on what is taught in college itself and is known by most 3rd year CSE students is not praiseworthy, esp. if you are giving certificates. As someone had mentioned, it is turning into a Certificate Production House.
    4)Since your publicity is sponsored, Why not have workshops in LUG style?
    5)BUSINESS RULES? Seriously? Could you explain which part of my calculation is wrong other that underestimating the profit made by you?
    completely agree, but the college has a new rule that only a single workshop on one topic can be conducted. i.e. if IE CSE conducts a workshop on CSS/PHP, then IEEE cannot do so. If IEEE conducts a workshop on Python ISTE cannot have another one.
    Leads to a monopoly situation, and "why dont you conduct your own for free" is no longer applicable.

  15. LUG …..well all the workshops conducted by LUG….are waste… no one has ever given a positive reviews about LUG guys start fighting in the workshop iself. who is interested in your SAAS Bahu ..DRAMA…

  16. @Anonymous

    you seem to know a lot about clubs my senior. I have a suggestion why dont you start a new club and submit your event calender and make things which you want to happen for free.

    There is a saying "There is never a wrong time to do the right thing". If you think all the workshops are scams then you do the right thing according to you. Start a new club. I think the new club can be your internship or summer work!

    Cool naa?



  17. If anyone has any doubt about the money matters regarding IE CSE events, he/she is free to contact me.. I'll be more than happy to let you know the dealings.
    @Ano and Ed – Before putting up this mail, I guess it would have been better if you had discussed the details properly with the clubs involved.

  18. @ Nikhil –

    The guy who started it off has good reasons for what he's saying, and his points are valid. We do not need your sarcasm here. Your last post was honestly, useless. Please refrain from typing unrelated comments. Moderators please look after this.

    @ Tanay – Read your own text again . "Publicity for any event of ISTE is sponsored". Publicity is the main, if not only cost of a workshop, so charging absurd sums of money is not given.

    @ Anon – Dude please post details of your chat tonight online, somewhere!

  19. i am something to share and this is my point of view..

    1.about the dot java workshop-if there is a workshop of 1 day and the club charges 50 for membrs and 100 for non-members den its fine..ryt…so whats the prblm if the wrkshp is f 2 weeks and they are charging 700 bucks..

    2.about iecse php my sql….who told you that xampp was the only thing provided in the cd??there wer many zip files and video training lectures also..moreover the residing cost,travelling cost and ol should also be included in the price..i dont think 700 from a professional like innobuzz that too of 18hrs of lecture with live demo is costly

  20. @Tanay
    "Wat do you expect we should do wid the sponsors' money"

    Dude I see you got loads of money there the why charging the people ? Its not a contradiction its a question hopefully you have a very good reason.

  21. @nish taken, the ie-cse web development workshop was WORTH 700 bucks. but they DID promise a kit worth 500 bucks. now THAT is what the problem is. whatever study material the cd may have, it's definitely not worth 500 bucks. why do these ppl have to lie? isn't this fraud?

  22. The rebuttals by and large make sense in those cases where you professionals were involved and needed to be paid for their boarding, lodging, etc.
    Charging about 700-800 bucks for workshops conducted by students themselves makes absolutely no sense especially when the Publicity is being sponsored.

    @Tanay : Denial isn't just a river in Egypt. If the sarcasm is supposed to intimidate, it's not working; if it's supposed to justify, it's doing you more harm than good. Stop taking things personally. Present your perspective and let people judge for themselves.

  23. Well, I have been part of Publicity in college fests and events (non-MIT). And Anonymous – see, sponsorship money does not come as charity. It is pure business and publicity. So unless you provide for banners and posters, and flexis, sponsors will not give you money. Putting up sponsor's name during the event would fetch you rs. 500 maybe. But that doesn't help much today.

    And, the idea is obviously not to conduct free events for some. LUG works on that principle because their whole idea is about free ness. Doesn't mean that all other clubs should do the same.

    Certain figures you have quoted above are enormous and ridiculous. Events I have been in have brought down celebs and big names from relevant industries for free. Accomodation is not much. So, it is all about trying. Quality should never be charged highly. It ceases to become a quality then.

    Presidents and members of above mentioned clubs – do not get aggesive. Debate the issue and the questions raised sensibly. Retaliation without harmful provocation often happens upon failure. And you are all retaliating.

    I read a comment above suggesting that clubs finance and keep accounts themselves. That is unbelievable. College I am in is small but stricly manages every club's account. MIT should without fail look into this matter.

    And finally, I personally and on behalf of TMJ, appreciate ManipalBlog for publishing this. Never hesitate.

    shivakant menon

  24. To All the Anonymous commentators and those who have published under the various names (real or Fictional): Thank you for debating this issue… We have received the following mail last night from the original whistle-blower (for lack of better term):

    Had the conversation with Student Council.
    They said that are already in touch with the Associate Director, and will keep me updated.
    I'll forward any further updates.

    Thanks again for helping bring this to public attention

    We hope the issue get's resolved as early as possible!

    Also we received a few comments, which had really harsh language and also were very personal attacks, as mentioned previously, we do not publish such comments on this blog! If you really do have an opinion and want to see your comments published here, please do so in proper and impersonal language! We do not mind whether it is Hindi/English or any other Indian language, as long as it does not attack any person and is polite!

  25. @ano-kit is worth 500 or can you judge that?? takes arnd 8k fr its operatn system..go and ask them what is in there while linux is provided for free…

    2.its the originality that costs…ol the thing provided by innobuzz was orignal and awesome.I idnt mind payiong 500 bucks

    3.Did u attend the innobuzzz wrkshp?do u knw the content f d cd?hw can u tell whether it was worth it or not?

  26. @nish
    1) If you are saying that Workshops and clubs should be run like businesses, then yes, you do invalidate what I say, but is that the way it is supposed to be. (Also, do look up the antitrust cases against MS in EU for IE and WMP)

    2) and 3) — I do not have a problem with the kit or price, rather what is being done with the money taken. As for the kit contents, I am coming from what was posted in a FB comment. The thing is that the college no longer allows the clubs to conduct duplicate workshops, as I had mentioned earlier, so if there is to be only 1 workshop, it should be reasonably priced.

  27. One thing i want to tell you is please go by the quality of the workshop and not the price of it. Why the hell are people in the world using windows which costs around 9k per system and not linux while it is free……

    sometimes there is something more imp than price…

    and you dont have any right to tell my comment was useless…

    any prob contact me in person..


  28. @ANO-

    reasonably priced is fine but it should also deliver 'THE' best!!
    nd d kit is concernd…the place wer u read d comment was rong cmpltly…
    and as far taking money is cncrnd..d necessary club heads of IE-CSE and ISTE are ready (as per their previus comments) to give the detail of their expenditure and the reason f…ask them personally or i thnk it will be better if they themselves clear out the amount of money spwnt in organising the wrkshp

  29. @Nish
    I would like Tanay to explain what he will be doing with the 60k+ ISTE has earned from dot Java.
    Considering that their publicity is sponsored(as said by him), where do they plan to spend it?

    Pls read my comment just above yours about Microsoft

  30. @all

    I have an experience of sitting in a couple of workshops conducted by iste in particular and they have been mere eye candies rather than substance.
    Tanay here clearly mentioned the publicity of the workshop is done using sponsorship money and the workshop is being taken by a third year guy so i wonder how on earth does he logically explain the over the roof pricing for such a workshop.
    when you mentioned business rules I'm pretty sure you meant it since the workshops and all conducted by your organisation is mere business, and a certificate printing business at that.
    The workshops conducted by LUG atleast cater to the technical needs rather than just being a publicity gimmick to mint certificates and stand out in the crowd with big posters

  31. @Nikhil
    Nice joke about windows quality superior than linux. Now I get it how people like Ankit Fadia and organisers can fool the poor MITians into scams.

  32. @Anonymous

    Arey i myself use linux. I am talking about a normal MITian and a normal person. Tell me how many company managers use windows and how many linux. Take the word in general sense. Why the hell lab systems are windows and not only linux.. feel free to talk to me about this @ 9535617486

  33. ^^@anon: Obviously there's a lot of LUG blood boiling through you.
    Apart from a couple of seniors(present 4th years) whom I honestly respect a LOT, LUG is by and large this pseudo-intellectual gathering of people who don't know much, but believe walking under a banner of LUG will have them be looked upon in respected light. I have been to quite a few of their workshops and with all due respect to the fact that it's economically free, it's a massive waste of time.
    Atleast the other clubs provide a basic level of quality along with a fee.
    Which brings me back to the point that QUALITY is much more important than fee charged.

  34. @^anon

    haha.. its not the lug blood. but seriously either you are one of the glory hunters which tanay's club caters too by providing them enough of certificates at cheap rates or seriously do not have much knowledge about computers and technology, so in both the case its futile talking to you as in the first case you would not care about the quality and in the second case cannot judge the quality as the intellectual talk certainly didnt do you any good.
    i or as a matter of fact do not have a problem with the money because if you provide services from either professionals who charge and are experts makes sense but yes students teaching and the club fooling the crowd and making profit, certainly makes me feel sad. Unfortunately most of the MIT clubs just have more visibility issues and stuff which gives them satisfaction is not to see the fellow students learn, grow and develop but to just make profit. The reason why you respect the present fourth year lug people is because they were helpful and genuine and did not try to fool anyone using the bait of some workshop.

  35. @Anonymous:
    Dude…you respect the fourth year LUG students coz you know that they were good…but believe me you will always keep respecting the 4th year LUG guys, coz its only in the 4th yr that you will get to know what LUG guys are capable of, when it comes to placements. Check out the profiles of 3rd yr LUG guys to see if you know more than that. 5 out of 8 GSoC participants from MIT this year are from LUG(check out the GSoC results). They get the best jobs, even if they are mere 7 or 8 pointers. They get the best internships. Dude you will always keep respecting the LUG guys throughout your stay in Manipal, and who knows, may be even throughout your life, but ofcourse, only if you know the facts and you are willing to accept them.
    If you think that you know more than the LUG guys, then i invite you to LUG meeting and LUG workshops. You can rate your knowledge against them.
    Check the names of webmasters of all the MIT sites…the faculty evaluation software…the formula manipal site…or in that case just the blog of any LUG guy…but plz dont bring bad name to anybody before knowing much in the field…this is disrespect not just to the people, but also to the talent. Respect the talent, if not the person!!!

  36. It's funny you get so defensive.
    I wonder why.
    Also, GSOC might be your criteria for judging people's technical abilities(whether its because its the only yardstick that favours you or not, I do not know, or frankly care), but certainly not mine. If you believe in everything apart from the GSOC point, you should have come out and spoken earlier and not waited 2 and a half weeks, before cowering behind the supposedly holy grail that you project GSoC as.
    Like I was saying,

    1. I'm sure the people who got through GSoC are very talented, no doubt. But unless you know how many others even APPLIED for GSoC, you cannot use that as a criteria. Many people might not even KNOW about it, and those in LUG might be fortunate to have heard about it and applied. Without stats relating to how many people in totality applied, please shove your skewed facts and figures elsewhere.

    2. It's funny you bring up the website point. It reminds me, this LUG member who is System Admin this year for an upcoming fest, made a website for my club around a couple of months ago. Our club decided to take the website down after a few days, cos we could not risk the reputation of our club hinging on what the designer claimed was a 'website'.
    THAT is my point. People like that, with no knowledge, walk and talk under banners like 'LUG' which are no doubt looked up to cos of the afore-mentioned seniors, and feel important getting big posts.

    I repeat, I'm sure a LOT of LUG people are talented.
    But it's the pretence of those who aren't (quite the majority), but erroneously think being 'in LUG' qualifies them to be so that's reminiscent of quite a circus.

  37. Not many applied outside of LUG.. as not many are involved in the FOSS scene in Manipal. Those that are involved with or may be involved with FOSS get absorbed by LUG quite quickly.
    LUG does have a significant amount of technical talent with them.. thats correct. However they are a bit too focused on the "open source" propaganda, rather than imparting knowledge.

  38. The main problem is that Sonia Gandhi and a handful of others are running (or trying to run) India from behind closed doors. Sonia Gandhi is actually the real Prime Minister, not Dr. Manmohan Singh. India will not be able to solve any of its pressing problems until and unless those who pull the strings from behind are removed and put away for good. Then competent people will have the chance to move the country forward.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.