B-school Alumni Experiences: How MBA expands Career and Life Horizons
With B-School sessions coming to an end, the alumni get busy with their professional lives. But the memories of campus life continue to linger. Knowing these experiences come handy for freshers, confused about life at a B-School and beyond.
Careers360 presents Alumni from top B-Schools share their experiences, their reasons for selecting a programme, why a few of them chose a career that’s different from their specialization, the learning outcomes and more.
Choosing an MBA or going for a specialization
An MBA or a specialization in management programme teaches you the process of establishing a new business, or in other words, how to be an entrepreneur. It also teaches you how to find sources for capital, how to recruit employees, making all-out efforts for that first sale, and learning how to stay ahead of competition. Every top B-School or the IIMs offer these learning through management programmes like PGDM, PGP, 2-year full-time generic MBA or specializations in HR, Finance, Marketing or Operations and other domains.
Apart from the knowledge of management subjects, an MBA degree teaches you how to work in a team, deal with difficult people and make the best use of resources. A B-School instills in you professional and personal qualities, as you are blessed with friends who will add value to your professional circle.
Why an MBA?
Pankaj Purohit, an alumnus of IFIM Bangalore, shares why he pursued an MBA. “My initial thought was that I need to focus on academics but on the contrary, the programme allows you to get involved with so many non-academic activities which are very important for building confidence and personality development. One might have focused on a few aspects, but an MBA offers a lot more,” he said.
The programme helps your mind evolve in a creative manner, and the time spent on the campus with other students give you lasting memories. Abhinav Bagalwadi, PGP- Communication, pass out from MICA Ahmedabad says, “My stint at MICA has taught me courage, something that we give a lot of importance in our personal lives but which carries, if not greater, an equal premium in our professional lives as well. It gave me courage not only to take risks but also stand by the decisions I take. It has helped me evolve as a person and taught me the necessity of having an open and curious mind. But more than anything, it has given me enduring friendships and loads of heartwarming memories.”
Why a specialized MBA?
Why did Abhinav pursue a specialized MBA? “I was very keen on pursuing a career in Marketing and MICA seemed to be the perfect launch pad for the same. I was clear that my time in a B-School must be oriented more towards varied learning experiences, rediscovering old passions and gaining a wider perspective about the world.”
Life on campus
Besides the rigorous academic schedule, B-Schools are a fun place to be in. B-Schools prefer cool students who can think out-of-the box and act accordingly. Being just a workaholic is a big NO-NO. Life at B-Schools offers more of non-academic cultural activities.
Alumni miss those planning sessions, late night hostel fun, and discussions over coffee, games and those extra activities they use to do. Mohit Sadwani, an alumnus of MICA Ahmedabad, who is currently working as a Management Trainee with Multi Screen Media, says, “Besides sessions we use to brain-storm in club meetings, which is vital for an overall development of a management student. As a part of extracurricular activities, there was facility for games. I was an avid badminton player and at MICA, the badminton court is located between hostels, thereby involving lot of participation from the students.”
For an alumnus, college life means a lot; it taught them the bond of friendship and true value of lasting memories. “Most of us are where we are, due to the start we got at our B-School, though we might not be meeting very regularly but we inculcated long standing friendships there. I learnt to share, care, let go, celebrate the wins, shed tears at sorrow and had friends who together kept forward,” says Aditi Bhasin Bhatia, an MBA graduate from IMT Ghaziabad and a Senior Marketing Manager with Philips.
Specialization and career switch
Students nowadays prefer to opt for a specialization rather than a generic MBA programme. Another trend is that after specializing in a domain they choose a different career domain. Abhishek Halder, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, pursued his Post Graduate Programme in 2012 and is currently Executive Assistant to COO in HPCL- Mittal Energy Limited. Abhishek opted for Finance as an elective and did his internship in a bank. But when it came to final placements, Abhishek grabbed the opportunity to switch to General Management, which appealed to him more as compared to other domains. “It is not a compulsion to pursue your specialization, rather focus on the current demands of the markets. At the initial stages of your MBA, you might have thought of some domain as your career, but as you learn about various domains, it is natural that the interest level shifts as per the market and you might finally end up having a career in different domain. You must make sure that you keep your horizons broad, learn about every aspect and select the best among all,” says Halder.
A career switch might even happen after years of experience. Abhishek Singh, an alumnus of MDI Gurgaon, did his B.Tech and worked for three years in a communication technology company. After completing PGPM in 2012, Abhishek’s focus shifted from IT to Finance. Now he is currently working as a business consultant in BFSI domain. “I was always interested in Information Systems and that was because of my prior work experience. But from perspective of gaining domain knowledge, I gained knowledge about Marketing and Finance, which now helps me in my current job as a business consultant in BFSI domain. The Finance sector attracted me with its competition level, economic study and the customer-focused approach. The more I learned about it, the more I got influenced, and that is why I pursued my specialization in finance domain,” he shares.
An IFIM alumnus, Siddhartha Padmapati worked for four years in a sales division in publishing shifted to Accounts and Finance department in Information Technology industry. He is now working as Regional Account Manager at Avention Inc. “My focus shifted from sales to core accounts, I felt a personal growth in this sector, so I made my career into the same. I was interested in sales as a management trainee and pursued a career in sales in a publishing industry. But gradually I learned about the market scenario and growth in Accounts and Finance division in IT industry. After gaining experience and a lot of thought process, I started working in IT industry as Regional Accounts Manager in organizations like Thomson Reuters, Lexis Nexis and presently in Avention,” he said.
Theory, internship and career
Students learn about the changes in market from their internships and they select an industry or a sector that offers the maximum growth in minimum time. However, there is a sea of difference between classroom learning and industry expectations.
Abhishek Abraham Varughese, MICA PGDM-C, currently working as Senior Executive (Sales & Marketing), Amul, says, “Yes, there are differences in the way the industry and academia function and expectations from us. In classroom sessions we had learnt requirements of an industry. Regular workshops as a part of MBA curriculum on leadership, negotiations and media tools such as TAM & various digital marketing tools like AdWords and comScore, teach you theoretically, while industry stresses more on the practicality of an idea, academia creates models which can be used to effectively frame/structure our ideas.”
The industry is continuously evolving with new technology raising new demands and competitions. The curriculum teaches a student about how to manage and compete with changing trends in various industries; it prepares you for challenges that you might face in your professional path. The academic structure is developed in such a way that makes a student industry-ready. But there is always a fine line between theories and practical, the exposure to the real competitive world and situations teach you what cannot be learned in the classrooms. That is why internships play a vital role in moulding a student as an all-rounder. The experience gained at an internship provides a holistic approach to the students on how to move ahead, practicing their theories and also moving on the right career path.
Outcomes and learning
MBA programmes teach a student at both professional and personal levels. Mohit Sadhwani shares his learning from MBA programme. “Professionally, PGDM programme at MICA exposed me to media and entertainment industry which I always wanted to venture into. I took up the programme which exposed me to lateral and innovative thinking in a very unique manner,” he said.
“The PGDM-C programme at MICA has helped me become a lot more mature in my thinking which in-turn has helped me in making wise decisions on various fronts. It also taught me to stand on my ground in turbulent times and to think before taking any step forward in any situation,” he added.
Management studies not only define your career path but also help you see a world with a different perception. “I developed a holistic view of the world around me; my goals (professional/ personal) became clear to me,” says Abhishek Halder about what he learned from his MBA programme at IIM-A
So, at the end of the day, it is not important that you achieve what you had initially thought about the programme, what’s more important is what you have gained from the academics and the memories that come with a great campus life.
Aditi Bhasin Bhatia, Alumnus, IMT Ghaziabad shares, “Most of us are where we are, due to the start we got at our B-School, though we might not be meeting very regularly but we inculcated long standing friendships there. I learnt to share, care, let go, celebrate the wins, shed tears at sorrow and had friends who together kept forward”.
Top B-Schools let you participate in activities that match your personal interests, whether you are looking for diversion from academic life or for more deep-rooted research into the domain of your liking.
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