IFMR GSB Alumni, Arun Ramnath says, “ Follow your heart and do what you love”
IFMR GSB Alumni Interview- Arun Ramnath, who is currently the Chief Business Officer at CARE Risk Solutions Pvt. Ltd. is an alumnus of IFMR Graduate School of Business, Krea University. In an exclusive interview with Careers360, he shares his career path and the role that IFMR GSB institute played in his professional life. He says his learnings at IFMR GSB played an instrumental role in setting a strong foundation, based on which he managed to build his corporate career. According to him PGDM aspirants must not be driven by the placement offer. Instead what they should look for is what is the wealth of knowledge they can get from joining a particular company. Let us read in detail what Arun Ramnath has to say on his B-school learnings and future management aspirants.
Careers360: Tell us about your domain and your work profile. At the professional level, did you pursue the same field you were interested in or did you switch fields?
Arun Ramnath: My corporate sojourn began in the banking technology domain. Two decades later, I am glad to report that I continue to explore various avenues within the same domain.
Careers360: Could you briefly share your career path thus far?
Arun Ramnath: I began my career as a Business Analyst in the banking technology domain and was presented with one of the most prestigious projects in the banking technology space - the SBI core banking project. I am grateful for this great opportunity because I got to interact with some of the most seasoned bankers in the country. The experience was so enriching that it equipped me with a broad understanding of the overall banking domain.
I recognised that I had a flair for making presentations and learning a lot from people, therefore I thought that a move to banking technology sales would be apt for me. It was challenging as I had to attend a number of job fairs for the same. However, a serendipitous meeting with someone who also happened to share the same first name as me changed things significantly. I owe it to Mr Arun Changrani for giving me the opportunity; if it weren’t for him, my career path wouldn’t have felt the same. I worked at Aplab Ltd. focusing on hardware sales such as selling ATMs, Scanners et al, whilst representing Aplab for the Cheque Truncation System (CTS) pilot being conducted by the RBI in the Delhi-NCR region.
Within a year of working with Aplab, I got an opportunity from a competitor company to handle the West zone and I seized the opportunity! It was like a dream run, escalating to the position of zonal manager and also having the privilege of working on the prestigious Cheque Truncation project.
As luck would have, I managed to expand my base with added responsibilities and promotions. I kept myself updated with several short courses, constantly keeping track of what’s new in the industry. I took up a keen interest in risk management, too.
This dream run continued even after I got an opportunity to work in the risk management domain which was beginning to take shape with the regulations like BASEL-I compliance. This was my first international opportunity and I was responsible for handling the pre-sales for the credit risk and operational risk domain for the entire APAC region, with a base in Singapore. I was falling in love with the domain and also with the country, but this had an abrupt ending. With the Lehman Brothers crash, countries around the world went into recession. My wife struggled to find a job in Singapore and we had just had a baby. We were both faced with a situation where neither of us wanted to spend time apart nor did we want to compromise our careers. We took the conscious decision of moving back to India, where we both had access to great opportunities but the memories of our Singapore life still lingered.
Back in India, I explored more avenues such as Lending, Cash Management, Anti-money Laundering, in addition to risk analytics. The roles were fluid, which led me to accept a country manager position in Sri Lanka.
Next, I joined OFSS in the Sales Consulting role for the Analytical Applications (AA) suite of products and was bestowed with additional responsibilities, working on the Financial Crime and Compliance Management (FCCM) products. Working with leaders from various geographies was such an enriching experience and added so much value to me and my career. This was truly one of the most enjoyable three-four years with lots of fun and learning.
After a good run at OFSS, I ventured into Analytical Applications (Risk management) in another organisation. I was heading the Global Sales and Pre-sales function for the organisation, which was attempting to compete with industry giants like Oracle and SAS. This was the organisation where I was travelling extensively and attempting to put up a respectable fight to the competition which was large and intimidating. There were struggles and challenges but that’s what made it more exciting! I am proud to look back at my many achievements and milestones during my stint there, opening up new geographies for the company and catching the attention of our competitors as well. The consistent performance helped me grow and eventually rise to the role of Chief Business Officer (CBO) of the company.
All in all, while I share snippets of my professional life, I can confidently say that I worked with some of the best teammates, gained some of the best experiences, and contributed significantly to some of the finest organisations in the corporate world.
Careers360: Is the Industry work different from what you learnt at IFMR Graduate School of Business?
Arun Ramnath: Yes, undoubtedly the industry work is quite different from what is learnt in college. However, my learnings at IFMR GSB played an instrumental role in setting a strong foundation, based on which I managed to build my corporate career. Subjects such as finance and statistics are playing a massive role in my day-to-day job even now. Above that, I am truly grateful to the great faculty who taught us subjects and prepared us for the real world. I truly owe my career to these wonderful professors at IFMR GSB.
Careers360: How do you think your time in college has added value to your life, both professional and personal?
Arun Ramnath: Irrespective of where you pursue your management higher education, studying at B-school is bound to shape your career and forge memories and friendships for a lifetime. Staying together at the campus and studying, doing assignments, celebrating festivals, planning special events, being part of committees and working towards self-development -- all these activities made a significant impact in my student life and work life, shaping my individuality for the better. Those campus days may never come back, but I’m glad to have made the most out of whatever little time I spent there.
My association with them continues as I have been an active member of the finance committee. I was also running an initiative of teaching commerce-related subjects to non-commerce batchmates; it was my way of fulfilling my passion for teaching and I loved every bit of it!
Careers360: What was your initial thought process when you joined IFMR GSB?
Arun Ramnath: A relative of mine working in the banking domain told me about IFMR GSB in the early 2000s. A college batchmate, who was in the MBA cohort before mine, gave me an overview of the college too, whose inputs played a significant role in me choosing IFMR GSB. Such was my conviction that the only institute form I had filled and submitted, apart from CAT, was IFMR GSB’s!
The intake processes at IFMR GSB in those days were rigorous and gruelling. I still recall my interview with the then-Dean and a few faculty members, asking me questions after questions. Naturally, I fumbled a bit but my takeaway experience was great. Even after the interview, I interacted with a few seniors and professors about feedback, the institute, curriculum, etc. The more I spoke to them, the more convinced I became that I was on the right path. Almost two decades later and I am glad that I made the best decision for my career and myself.
Careers360: You must have spent a memorable time at your college. Do you miss being a part of it? Share a few good memories.
Arun Ramnath: Once you leave an institute, you walk away with a lot of memories. My experience was fun, fulfilling and loaded with great lessons. I was glad to have made great friends there, found friendships that would last lifelong, and lived through an enriching experience with all of them by my side. Together, like a family, we lived through the many ups and downs during our MBA life. If given an opportunity, I would love to connect with all my batchmates and reminisce those days with them!
Careers360: How did you update yourself with the industrial requirements? What was IFMR GSB’s role in it?
Arun Ramnath: I believe that one must constantly learn to stay relevant at all times. With the way analytics (AI/ML) has been trending in all domains, I decided to take up a comprehensive, blended one-year course in business analytics. It is always great to get back to a structured form of learning. This has helped give me my best whilst staying updated at my current job. The basis of any business analytics course is statistics. Given that my foundations are very strong owing to my learning’s from IFMR GSB, I was able to perform well in this short course and finish among the top performers of the batch.
Careers360: You are a proud alumnus of this top college. What is the best part of IFMR GSB institute from a student's perspective?
Arun Ramnath: The best part of IFMR GSB is the quality of education. As a student, you don’t realise how it significantly impacts your performance until you join the workforce. Especially since the curriculum places an emphasis on real-world learning, you enter the workforce already prepared and ready to apply your B-School learnings.
Careers360: What is your suggestion/guidance for the future aspirants?
Arun Ramnath: My suggestion would always be to focus on learning and strengthening the basics so that you can build on them when you enter your corporate career. I would also suggest that you should follow your heart and do what you love. Don’t be driven by the “monetary tag” of any placement offer; always aim for the wealth of knowledge you’d gain from whichever company you choose. If you do what you love and excel at it, the money, the compensation will automatically follow.
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Questions related to IFMR GSB Sri City
Which College should I prefer amongst Christ Bangalore, Nirma Ahmedabad, Bimtech Noida, Welingkar Mumbai, Amrita Coimbatore, IFMR Chennai for MBA?
In order to make an informed decision about which college to choose for your final joining, you must analyse various parameters of a B-School to decide the one which matches with your final goals. At the end of your MBA, your goal could be entrepreneurship, higher education, job opportunities, greater exposure, increased market value or something very different. Basis the end result, please choose the college wisely.
For higher education, you should choose a college with good faculty and academic exposure, for career opportunities - choose a college with good placement records, for exposure and networking - choose a one with greater alumni base and so on.
For the colleges mentioned, I am highlighting the key parameters and the differences between the colleges. Accordingly, please review and make a choice:
Christ University Bangalore
- Course: MBA two year full time program offering PG Degree
- Fees: INR 7.9 Lakhs approx.
- Infrastructure: The infrastructure of the college is very nice and it gives a candidate the exposure to campus life. They have good facilities for library, laboratories, study centers etc. for holding discussions and learning from peers. They also offer in campus hostel facilities with different buildings for male and female.
- Faculty & Academics: The curriculum is very robust and helps in peer learning. The teaching pedagogy involves class room discussions on the case studies allotted and the faculty are well experienced and trained. A lot of faculty even have great industry exposure. The teaching methodology makes the candidate ready for professional life.
- Placements: It offers good placement to students in good companies. The average package is 7LPA while the highest is 13.12LPA. The top recruiters are Deloitte, EY, KPMG, TCS, Goldman Sachs, Cerner, Deutsche Bank, Amazon.
- Specialisations Offered: The college offer specialisations in Finance, operations, HR, strategy, marketing and Business Analytics along with a General MBA program
- Accreditations: NAAC 'A' Grade
- Recognitions: AICTE approved
The infrastructure, faculty, academics and specialisations are similar to Christ in other B-Schools also. In the other institutes i will only highlight points of differences
- Course: MBA two year full time program and MBA HRM
- Fees: INR 10 Lakhs approx.
- Scholarships: Merit and Merit cum means scholarships available
- Faculty & Academics: The core faculty are all Ph.D holders with very high level of experience and exposure in the industry.
- Placements: The average package is 8.70 LPA while the highest is 19.1 LPA. The top recruiters are Axis Bank, Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro, ADANI, ICIC Bank, Novartis, Coffee Day, Crisil, Hitachi, HDFC Life, Zomato and many more.
- Specialisations Offered: The college offer specialisations in General MBA and HR. The student can choose from a host of electives.
- Accreditations: NAAC 'A' Grade
- Entrepreneurship: A lot of alumni have successfully started companies and are running well like Winjit Solutions, x-plora designs, Odd Routes etc. Hence this is a good place if you want to build your network too.
- Notable Alumni: EVP& Business Head of Kotak Mahindra Bank, CRO in Radio Mirchi, VP Corporate Broking & SME - ICICI Lombard etc.
- 13 th among Private MBA colleges in India by Outlook in 2020
- 2 nd best college in Gujarat in 2020 by Times
- 2 nd among best colleges in Gujarat in 2019 by NIRF
- 3 rd best among colleges in Gujarat in 2019 by The Week
- 3 rd best among colleges in Gujarat in 2019 by ET Times
- 3 rd best among colleges in Gujarat in 2019 by Business Today
- 2 nd best among colleges in Gujarat in 2017 by Business Today
Bimtech Noida :
- Course: PGDM, PGDM International Business, PGDM IBM, PGDM Retail
- Fees: INR 9-14 Lakhs approx.
- Placements: The average package is 8.08 LPA while the highest is 18 LPA. The top recruiters are Amazon, Mindtree, ADP Inc., Wipro Technologies, Infosys, KPMG, Mazars, Oxane Partner, CGI Inc., IDFC First Bank, Acuity Knowledge Partners, ICICI Bank, TCS, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Wipro Digital, Wipro Consumer Care and Lightings, HDFC Bank, Panasonic, Exponential, ABFRL, Go Digit, Coforge, , HDFC Ltd., Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, SBI General Insurance Co., Ultra Tech Cement Ltd., Cians Analytics, Hevo Data, Howden India, ICRA Ltd., HCL Technologies Ltd., Reliance Retail, Total IT Global, ISGEC Heavy Engineering, Tech Mahindra and many more among others.
- Accreditations: NAAC 'A' Grade and NBA
- Notable Alumni: Co-Founder Purple Sketch Digital, Director Zeco Aircon, Deputy Manager Honda Cars etc.
- 6th among Private B Schools by NHRDN-Shine.com (//NHRDN-Shine.com)
- 10th among private B Schools by MBA Universe.com (//Universe.com)
- 47th MHRD's NIRF rankings
- Course: PGDM
- Fees: INR 11-15 Lakhs approx.
- Placements: The average package is 11 LPA while the highest is 22 LPA. The top recruiters are Bloomberg, Deloitte, EY, Citibank, CRISIL, ICIC Bank, HCL etc.
- Course: MBA
- Fees: INR 13 Lakhs approx.
- Placements: The average package is 5.37 LPA while the highest is 28.4 LPA. The top recruiters are Axis BAnk, Aditya Birla, Bajaj Capital, BNP PAribas, Birla sun Life, Citibank, Colgate Palmolive, Future Group etc.
I scored 209 in NMAT EXAM ON 3RD FEB 2021 , should I fill KJ OR IFMR INSTITUTES FORM?
As per the trends of previous year the cuoff for both these colleges are around 200-220 as per the level of the paper but as you know the cut off depends upon the number of seats available, the difficulty level of paper and number of candidates writing the examination hence it varies every year depending on these factors. The K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research is an autonomous business school located in Mumbai. It was established in 1981.
IFMR - Graduate School of Business a private business school located Andhra Pradesh.College offers admission to the two-year full-time Master in Business Administration.
For more information you can visit the following link:
which is best among IFIM and IFMR for pgdm finance
Both the colleges are good. But Institute of Financial Management and Research , Chennai (IFMR ) is much better and more ahead from Institute of Finance and International Management in terms of faculty, Placement, profile offered and others too. IFMR also has smaller size batches as compared to IFIM. According to 2018 batches , placement was 8.3 lakhs per annum of IFMR and 7.43 lakhs per annum of IFIM. According to PGDM Finance also the college is good and student get good jobs.
I hope your question has been answered properly!
All the best for your future!
I scored 84 percentile in CMAT 2020 exam and have 2 years of work experience and first division in both X and XII also secured 79 percent marks in graduation. So can I expect to get a call from IFMR?
IFMR is the private college which is located 70km away from Chennai. It is a good college for pursuing.
You have scored good and there is a chance for call from IFMR . You also have a work experience which is plus for you
Here is the link by which you can predict your college through CMAT score:-
I hope this helps.
how is IFMR college ( Krea University)
IFMR GSB is one of the best B School in terms of placement, faculty, profile offered and others. Dr. V Anantha Nageswaran is the Dean of IFMR GSB. Dr. Nageswaran, who is a management graduate from IIM Ahmedabad and has done his Doctorate from the University of Massachusetts, has been recently appointed as a member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.