If you ask me a sure shot way to climb up the corporate ladder after an Engineering undergrad, I would decisively proclaim going for an MBA. Well, that’s what I used to think (and still do, btw) after completing my undergrad in 2003 and while working for some of the top-notch IT firms in India. And there is no denying the fact that almost all the aspirants who do go for an MBA with a renowned B-School in India surely foresee a bright future with eye-popping profiles and salaries and I was not an exception to the same.
With my own calculations I mind, I appeared for entrance exams of top 9 colleges in India (considering IIMs as one) and was pretty excited to crack Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) in my first attempt at MBA in 2007. A powerful brand name, IIFT has been ranked 6th in India by the Wall Street Journal this year. I was fortunate enough to be selected in a batch of around 160 from almost 40,000 applicants. Obviously so, I was quick to resign from TCS that i was working for, with stellar ambitions in mind. Just to contrast later on…I was about to fly off to Manchester, UK on a pretty long-term Project through TCS, with Tickets in hand. But I have always believed in the weight of an MBA degree and knew that Onsite (a Jargon used by Software Professionals) would not be an issue after my next value-add.
So, here I was in Kolkata standing with pride on the first day in front of our college on 2nd July 2007. The city I would not recommend to spend your years in, otherwise, because of its weather. Coming to academics, I have always been a front-bencher and cannot think of a day when I would have slept in the class. Looking another way, I was a serious kind of a person, a nature which I am changing now, courtesy my wife and Toastmasters. Anyway, I am sure my classmates too would not have enjoyed much considering Profs used to call us even on Saturday or Sunday early mornings, to get us ready to face the tough expectations that we were building for ourselves.
Fast forward few months and we were dressed-up in suits to face nail-biting interviews during summer placements, which got wrapped-up in a matter of days. Com’on, we were IIFTians! I was pleased with mine at IBM and was offered a stipend of Rs 22,000 per month. Another few months and I was in Gurgaon during April-June 2008 to complete my Internship. I really enjoyed my time staying in the hostel at MDI (another great MBA college in India) for almost three months, for reasons I would leave for guess-work.
Ok, back to Studies again, folks. Another few hectic months with all of us taking up electives from the Specializations we wanted to go for in 2nd year. Any guesses for mine? No prizes though! I chose Major as Finance and Minor as Marketing. I was not so good in number-crunching but I had clearly laid-out plans for my life right after my undergrad. And Finance does make sure you rise fast, at least money and accompanying status wise.
Another few months and we were nearing our final placements starting in December 2008. But before that, hold your breath, Lehman Brothers collapsed in September. Gosh! Why on earth a 150-year old bank had to collapse just before I was expecting to climb-up the stairs of my future. I sympathise with my peers all over the world who graduated in 2009 and were expecting to land a plum job. But, hold on, remember we were IIFTians! Yes, gladly, we still were able to place the entire batch on campus, though the process took four months…far stretched from the concept of Day 0, Day 1 etc we were used to. Pretty spectacular job, considering only a handful of B-schools in India achieved the feat of placing everybody on campus. I landed a decent job with a company in Bangalore. However, I moved on in nine months from there after four of my batch-mates from IIFT departed even before me.
Global Economy had started looking up by then…early 2010. I would call that the starting point of my post-MBA career and in exactly a year I was invited to travel to Boston by client, with some exceptional performance to my credit at Headstrong. I guess, I proved MBA was the right choice to make. There has been no looking back since then.
And, for the record, I have already started giving wings to my dreams. That includes shrugging-off my serious behavior, learning new things every day, and enjoying every bit of life (at least trying to).