After close to 3 years of working in IT Consulting, I was all pumped up about my MBA journey. On making the final cut at MDI Gurgaon, with high hopes and uncertainties with the pandemic and online MBA, I started preparing myself for the journey ahead.
Starting an MBA is a beautiful phase in life and one that you will cherish forever. However, it is not always as rosy as it seems. An MBA truly makes you come out of your comfort zone and push your limits. You will be doing things that you never thought you were capable of doing. You will learn new things every day and change immensely as a person.
Here are my five key experiences and learnings from MBA so far:
One of the main benefits of an MBA, that people often state, is networking.
I have become friends with an MBBS doctor, freshers from different disciplines, and experienced folks who have worked in various industries. Meeting and interacting with people from so many different backgrounds gives one a lot of perspectives and shows different ways of looking at the same thing. All this is while doing an MBA in virtual mode!
Learning: It is important to network with as many people as possible. Don’t restrict yourself to only like-minded people with similar profiles and interests.
MBA is all about teamwork. It is impossible to do an MBA without cooperating and working with your peers. Most of the activities have to be done in teams. ‘The whole is greater than the sum of the parts’ truly applies to teamwork in MBA.
Learning: Try to be a part of different teams with members having complementary skills. Your output will be much greater when working in a team of diverse individuals.
This sounds strange, but I mean it! Do everything and do more! I am from an IT background and wish to pursue consulting. But I have participated in case competitions focussed on marketing, registered for a certification related to operations, and (voluntarily) attended a session on various roles available in the finance industry. It didn’t seem logical at first, but learning about as many different things as possible has truly helped me refine my thinking process and become better at what I want to do. It has also helped me explore previously uncharted territories and develop an interest in areas that I didn’t think I would like.
Learning: Don’t restrict yourself to activities related to your area of interest. Try to broaden your horizons and keep learning everything that you can.
I mentioned in the previous point that you should do everything. But we do not have all the time in the world. Everyone has just 24 hours in a day! This is where prioritising becomes important. If you have 3 hours and need to complete two tasks: a class assignment with a weightage of 5 marks and a deck for a case competition floated by your dream company, how would you divide your time? Especially if you are a perfectionist like me, you have to learn to let go and understand that doing everything to the best of your abilities is not always possible and you have to optimise the time and efforts spent on a task.
Learning: Prioritise and decide how important something is for you. You have to strike the right balance between the amount of time spent on a task and the quality of the output. Try to do a lot of things fairly well rather than doing only a few things very well.
The long, arduous days and sleepless nights are bound to take a toll, and to make sure you don’t burn out, have fun while it lasts. When I say Fun, it doesn’t have to be watching a movie or playing a game with your friends. It can also be doing a group assignment or working on a case competition with your team. Try to think of applications for everything that you learn and start enjoying your work. Try to be receptive to new ideas and others’ perspective and think of how much value you are getting from this. And most importantly, whenever you get a free moment, try to have a casual catch-up with your friends to take your mind off things for a while.
Learning: MBA is not easy but it is worth it. Work hard but enjoy it at the same time. Remember, ‘It’s not always about the destination, it’s about the journey’.
About the Author: Obed Daruwala is a first-year student of the PGPM program at MDI Gurgaon. He hails from Pune and is an IT engineer from Pune University. He has worked for 3 years in IT consulting before starting his MBA. He has handled client projects across geographies like US, Canada, Latin America, EU and East Asia. He is a member of Toastmasters wherein he has received the highest recognition of ‘Distinguished Toastmaster’ and was also awarded the ‘Best Area Director for 2018-19’ in District 98. In his free time, he enjoys reading and going on long drives.