ABG as a brand or as a company or as an organization to me has been one such name that has “Always been going on”, marching forward into different worlds and challenging themselves with new ambitions.
Going back to my childhood, cherishing the memories of our first home, I can blurrily remember scores of Ultra Tech cement bags lined up outside used to build the very first house my parents built. Of course, back then I did not even know about the ABG group and it's funny how much of ABG I consume today even though unaware at times. The first sim card I purchased was an Idea, as a kid, my favorite shopping store was always Pantaloons, the suit I am wearing right now as I write this from my B-school was picked up from Louis Phillipe. All the brands I mentioned here as you might be knowing were either started by the Birla group or were eventually acquired by them. In fact, ABG is literally so closely associated with my life that I stay right next to a MORE Supermarket (again an ABG owned chain). God knows how many times MORE helped me alleviate my hunger pangs.
Researching on the Birla group for this write-up enlightened me on so many of my choices, especially when it came to personal brands and preferences. I was a bit surprised as to how many of the brands I use and adore were part of the mighty ABG. Something as trivial as my underwear to my Insurance plan, ABG has them covered (pun not intended), it had most of it covered even though I didn’t always know it.
Elaborating on my version of ABG- Always be Going On- to me Aditya Birla Group has been an unstoppable institution which throughout its history never showed any signs of settling. It kept bolting forward- foraying into new industries ranging from digital payments to dressy fashion, from chemicals to cement, from textiles to telecom, from Insurance to Insulators. You name an area and ABG has its foothold in it today. It is amazing how instrumental ABG has been in our nation's progress as a global market- from becoming a leader in so many important industries to making so many brilliant acquisitions around the world and bringing historic global brands to India along with establishing a solid presence outside the country serving all over the world. In my humble observation, they have set a tremendous example of what it takes to be a true multinational giant. A giant anyone would be privileged to be a part of.
How I overcame challenges to achieve my ambitions in life so far.
Okay, so the situation was something like this...
A 20 year old me was in Bangalore doing his summer internship in finance at Cloudtail (an Amazon venture). Dissatisfied with the monotonous work I was doing I had it crystal clear in my head that I had to find a way to get out of this. Having spent more than 2 years studying for CA clearing 2 levels and bagging this internship was tough and leaving it without pursuing it any further was a trying decision. A decision my parents wouldn’t be supportive of, at least that’s what I thought at first. But I knew what was my plan B. I wanted to be a marketer. I loved marketing and sales and creativity involved in it. I always did, but for some reason, I chose not to pursue it in the first place itself.
Packing my bags inside 3 months of my internship I came back home and laid it all out in front of my family. They were, for obvious reasons upset by my rebellious attitude; I’ve been this way ever since I was a kid. But this was different, the rebel in me was practical for a change. It craved passion for a change. After a lot of convincing, I was blessed by my parents to start a new journey. A journey to get an admit in a top B school.
While I started my prep for my B-school entrances I picked up a very unique job, a full-time job at a Livelihood Promotion Group, one of the largest in the country. I was deeply involved in projects like Solid waste management and Women empowerment and working in rural credit. Although I was proud of the work I did it was extremely taxing for me to simultaneously focus on my preparation.
I was scouting 3 different villages a day demonstrating the use of internet and smartphones to 100’s of women, and then for the weekends going on a cleanliness awareness drive as part of the waste management project. Starting at 5 in the morning. I was literally surrounded by garbage, where I had to take notes on the stuff like tonnes of garbage collected per day, distinguishing dry waste from wet, conducting workshops for waste collectors or the safaai mitras as we fondly called them, surveying residential and commercial places driving awareness about cleanliness in the city and much more. I took my books with me to prepare in breaks while I was on duty. And it was not easy. For starters it was not a desk job, the conditions I was working in were far from cushy and during summers the heat did take a bad toll. BUT I managed, I managed to top one of the most difficult MBA entrances and 2 years later after my Bangalore stint here I am proudly writing about it from the school whose admission test I totally crushed- “Indian Institute of Foreign Trade”. IIFT was always a dream B-school for me.
I am proud of my journey- from the leap of faith I took of switching careers to the challenging job I took up along the way while preparing for my entrances, it was all worth it and I can tell it with 100 percent confidence that this wouldn’t have been achievable without courage, blessings, peer support and of course luck. And also, great parents and a kickass boss!