Today, we bring you the story of Sauhard Gupta, who won the Director's Medal at IIM Lucknow. We talk to Sauhard about what was his motivation behind joining MBA, how did he prepare for CAT, and his interview at IIM Lucknow. He also tells us about what motivated him to win this award at IIM L and gives his advice to the incoming batch of 2023 about the b-school life and academics. Find out all the things that he has to say here.
Q1. Please tell us about your educational and professional background, and what drew you to pursue an MBA.
I had written CAT in my final year and had converted IIMB, it was at that point that I decided to do an MBA after gaining some valuable experience at GS. The idea was to appreciate MBA more and to extract its true value. Also, 2 years is considered to be the ideal experience for an MBA from the IIMs. Additionally, the motivation was to switch to consulting - given the impact and exponential learning curve that it provides.
Q2. Please tell us about your journey from preparing for CAT to finally joining IIM Lucknow.
My interview preparation involved focussing on three elements:
1. Education (primarily Under Grad)
2. Work experience (about my job)
3. General Knowledge (reading newspaper daily is a must)
4. HR Questions (why do you want to MBA)
The interview was more of a discussion on why do I want to do an MBA and the interviewers tried to understand my work at Goldman.
Q3. When you entered IIM Lucknow, did you expect to win the Director's Medal? What did you expect from the program?
But I never really studied or slogged with that aim, I trusted the process, used to listen to professors in class, and make my own notes. The result, I was Institute Rank till year 1 and ended as Institute Rank 2 at the end of the program.
Before joining IIML, I came with the aim of networking, learning from my diverse peers, and developing a holistic mindset of viewing and solving problems... I tried to learn and practice this during my MBA which helped me extract a lot from the program.
Q4. Given that only the crème de la crème of India makes it to IIML, could you give us an idea of the degree of competitiveness at IIM Lucknow?
Q5. Please tell us about your Summer Internship Experience. How will that experience help you in the future in your career?
Q6. What did you do differently and how did you study differently at IIM Lucknow that helped you win the Director's Medal?
Q7. How does an MBA student balance studies and extra-curricular activities at b-school? Is it possible to balance the two, or must one be sacrificed for another? How did you bring about a balance?
Balancing studies with extracurricular isn't easy and it's simply because studying isn't attractive and ends up getting pushed to the end. MBA is a fast-paced course - even if you loose track of what's happening in class once, you become lost... Hence, being consistent helps.
My mantra is to have your priorities straight. You can't have your feet in multiple boats. I didn't involve myself in everything that was happening on campus. I chose my interest areas. I knew acads is going to be one and ensured that I allocated it time in my everyday schedule.
Time management and smart work are important aspects of managing an MBA life.
Q8. What were your, your family's and your friends' reactions when you won the award? How did you celebrate?
There wasn't a grand celebration (thanks to covid and restrictions & even the convocation was a virtual one).. but we did cut a small cake and ordered my favourite food.
Q9. Regarding b-school life and academics, what are three crucial pieces of advice you would like to share with the incoming class of 2023?
Having been part of a team that is a mentor to new joiners and helps in their placement journey. I have taken countless gyaan sessions.. a few top things that every student must take care of are:
A. Focus on what you want and not on what others desire. (avoid FOMO)
B. Be aware of your journey.. don't just go with the flow. (try to set small goals and work towards them and always focus on the ultimate one)
C. Leverage all resources (faculty, seniors, batchmates & Juniors - there is a lot to learn from everyone)
B-School is an expensive place to be in (~20 Lacs ) experience it fully.
Lastly, interact with as many people as possible - the bonds made here last a lifetime!