‘As a Strategy Enthusiast, I Am An Avid Reader On Management Philosophies’ – Shubham Sharma – Best 50 – Class of 2016

Shubham has been chosen as one of the top 50 most employable candidates across B-schools and programmes in India for the Class of 2016. He has one of the best 50 profiles among the candidates who participated in the Best50 competition.

About Me

As a strategy enthusiast, I am an avid reader on management philosophies, especially for new ventures. Hailing from a middle class family, the biggest challenges I faced in my life were usually an outcome of the tasks I had undertaken.

A second year student and currently the Coordinator of the Entrepreneurship Cell at IIM Kozhikode, a graduate in Electronics & Instrumentation from BITS Pilani, and an ex-Design Engineer at Texas Instruments; I have always been a consistent performer – both professionally and academically. My academic career can be best summarized by my 20+ projects that I completed at BITS Pilani and IIM Kozhikode (outside of my curriculum). My academic profile is supplemented by my work profile.

As a student representative, I represented the concerns of my batch-mates as a part of the Course Restructuring Committee at BITS Pilani. During my management summer internship in HUL, I worked on digital marketing executions of premium oral care brands, while being based out of the London Headquarters. Both added to my project implementation skills.

At college too, experience is ingrained through case study (national finalist with PepsiCo and semi-finalist with Accenture besides many others) and international business plan competitions (selected to present as global finalist at WebSummit Dublin ALPHA). I have also pursued part-time consulting assignments for HomeInner.com during my student life at IIM Kozhikode.

While I understand that my answer is not brief, please understand that it wasn’t meant to be.

What have you done at your Business School that makes you stand out from the crowd?

While pursuing my studies, over the course of the second half of my curriculum I have also invested time in consulting some technology start-ups and incubators in Kerala (more specifically in Kozhikode and in Kochi). One such client was Homeinner.com which is still in only its second year of operations. It wanted me to assist them in evolving their business model and, more specifically, their revenue model. Six months later, HomeInner was shortlisted at the global level in WebSummit Dublin’s pitching event was indeed one of my biggest achievements. The opportunity to pitch to global investors helped me realize that my work brought about a change to the firm.

What have you done in your life that you are the proudest of?

In order to understand this, one must understand that during my 3rd year of engineering at BITS Pilani, I had a prolonged period of being overworked. This was around February, when there was less than a month for the projects to be demonstrated for APOGEE (BITS Pilani’s annual technical festival). With impending time and the number of projects that my team had to coordinate (more than 70), I ended up burning out my team to accomplish the task rate. While happy then, this was a commentary on my management style. Over the next 6 years and having led over 5 teams (2 of them in professional work), my proudest achievement is that, while I have duly pushed my teams to get task done, I have never allowed individuals to ‘burn out’. Implementing that learning and changing a behavioural aspect about myself was, thus, quite satisfying.

If you were the Prime Minister of India, what would be the one problem that you would solve? Please explain your reasons.

There is an overwhelming gap between business motives and the social concerns that our nation faces. An avid reader of Michael Porter’s work, I feel inspired by the way he convinces business students at HBS that doing good for the society gives you maximum returns. For instance, pollution is an outcome of partially burnt coal or suspended carbon particles. If businesses reduce on either front, they could increase their operating efficiency and, as a result, make more profits from similar or smaller investments. In our age, this ideology is surely the way forward – and as a nation of 1.25 billion with a startling income gap – communicating this philosophy to enforce better business models would be the biggest problem I would wish to tackle.

If you had unlimited money, what would be that one mobile application that you would create and what problem would it solve?

I believe there is a dearth of financing opportunities for the lower and middle income groups in the country without prior collateral. If we assume the VC model of investing in people for high return stakes, there are good opportunities for us to bring people out of the lower income groups by simply helping them establish businesses (perhaps something as simple as a grocery store).  A crowdfunding app, where I can invest in small handicraft businesses (something as menial as Rs500 a year) could help mobilize this gap, and ensure opportunities for all.

Any parting words for our readers?

I would like to tell my fellow students that I am not a student with a great memory – a handicap for any major walk of life. However, it was my discipline (at least for a major part of my life) and the changes I could bring in myself that have brought me here. Many have questioned me for ‘becoming what others wish to see in me’. My answer to them would be to ‘look deeper. I am the same person, simply communicating in a manner which people find easiest to accept. The words are still the same’.

Meet the rest of India’s 50 Most Employable Management Graduates from the Class of 2016 here