We bring to you an interview with Rimsha Uzair, the first year topper from MNNIT, Allahabad (2014-16) below-
Give a brief Introduction about yourself. Kindly mention your specialization - MBA
I am Rimsha Uzair, currently pursuing MBA with dual specialization in Finance and Marketing from MNNIT Allahabad. Although my hometown is Allahabad, I have done my schooling from a variety of places being Jeddah, Lucknow and Delhi and my graduation in commerce from Gargi College, University of Delhi.
1. Tell us about your educational background. Why did you decide of pursuing MBA? Why did you choose MNNIT?
I have always been a straight A student ever since school. Highly inspired by Indra Nooyi at that time when she became the CEO of PepsiCo., I had always wanted to get in the corporate world. I pursued commerce in senior secondary at SummerFields School, New Delhi and then did my graduation, B.Com from Gargi College, University of Delhi. It had been a wonderful experience being involved in extra-curricular in college apart from studies. I got placed from campus after graduation and I worked for Ernst & Young Pvt. Ltd. for a little less than a year before I quit to start preparing for CAT as I had always wanted to do MBA, and also I had seen how beneficial it would be in the real corporate world from my working experience. From the available options I had for MBA colleges, MNNIT seemed the most viable as it was in my hometown and also the ROI was excellent, plus it has brand value being an institution of national importance.
2. "To be one amongst the toppers of my batch"- was that a strategy from day one of B- School or something that evolved eventually?
No, it was never my strategy. I had entered this college only with the will and enthusiasm to learn as much as I could. Although I did have a ‘topper’ image at school, I was far from that in my graduation days. When I came here, I only wanted to do good, attend classes regularly and be involved in extra-curricular as well. Just attending and listening attentively in class is sufficient to do well I would say. MBA is more of how we can apply the knowledge and relate it with the real world than the theories and bookish knowledge.
3. Walk us through your academic journey in the first year – How did you pace yourself academically in the first, second term?
The first year at MNNIT was very eventful. We used to have interactive classes which encouraged us to ask questions, rebuttal and have a discussion which really made me think and have opinions. This makes classes more interesting and fun. Although in the first semester, most of the subjects were a revision of those in graduation like Economics, Business Environment and Accounting, there were some like Operational Research in which I had to really take help of my engineer classmates as well as study from the very beginning. In the 2nd semester, the basics of the four specializations were introduced and I had an insight into each one of them which also helped me choose specializations. The thing I loved the most was whatever topic in most of the subjects I studied, the professors always related it with a real life example. The case studies in Organizational Behaviour were always interesting and fun to work on. Overall, it was a good year and I really enjoyed learning about the new topics and had better understanding of the various aspects of the business and its working.
4. What is the contribution of your Professors/ college in your success?
The faculty here are really good and have years of experience which have made them thorough in their respective fields. They are approachable and helpful. The professors have contributed a lot in my success. Each one has a different style of teaching and it is a pleasure to attend classes. From introducing the concept to building on it to explain a difficult topic, it is wonderful to see how effortlessly they teach. Also, their insight in project work and detailed evaluations of the presentations always encouraged me to better my performance.
5. Tell us about the most interesting experience that happened in the last one year that changed your outlook towards the B-Schools studies.
Not one in particular but the entire experience taught me that B-school studies are more conceptual and understanding based than theoretical. The immense use of case studies and minor projects where actual research was involved, I learned how to apply what was taught in practice. Almost everything that was taught was substantiated by real life examples and that made us remember things far better, made it more interesting. The focus being on application has always being challenging and made me focus more on conceptual clarity.
6. If you were to go back in time and change one thing about the last year, what would it be?
Well, whatever has happened, both good and bad experiences have made me what I am today. I have learned a lot from both of them and would not like to change anything.
7. B- School is mostly about group activities. Were you used to this kind of team endeavour’s or was it a new experience for you? How would you rate your performance during the team activities?
The amount of group projects, presentations and case discussion were numerous. But fortunately I had some experience from my graduation days of handling a group being the president of the commerce student’s union. Thus, that experience really helped me how to motivate the fellow members, listen to their suggestions, voice my opinions and be a team player. I had always been the team leader of any group I was a part of, even if unofficially. That helped me hone my skills of having a balance in the group and encouraging others. Group projects are always a better options as it brings out a lot of different opinions, encourages brainstorming and widen our horizons and also prepare us for the corporate world where decisions are always discussed and being a teamplayer is of utmost importance.
8. How important do you think is the involvement in Extra- Curricular activities? Do you think these activities tend to deviate a student's mind from the initial academic goals set?
I think extra-curricular is very important. In the first year itself, I was selected as one of the Student Coordinators of the Training & Placement Cell which was an enriching experience. Also, in the second year, I was part of the organizing team for Netritva, a leadership event for the Techno-management fest of MNNIT. These events and involvements teach us team spirit, how to work with others, and management skills and are a real test of what is taught in B-schools. I strongly believe extra-curricular activities do not affect the academics of a student. One should always maintain a balance between the two and how one does that is tested very well in B-Schools. Extra-curricular activities provide for a holistic development of an individual and are in fact necessary.
9. What would you like to advice to this year's batch w.r.t academics, activities, & in general about the B- School life?
My advice would be to be focused. Know what you want to do. Once you know that, everything else will fall in place. Even if you don’t know, MBA is the time where you can explore and identify what is it you are interested in. Be true to yourself. Once you have decided to pursue MBA, you are adult enough to take decisions and know consequences. Attend classes regularly, interact in class, be enthusiastic and participative because it will only benefit you and no one else. But do not limit yourself to studies, B-schools are a great opportunity to engage in extra-curricular, practice management skills, meet new people and develop your personality. This is for most of the individuals, the last time wing of formal education, so make the most of it!