Siddharth belongs to the endless list of engineers who typically join B-school after completing few years of work experience. However, for Siddharth, the idea to enhance skills and learn every single day led him to pursue PGDM at Welingkar Institute of Management also known as WeSchool. His campus life shuffled between classroom and a number of extracurricular activities. We speak to him on his journey from campus to corporate, his learning and work values that led him to crack his dream company Amazon right on campus. Here are the excerpts:
A Computer engineer deciding to join TCS as a Systems Engineer, applies for PGDM? Why did you make this shift and how do you look back at this decision today?
My interest in computers directed me to Computer Engineering, which subsequently led me to work with TCS. During my working years, I saw the business aspect of my technology project. I wondered if I could get a holistic perspective of the business, I would be able to contribute to the organisation better. That's how I decided to pursue PGDM at Welingkar Institute of Management (WeSchool).
Today, as I look back at my decision and see myself as a part of a Fortune 500 company, I feel great to have been in the right place at the right time and with the right intent.
When you stepped in your B-school, which aspects of the B-School life were interesting and how has that helped you shape professionally?
I came across diversity in the batch. The qualifications of my peers ranged from practicing Doctors to Engineers to freshers from Science and Commerce streams. This actually helped me interact with people of diverse mind-sets, and competencies. Working with them on different projects helped me perceive problem statement/ hurdles from different perspectives. As a result my mindset evolved to better my team player and leadership ability.
You were part of the Startup Accelerator Program at We-School, which works in collaboration with the Ministry of Education’s Innovation Council. Tell us about your experience being part of it and how did it add to your learning?
While I was working with TCS, my friends and I founded a start-up that offered services in social media management and website development for companies. When I came to WeSchool, I came across the Startup Accelerator Program which further helped me mature my ideation process over funding and execution. Right from starting a business to making it grow, experts on campus were resourceful. The experience has helped me discover my capabilities as an entrepreneur.
Take us to the day of your selection with TCS as your summer internship destination? Why did you opt to go back to TCS, having already worked there for a considerable amount of time?
TCS DISQ was an interesting initiative by TCS to mentor different startup ideas grow into running businesses, especially those contributing to the society. From my past work experience with TCS, I always admired their work culture and aspired to work there someday. One fine summer day, I finally made it. I was selected for an internship at TCS DISQ after cracking a case study round. Having the experience of founding a startup, I never saw this as an opportunity to ritually complete an internship but viewed it as a unique chance to learn and engage more on business development.
From TCS to bagging a role at Amazon from campus, how has that experience been for you? What would be your role at Amazon going forward?
Well, the experience to seek a job from an aspirational company is marked by highs and lows. The role offered to me by Amazon was of a Program Manager where I would be expected to work across multiple domains of business and projects. Making strategies and plans to achieve the organizational goals would be a priority.
Tell us about the day when you actually got to know that you have secured a job with Amazon. What according to you is a contribution from your B-school?
I always dreamt of getting placed in a progressive organization like Amazon, but it would be wrong to say that I was always confident about it.. When it actually happened and I got the news, it was surreal. It took me some time to let that feeling sink in.
I shared the news with my grandparents that I got the highest package in my institute and they were ecstatic.
All those projects, assignments, tasks, and pain I went through over the course of two years bore fruit. My professors led by the WeSchool, Group Director Prof.Dr. Uday Salunke provided quality facilities throughout. I bagged the job offer at Amazon, but it's the collective effort of many people from the B-school who helped me have an edge in a vast pool of talented individuals.
Any advise for students like you from core IT background and how they may approach their B-school life?
Be open and flexible to learn, try and apply new things in your professional and personal life.
It is a perception that aspiratns opt for an MBA / PGDM after working in an IT job role, just to get a raise in their salaries and change the domain of their work. But often that’s not true. If you happen to work for a non-IT firm someday, your knowledge will save your day. I personally feel in this era of technology, an MBA/ PGDM with prior work experience or knowledge of IT is valued across sectors. The educational qualification grooms you to have an edge in the market. More students should explore more avenues.
From the day you walked in WeSchool to now securing a role with Amazon, how has Siddharth changed as a professional?
I joined WeSchool recovering from a major setback in my life when my mother passed away battling a prolonged medical condition. But with the help of my grandparents and friends, I started putting back my life together and cleared the entrance for MBA / PGDM. Things started to move in my life and I grew in substance by developing a never-say-die attitude each day.
I realized that you need to keep learning new skills to use them to solve problems because any company at the end of day is looking for a person who is a part of the solution. Over the two years of my time at WeSchool I learned new skills, technologies and honed my existing skills. This eventually helped me during my interview at Amazon since it was all about solving real life problems and my thought process behind my solutions.
I owe a lot to a lot of people in my life to where I'm today. But I'm most indebted to my mother for making me who I am. It was she who taught me the importance of learning every single day.
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