An engineer from BITS Pilani, going on to study at IIFT. Sounds pretty standard right? Harrshit's story is somewhat similar. But what makes him stand out among his peers is his drive and passion. As a BITSian, Harrshit moved out of his comfort zone to stand for the General Secretary elections and won, fine-tuning his own skills in the process. We see the same kind of determination as he studied Finance and learnt about Investment and Portfolio Management before making it to IIFT Delhi. Currently placed as an Analyst at JP Morgan Chase & Co., Harrshit's passion is clearly visible, which is why he features amongst InsideIIM's Best 50 - The Most Employable Graduates Of The Class of 2018-20. Find out Harrshit's unique experience in this article!
The following is Harrshit Kansal’s set of responses to a questionnaire floated amongst MBA graduates to determine the top-50 most employable MBA graduates of the Class of 2020. Amongst the massive number of entries and responses being evaluated by the Founder of InsideIIM-Kampus Konversations, Harrshit’s story and profile stood out. Here's his story in his own words.
“I am a management graduate from IIFT Delhi and an engineer from BITS Pilani. I was born and brought up in Delhi and completed my schooling from Delhi Public School, where I was a gold medalist and won several gold medals in international Olympiads. I have held several important positions of responsibility as a student. At IIFT, I was the Class Representative and Secretary of Foreign Relations and Student Exchange Committee. At BITS, I was a General Secretary. I was also a topper at IIFT and was offered the Inspire scholarship by the Government of India for my performance in JEE.”
Name an instance where you wanted something and went out of your comfort zone to achieve it OR Tell us the biggest risk you have taken so far in your life.
"Getting selected for the post of General Secretary of my department at BITS Pilani was a success that made me go out of my comfort zone and greatly transformed some aspects of my personality. Before applying for that post, I had not imagined myself representing such a large number of students and considered myself to be a bit reticent. However, I decided to go for it and participated in the rigorous selection process. I promised myself to put in my best efforts and take it as a learning experience for the future. As the process went on, I realized that I had been continuously exceeding my previous expectations. The process which included multiple rounds of interviews with seniors and professors, group discussions and public speaking, actually proved to be a process of self-discovery for me. My final selection as the General Secretary transformed me to a more self-assured, assertive and sociable person. I developed good leadership and communication skills. It further helped me in completing a very successful year ahead."
When was the last time someone relied on you? OR What did you do which was purely for someone else - a truly selfless act.
"I was instrumental in forging the association of BITS Pilani and Tata Motors, Delhi for summer internships, by connecting the officials from the institute and the company and further putting in the required efforts for collaboration. Nine students from our institute were finally selected by the company for internships. The students were organized such that two of us, including me, were allotted the head office (HO) for our projects. The remaining students were allotted the various workshops of Tata Motors for their projects. However, they were resentful as even they wanted to work from the HO. Therefore, considering it my moral responsibility, I took up the matter with our General Manager and successfully got the allotment done among the workshops and the HO on a rotational basis. The remaining students were very thankful to me for making their internship experience more fruitful. I felt great satisfaction that I could be of help to them selflessly."
Tell us about a time when you disagreed with an opinion/idea/decision. What did you do about it?
"During my graduation, I was part of the organizing committee for a multiple-days technical fest which would comprise hands-on workshops for students on important software, competitions as well as other creative events. The organizing of the fest included all of the marketing and communication activities, inviting experts, budget allocations, sponsorship and fund-raising etc. The organizing committee was composed of senior students only. In one of the meetings, the other senior students stated that they would not include the junior students to play any part in the conduct of the fest as they believed the juniors did not have much knowledge nor held a comprehensive overview about the institute’s activities and functioning. However, I disagreed with them. I believed that a more deliberative approach should have been followed in which the junior students would be given a chance to present their ideas. This would also help them learn about the organizing which they can apply when they become seniors themselves. I presented my point of view to the committee and ultimately convinced them to involve juniors in the decision-making process. Eventually, when the junior students were involved, we could get a variety of new ideas and fresh perspectives which resulted in the fest being a big success."
What is the one thing you can claim to have some level of expertise or depth of knowledge in - it could be anything - a subject, a sport, a hobby, a venture, an initiative which has led you to do deep work in that field?
"Though finance is the field I have been extremely passionate about as a whole, one subject that I have loved the most is Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management (IAPM). My love for finance began when I was selected for a finance research internship at IIM Lucknow, right after my first year of engineering. My research was selected for a presentation at APOGEE 2016, the international technical festival of BITS Pilani. I also did another internship in finance at Vskills (a Govt. of India and Govt. of Delhi JV) where I authored over 40 articles about financial markets, stock markets, investing, investment tips, personal finance, financial analysis etc. I was awarded an honorary certificate and received a special appreciation for my work for the same. My love for finance turned into a passion and desire for making a career in this field as I completed numerous MOOCs from some of the world's best universities such as Harvard and Columbia. In 2019, I participated in the Credit Suisse Holt Valuation challenge, where I ranked in the top 10% of global participants and submitted an investment pitch.
I had successfully earned an NSE certification for IAPM course before even starting my MBA. Later, at IIFT, I topped in IAPM and also completed Bloomberg Market Concepts. I extensively used the Bloomberg terminal at IIFT to learn about portfolio management and hone my skills in the same. I now like to engage in personal investing and use the concepts learned by me over the years for management of my investments, essentially bringing the learnings into practice."
If 10 Million Dollars (approximately INR 75 Crores) is given to you to use it any way you deem fit what would you do with this corpus?
"I will prudently make a plan to best utilize the amount. I’ll use the corpus by dividing the amount into the following categories. The approximate amounts to be used in each are also indicated in parentheses:
1) Scholarships – I would like to start new scholarships for meritorious students of my alma maters, BITS and IIFT. (15 cr)
2) Charity – I have been a part of and worked for NGOs in the past. I support many social causes such as care of the elderly and homeless as well as animal welfare. Also, I will support and donate to the government relief activities for natural disasters and epidemics like COVID-19. Hence, I will start a foundation for the purpose of donation to the above-mentioned causes. (15 cr)
3) Angel Financing – I have been impressed by the technological start-ups for a long time and I really appreciate their importance to society. So, I would like to provide angel financing to early-stage start-ups. I would like to be in touch with students and alumni of my institutes who are working on technological start-up ideas and will provide financing to the best ones. (25 cr)
4) Investing – I would like to make investments and manage them based on my skills of Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management (IAPM). I believe this investment will further hone my skills in the area. (9 cr)
5) I would like to buy and gift a large bungalow to my parents as a token of gratitude for all that they have done for me. I would also like to invest in some other real estate for myself with potentially good returns. (8 cr)
6) Future Learning and Education – I strongly believe that education is a continuous process which should go on for a lifetime. Continuous learning is the only way for one to be the best version of oneself. Hence, I will keep aside some funds to be used for my future education. One of my dream programs which I would like to be a part of is the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University, after 15-20 years of working. (2 cr)
7) Lastly, I would buy an electric car for myself as I strongly believe that the future of mobility lies in electric vehicles. Also, as I am very passionate about travelling, I would like to travel around the world, visiting as many UNESCO World heritage sites as possible. (1 cr)."
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