Tell us a bit about your early life, academic background, and journey leading up to SDA Bocconi.
For my Bachelor’s, I pursued fashion merchandising and retail management.
In one of my first internships with Big Bazaar as a visual merchandising intern, I handled all in-store communications, curated store displays, and in-store events. Later, I started working with Ferns and Petals as a design management trainee.
With my hands-on experience with clients like Louis Vuitton and Radisson Blu, I understood how much I could delve deeper into business management. The experience acclimated me to the essence of the business and served as an important inroad for me to consider a career in management. I wanted to seek impactful roles and explore my potential.
While on the surface it seemed like a rosy idea, I could not imagine the transition in reality. Given that I hailed from a creative background, there was always a scope to be viewed as someone just ‘creative’ and not someone who knows the thick and thin of business. I was aware of such a challenge.
However, I decided to go ahead and explore the possibility. And so, I began my quest to pursue an MBA at a reputable institute.
When did you decide that you want to go for an MBA?
My academic experience during my Bachelor’s had acclimated me to the foundational aspects of management. The work experience chiseled my knack for management, and it also deepened my interest in pursuing an MBA, even though the idea of a career transition seemed very daunting and almost impossible.
I remember there were times when I felt I was in limbo and could not afford to make a career transition. But I wanted to explore the potential of an intersection between my creative disposition and my interest in management. I felt that maybe the blend and balance that I am seeking will be supplemented by an extensive management course.
So, despite the fears and hurdles, my passion to streamline my potential and strengths into a wholesome career drove me to pursue an MBA.
Were there any doubts, fears, or inhibitions that entered your mind when you decided to venture into uncharted territory?
I had this preconceived notion that my core strengths are only in creative fields. So, I thought I could only excel in roles such as campaign design, designing creatives, product design, etc. I did not feel sales and consulting would be my strong suits because I believed that my creative disposition would translate into a marketing role.
Additionally, at a certain point in life, most of us want to figure out our core strengths and where we belong as well as take a leap of faith. That is what I began with.
I was not from a core management background when I began my quest for MBA. Preparing for an MBA at a reputable b-school also comes with a strict sense of time management, resource investment, and stringent self-discipline. I was aware of the rigor that this course demands, and it is only natural to feel intimidated and daunted by looking at uncharted territory.
Fears and doubts are a part of the process of growth. It is the outlook that matters.
If we envision fears and doubts as possibilities for transformation, there is massive potential for growth. That is the motto I proceeded with as I was keen to invest my creativity into my academic and professional journey in management.
How did you prepare to make it to your dream b-school?
When I decided to pursue an MBA, most of my friends had stable jobs, and there was an expectation from parents too to earn well and ‘settle down.’
There is this constant urge in us to seek social validation or prove our abilities, and choosing to pursue an MBA despite social pressure was challenging. Then, after four years of graduation in merchandising, I lost touch with mathematics, quantitative reasoning, and even reading comprehension, which is vital to prepare for an MBA.
I had lost touch with mathematics, quantitative reasoning, and even reading comprehension, which is vital for MBA preparation, and I could not cope with mathematics or other quantitative sections. So, I naturally needed to join MBA coaching and literally start from zero.
Being perceived as someone who is only good in fashion hurt me deeply, as the initial weeks of mocks didn’t go well. I failed and doubted myself, and by the time I landed for the next class, I would console myself and work towards performing better.
Eventually, I delved into intensive training and self-discipline. Once I gained a foothold with the quantitative section, I constantly began upskilling myself as per the requirements of an MBA.
SDA Bocconi Asia Center interested me the most because of its international exposure.
During my Bachelor’s, when I went to Europe, I was fascinated with the culture, landscape, and scale of development. A foreign trip or a foreign exchange program offers a spectrum of learning. The lessons of traveling are unparalleled. When you go places, you can engage with people from different cultures and gain a nuanced understanding of cities and their cultures. SDA Bocconi substantively catered to this.
Also, given that I was from the fashion industry and Milan is a global fashion hub, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to explore and find a way into fashion management or luxury management.
I was also rigorously preparing for interviews by indulging in varied sources to navigate the MBA interview with confidence and knowledge.
What were your early days at SDA Bocconi Asia Center like? What differences did you observe in your post-graduate and undergraduate studies?
At SDA Bocconi Asia Center, I came across people from diverse backgrounds with varying skill sets. Such an assortment was an opportunity, as it provided the scope of engaging in constant mutual learning.
At the outset, it seemed daunting and competitive. I did not want to be perceived as someone with only a creative flair. It took me a lot of strength to experiment and realize that my creativity would empower me.
This realization did not come to me in a matter of a day. It was a gradual process, as I participated in live projects with Kellogg’s and NeoNiche, a digital-first experiential marketing company, and multiple competitions.
For example, I recall one of the earlier days when I started to gain confidence. My team and I participated in the National Sales and Marketing Competition conducted at an IIM. With the help of my creative ideas and effective teamwork, we were able to bring the trophy home. This boosted my faith in myself and helped me understand that creativity is an edge to innovative problem-solving.
At the same time, the learning environment during my International Master in Business program, as well as the relationships we shared as students
and learners, was very encouraging.
If there was self-doubt, I converted it into an opportunity to learn and grow. The key for me has been proactive participation in various live projects, etc, to enhance my learning and skills.
Let doubt never halt your process, and for me navigating doubt meant participating more at an academic, social, and professional level.
How were your internships at Jio Creative Labs and Schindler?
Schindler and Jio Creative were both digital marketing internships.
Schindler was a different experience altogether. I did not possess an in-depth idea about the elevator industry, and neither did I have well-groomed marketing exposure.
At Schindler, I piloted two major performance marketing campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. I also executed an e-mail marketing campaign, leveraging the HubSpot CRM for lead generation, and devised a campaign content plan.
At Jio, I designed marketing campaigns, digital amplification, and brand solutions as per client briefs for impactful brands like Baggit and in-house brands like Utkala and Balaji.
It was creativity that helped me sail through both roles. The exposure that I gained through these internships served as a precursor to the roles that I took later. I learned how my creative side could be marketed and implemented efficiently in the industry.
How did you prepare for the placement process at SDA Bocconi Asia Center? What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?
The placement process comes with a mix of aspirations but also anxiety. You can’t prioritize relationships or placements—they must be carefully balanced.
I leveraged a strong circle of friends from different backgrounds. We leveraged each other’s strengths. I would advise my friends with creative ideas for sales and marketing interviews, and I would, in turn, receive information about finance or consulting concepts.
SDA Bocconi does not have a crab culture; we believe in uplifting each other. The self-doubt that creeps in through this time can be only mitigated with strong personal relationships.
At the same time, the process of placement is familiar. From the first day, it’s all about where and how we get placed. All the internships and live projects become an enabler for the placement phase.
There were roles for which my friends were my competitors. But even then, SDA Bocconi Asia Center’s culture helped us empower each other.
Time management was also a critical challenge, managing time between attending college, projects, and placement. One had to constantly edit CVs according to the role, research the company, etc.
That is what an MBA does, it prepares you for the rigor that comes along. By the end, the placement process becomes familiar because the course is structured to prepare us to accept challenges with zeal. Internships become enablers and sharpen us for the upcoming placement processes.
Is placement stressful for students, with so many classmates eyeing the same spots? How do you tread that path and ensure no long-term damage is done to relationships?
Yes, the placement process was difficult, but my classmates were there for each other. There was a constant exchange of skills and ideas, and we supported each other.
I suggest not damaging relationships just for placements. It’s not required or worth it. The stronger your friendships, the better you cope with stress and rejection. Imagine being rejected in an interview after cutting off the people who would console you.
I constantly aimed to balance placements and relationships because I knew relationships were a huge part of my life. The value I offered to my friends was reciprocated.
Students who come to SDA Bocconi are essentially team players, and it reflects during the placement processes.
What role or company were you eyeing at the beginning of the placement season? And where did you finally end up going?
Looking at my prior profile, fashion, beauty or luxury sectors were definitely on my mind. Though opportunities aint planned always so I went with the flow. I come from the covid batch and times were uncertain though edtech was booming and I had no qualms on my fitment to a particular industry. My specialization is in sales and marketing, and I wanted a profile that aligned with my background. I got placed with Scaler Academy and I havent looked back since.
Sales or business development are critical to every organization. I realised early on that starting with sales would offer me overarching access to other roles if I were to ever switch roles. It was more of an instinct, so I went ahead with sales role at Scaler and graduated to my dream Job at Salesforce a year later.
Did SDA Bocconi’s international brand help you with your career?
SDA Bocconi imbibes a sense of sharp practicality, which is also enriching at the same time. There is an emphasis on building a strong CV, participating in live projects, and having an active LinkedIn presence.
Such minute details are only addressed by SDA Bocconi and not so much by other colleges. With extensive training, both practical and theoretical, SDA Bocconi’s IMB program eventually prepared us well for the roles ahead.
The collection of recruiters and brands that SDA Bocconi entails is constantly growing bigger and better. The alumni network and connections that it offers helped us a lot.
For me, interning at Jio creative or Schindler helped me grow and access such niche brands in the first place.
How do you see your career going ahead? Do you want to remain in a similar role industry, or would you want to switch? How do you deal with the anxiety that comes with uncertainty?
I am living my dream of working with the world’s number one CRM. I hope I end my career with Salesforce as well; that’s how great their culture is.
I want to keep working here and stick to a sales role. The whole motive of an MBA is to understand your strength, what you are inclined toward, and what you are good at. I figured out mine.
Yes, sales is a target-based role, and most people cannot take the stress of constantly delivering targets month-on-month. But I believe that once we taste success, we want more and more of it, and that is why each target completion encourages me to work harder and strive towards betterment and excellence.
The mindset my workspace has instilled in me is to keep learning and to remember that my role is critical to the organization.
To deal with anxiety, one should learn the art of labeling. When you are nervous, tell yourself that you are excited because both have the same biochemical reaction.
Through this art of labeling, I have always maintained a positive outlook, which helps maintain a calm mindset and steer through challenges with critical thinking.
Any final advice to students and aspirants looking forward to coming to a b-school and exploring career options like getting into a company like Salesforce?
This is a bit unconventional, but do not be afraid of self-doubt. Self-doubt will take you places, enable you to work hard, and compete well. It must not be taken negatively because self-doubt will lead you to explore and understand your strengths and weaknesses. Eventually, as the self-doubt begins to fade, you will be surprised by a boost in self-confidence.
Research companies you want to work with, search for the roles that interest you, and then read the job description carefully.
Explore the technical and soft skills a role needs and take different live projects and internships to gain those skills. Even if you don’t like finance, do a live project, and see if you can work on it.
One of the most critical aspects is that if you are entering a program like International Master in Business, your motive should be to see where your interests lie, what your capabilities are, and how these align with each other.
Come to a b-school that helps you go places. Apply to SDA Bocconi Asia Center’s IMB program today!
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