The Story Of My Life – How I Decided To Do An MBA
This one is a rather emotional piece for me. A story. The story of my life so far, career-wise at least. If you have been reading my articles and have enjoyed at least some of them, then I am thankful to you. At least some of them might have been helpful to you at some point, I hope. This one isn’t a direct one like the others. But I am sure some of it will stick with you once you read it and come back to you at some point in time in your life. Even if it doesn’t I promise you it will be a story worth reading.
So how did I decide on doing and MBA?
The truth is that I didn’t. The irony of the Indian Education System is that it is very difficult to know what you want to do in life at the time when you are made to take that decision (Post the 10th Grade!). So usually it is either a choice by elimination or a shot in the dark; and for some it ends up being a choice between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. So you end up making a choice after 10th (or perhaps that choice is made for you by your over-ambitious parents) and from time to time you get to decide whether you want to continue on that path or perhaps look for the grass on the other side which apparently looks greener.
It was a 15-minute conversation with my Dad in the 9th Grade which decided the next 8 years of my life (or perhaps all of it!) as far as my career is concerned. Given that it is extremely difficult for a 9th grader to know what he wants to do for the rest of his life and more so, to have any significant insights into what each career choice entails, having a person you trust more than anyone else and more importantly a person who not just knows you better than anyone else but also each and every career choice and the quality of work associated with it is much more than a blessing!
My Dad knew exactly which Graduation Stream I will enjoy the most, which colleges I will enjoy going to and also which kind of work I will love or hate when I am done studying. To know the last part is borderline psychic! We made a plan A with many plan B’s and C’s available. But so far the Plan A has gone absolutely as per the script. To the letter! It was as follows:
Step 1: Choose Commerce Stream.
The reason being I did not have a research-oriented personality. I would relate to day-to-day examples far better. So it would take me more effort to understand why protons behave in a certain way, but it would be far more natural for me to understand why the demand curve shifts to the right due to consumer behaviour.
Step 2: Chartered Accountancy.
It is the highest qualification in the commerce stream. So to start with it is essential that you aim to be the best. However, my dad accepts that the course turned out to be far more rigorous and rote learning oriented than he figured. Fortunately, I fell in love with the subjects; so it hardly seemed like too much effort. I must mention that CA was our retirement plan. He knew that I would not like the work that a CA does since it is highly monotonous. So CA would help me when I have had enough of the suited up corporate life as I can start my practice and earn passive income in lakhs and crores. Absolute Genius! Hence, Step 3.
Step 3: MBA
The kind of work that an MBA gets is at a different level if the MBA is from a top Indian B-School. So the options that we discussed were SPJIMR and IIM Bangalore. Even at that point in time, we did not consider IIM A or IIM C despite the fact that they are among the Top 3 B-Schools in the country. My Dad had experienced the cultures at all of these B-Schools and knew exactly which culture would suit me the most. Also, I (because of him) have never been afraid of taking unpopular decisions against the herd; and standing by them. IIM Bangalore next!
This might seem like a simple 3 step plan. But there were so many variables, as it is a plan that stretches over 8 years. A thousand things could have gone not according to the plan and my life might have turned out diametrically opposite of what it is now. Throughout this journey, I had to make constant decisions about whether I absolutely love what I am doing. And for most of these 8 years, I have been in love with each and every day of my life. Hence, I never tried to fix what was not broken.
So to finally answer the question, my career choice was decided by a lot of help from destiny, but none more than the Hand Of God that I have had since the day I was born, The Genius called Mahesh Hanmant Aranake(My Dad)!