During High School, while working part-time at the library, as a resolute teenager, Aniket Kulkarni decided that he wanted to pursue mechanical engineering for his love for Formula 1, but, more importantly, to ensure a stable future for himself. He worked towards his dream despite the odds & not only did he secure admission at the University of Pune but participated in various National SAE events during the course.
Post engineering, he started his professional journey as a Graduate Engineer Trainee, but, soon realized that he was interested in a much more holistic approach to business and decided to pursue an MBA. That is when he took a plunge & had quit his job to prepare for CAT. Although post CAT, he did the most unexpected thing and turned into an Entrepreneur for a period of 6 months before he was awarded Dr. Ramdas Pai Merit Scholarship by TAPMI for the PGDM program.
The venture he had managed motivated him to pursue a career in Finance, and at TAPMI, he made his dream a reality. He is now an equity analyst at Samnidhy - The only registered Student Managed Investment Fund in India, being run at TAPMI.
Having summer interned as an Equity Research Analyst, Aniket is all set to successfully enter the field of Finance. In a recent conversation, Aniket discussed with us some of the most challenging & defining moments of his life. Read on to find out more about his inspiring journey in his own words.
Aniket, tell us all about your high school journey and how you made the most out of your part-time work at the library?
My school life was enjoyable because of my part-time job. I worked there for 4 to 5 hours after school. I come from not so well to do family, so it was essential and the only thing I could have done to help out at home. However, doing a paid job while still being in school is really a great experience. It was my first ever client-facing role, if I may say so, and it helped me learn how to interact with different people and deal with different situations. It didn’t feel like a big deal at the time, but it definitely inculcated certain life skills that have stayed with me till now. In addition to that, as a kid, you are never really interested in reading anything, but it was the only pastime I had at the time, and I am grateful to myself for doing that, as I am reaping the benefits of that while doing my MBA. The library was a perfect place to work as I could do my homework and study for tests. It was not ideal as compared to being in the comfort zone of your house, but it was a great bargain. I worked there throughout my school life and left it before the 10th class exams because I thought I wouldn’t have been able to manage both things.
For aspiring students, TAPMI provides scholarships up to INR 2.9 crores.
Under Dr. Ramdas Pai Merit Scholarship scheme, around 50 students can bag scholarships worth INR 2.26 crores. Almost one student of ten students gets financial support with this scheme. Click here to apply for the PGDM Program
How did you go about preparing for MHCET? take us through your journey to get into mechanical engineering.
Getting into engineering was a decision I never had a problem deciding for. Like most of us, I decided that I wanted to pursue it because it was a safe bet for a stable future. I hadn’t joined any external classes which others had for MHCET, so I had to work on that extra bit by myself. Even though I didn’t get an outstanding score, it was good enough to get me to a decent college, which I knew offered a good mechanical engineering course. During my part-time work at the library, thanks to the countless sports magazines I had read, I had started loving formula 1 which actually was the rationale behind me choosing mechanical engineering over anything else.
You participated in many national SAE events during your undergraduate degree, how did you go about creating the machine, and how was your experience working in the team?
It was the part that I had looked up carefully before getting admission. The college had an exceptional team and had a history of winning national level events multiple times. Hence, I thought getting into one of these teams could definitely serve the purpose for which I had actually chosen to do mechanical engineering. I did get myself into one of the teams which aimed to make a formula-style car and race against the teams from colleges across the country. The technical learning was just an exponential curve, which was one of the greatest things I experienced while working on the car. We had to try and fail a lot of times to eventually succeed. From engine to chassis, everything was supposed to be worked upon, and that was the best part, as I could actually put theory to practice and build something. Of course, some of the theory went down the drain, and instincts kicked in.
Apart from all the technical learning, unexpectedly, I needed my sales instincts here too. The students had to contribute the money needed to work on the project. I couldn’t pay the entire contribution, but there are always many ways to solve a problem. I went around asking for sponsorships at the time to cover up for my share, and I eventually got my share sponsored, which was a huge relief as technically, I couldn’t have been a part of the team otherwise. Of course, events like these have a huge impact on your resume going forward in the technical field, and as our college had a history of doing well at these events, it mattered even more.
After college, how was your stint at AMW Motors?
With all that as a backdrop, joining an automobile company came naturally. I joined AMW Motors Ltd. as a graduate engineer trainee at the company’s central warehouse. I was scouting new dealers, managing warehouse operations, inbound & outbound logistics, connecting with existing dealers across the country, and generating sales. So, the scope of the work was so wide that it made me level up as soon as I joined the company. I am glad that I got to work on so many different things, which actually helped me realize what I actually wanted to do going ahead. I had a lot of leeway in applying new strategies to improve efficiencies in the warehouse and supply chain in general. Needless to say, I failed at times too, but having this freedom while working for a company really helped me get over the challenges and gave impetus to my learning.
From there, how did you go about setting up your own venture? What were your biggest learnings?
I would have liked to continue working at AMW Motors for a long time, but I had decided to pursue an MBA, and of course, I had CAT to prepare for. The main issue was that the warehouse was 40 km from my house, and I couldn’t afford to lose that time in transit. However, after the exam, it felt that I could do something, so I started to learn video editing and blogging which was something really random considering what I had been doing previously. But one of my friend’s cousins, who had his start-up running, saw my blog and offered me to be a partner by amalgamating my blog with a new platform that he was working on. It was basically a project where I had to oversee and manage everything related to a blogging platform. And that is how I eventually ended up creating my venture and overseeing his start-up’s operations as well.
I had no idea what I was doing for the first few days as I was totally new to this field and had never done digital marketing before. I was also supposed to manage developers and get the website up and running in the stipulated time. This was one of those experiences which definitely made me feel like doing an MBA was actually a good choice because when you start a business, you start with a business plan, all the things seem really disruptive, and then there are surprises everywhere. It also helped me learn that a great team is important if you want to do something. Also, when everything is new, you are very eager to give your perspective on things. But I realized it was important to listen first and speak later. Like they say, “Fools learn from mistakes, but wise learn from history”, I learned it the hard way, but eventually, I did.
As an entrepreneur, your team doesn’t work for you, but you work with the team, and I feel it is the most important thing about the start-up culture, which is equally important even if you work with a conglomerate.
What brought you to TAPMI? Tell us about your experience till now
I had a range of choices for my score, and all were great and unique in their own way. However, I had decided to do my major in finance, and after talking to a lot of people and some research, I did realize that TAPMI really does have the best finance course amongst the colleges I had been shortlisted for. Before joining TAPMI, I was made aware of a student-run mutual fund Samnidhy, which was the first of its kind. For me personally, deciding to pursue an MBA was a tough choice in itself considering the fees, TAPMI has been very supportive towards deserving candidates, and I was honoured to have received this financial aid in the form of the Dr. Ramdas Pai Merit Scholarship, which really made campus life easy for me.
I have had an amazing experience at TAPMI. People say that committees are the core of any MBA. Being part of Samnidhy opened pathways for me in terms of great learning and exposure. It is also a platform that widened my horizons by providing me an opportunity for peer to peer learning. Apart from the academics, the other cultural and sports events over the course have really made the MBA life really enjoyable for me.
Coming from such a diametrically opposite field, how did you develop an interest in the field of finance and how did TAPMI help you in successfully transitioning into the field?
The partner whom I worked with on my venture was a trader. So, through him, I was exposed to the field of finance. At the start, when I thought of doing an MBA, my first choice was to do it in operations because I had a background in that field. But working with my partner for around 6 months really made me interested in finance. Hence, I chose it to be my major.
I was really a clean slate in terms of financial knowledge when I came to TAPMI, but the faculties in my first two terms were extremely knowledgeable and helped me build a solid foundation. Like I mentioned earlier, being part of the Samnidhy research team was really beneficial for me to put that classroom knowledge to test.
At Samnidhy, I analysed economic and market trends, earnings prospects, and financial statements to determine investment strategies. I also had to Monitor financial press and keep track of market trends, new investment opportunities, and risks. Also, TAPMI has the largest Bloomberg lab with 16 terminals, and the amount of data you can access and analyse at these terminals is really mind-blowing. Working on these many projects really aided me to know the basics, and helped me in my transition.
Having interned as an equity research analyst this year, what is your vision for your future career?
My summer internship was in line but over and above what I had done in Samnidhy. We built valuation models for companies and performed the usual routine, which goes into equity research. However, the one thing that piqued my interest was the fintech space. After some secondary research, I was really intrigued by the creativity and innovation in the space, and also realized that it is where the industry is headed. Hence, I would really like to build my career in fintech. A career in fintech provides you an opportunity to work in a fast-paced environment and exposure to the latest technologies, making it one of the most exciting workplaces for me.
I believe that the work that I have done as an equity research analyst in one and a half years will be a great foundation for me to build a career in the field of my choice. Of course, apart from all the finance domain knowledge that I have learned at TAPMI, I would have to learn about technologies and how they are implemented on the ground. It would be difficult, but knowing how many different things I have done till now, I would like to take it up as another challenge like I always have.
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