With dreams to make it big in the corporate world and question the status quo, Sanjeeban Nanda took the plunge to quit his job and prepare for his B-school journey. And as the saying goes, ‘Fortune Favors The Brave’. A man of many talents, Sanjeeban Nanda shared his story with us and has qualified as India’s 30 Most Employable Graduates of the Class of 2021.
Being the eldest son of my family and being born and brought up in a joint family, I am seen as someone who is responsible, well-mannered, and kind-hearted person who loves helping others. I have succeeded at various junctures of my life because of my punctuality and my dedication towards the job at hand. I was recently awarded all 4 awards of SPJIMR for PGDM students for my academic performances. I am known amongst my peers to be a man of many talents because of my music, photography, and story writing skills. I wish to use my talent, learnings, and experiences to help people around me. That will give me the satisfaction I am looking for in life.
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.
I come from a middle-class family whose annual income is less than 3 LPA. After my B.Tech. I was working with a leading Aluminium firm with a decent salary. But the job didn't offer me enough opportunities to grow. The job also involved a lot of walking around the plant which started affecting my health and I was reduced to just 48 kgs. I knew that I had to do something about it. Once I paid off the loan that I had availed for my engineering studies, I was in a position to plan ahead. I had taken CAT that year without any preparation and ended up scoring 67 percentile. I knew I wouldn't be able to prepare with the rotational shifts schedule that the plant followed which needed 10-12 hours per day. Hence, I left the job 6-7 months before CAT 2018 and started preparing for it. I ended up scoring 95 percentile in CAT and 98 percentile in XAT and SNAP. I cleared SIBM, SCMHRD, XIMB, XLRI, and SPJIMR. I was lucky enough to get into SPJIMR. This was a risk that I had taken given my family's financial condition and the responsibilities that lie on my shoulder. But I strongly believe that if you are pushing yourself to go to work every day, then there is something definitely wrong with it.
I have regained my health as well and am no more the 48 kg skinny fellow who used to crib about his job all the time.
When was the last time someone relied on you? OR What did you do which was purely for someone else - a truly selfless act.
In 2019, one of my friends had appeared for GMAT and had got a score of 690 which wasn't that high for the international B-schools and ISB. She had applied to HEC Paris and ISB. By that time, I had progressed a great deal with my CV-preparation for our placements. The discussions with alumni and seniors had proved to be really beneficial in preparing a decent CV and framing my work-experience points. My friend told me about the fees that the career consultants were charging for filling up the form and preparing for the interview. With all the experience I had gathered during my B-school admission process and the activities at SPJIMR, I helped her frame the SOPs for both the colleges. One day I got a call from her. She was tense. I was working on a project that was to be submitted the next day. She asked me to help her prepare for the interview which was scheduled for the next day. So, I quickly packed my bag, went to her place, and started helping her frame the answers for her interview. She had also created a presentation for the interview which was not up to the mark and I had to help her make it more convincing for the interviewer. After she went off to sleep, I worked on my project till morning and wrapped it up before the deadline. Yes, the quality of my submission was definitely affected, but I was satisfied that I helped my friend when she needed it the most.
She cleared both HEC Paris and ISB with just a 690 GMAT score which was an achievement in itself. I was extremely elated for her.
Tell us about a time when you disagreed with an opinion/idea/decision. What did you do about it?
Ethics play an important role in my life and there are a set of principles that I follow. I was a part of the organizing committee of a band competition. That year we had received meager funds for the purchase and acquisition of musical instruments and we were using our own instruments. The senior members of the band, who were also a part of the organizing committee, planned to inflate the prices of light and sound equipment for the competition and utilize the remaining amount for our music room. I called a meeting of my band members and explained to them the other issues that might crop up after the fest due to mismanagement of funds, which also could amount to disciplinary action against us. I talked to the SAC committee Chief and discussed our issues with him at length and he agreed to disburse additional funding of Rs. 4 lakh, after the fest. My honesty was praised and I was happy that we did things the right way.
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?
I can talk about photography and music but for this question, I would prefer music. I started taking classes for Tabla at the age of 4 and have never stopped playing since. When I grew up, I started developing a genuine interest in the art. I was lucky to be selected by a band for Tabla. There I met people who really invested their heart and soul into music. I was introduced to Indian fusion artists who I had never heard of. I started taking a special interest in Fusion music. During my engineering, I won a competition that got me a certificate from Shankar Mahadevan and a scholarship to pursue a course from his academy. I traveled with my band doing shows and winning competitions at IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur, BIT Mesra.
At SPJIMR, I co-founded a music club, B-Major, in the first year and went on to orchestrate more than 10 shows in the debut year. I also take a keen interest in photography and have co-founded a photography club, Tasveer, at SPJIMR.
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 want to start a venture of my own 10 years from now after working in the corporate setting. My focus has always been on giving back to society. My parents were born and brought up in their villages and I have spent a considerable amount of time there, during my formative years. What lacks there is not talent but means to nurture the talent. Now with the advent of Jio, teenagers have access to the internet but they still are far from receiving the benefits that students receive in the big cities. I would like to secure the future of my family first because they have always lived on the edge and my parents have sacrificed their lives to make sure that they save enough to fund our education. So, I first want to give back to my parents. I will be earning for 10 years from my job, so if I invest 5 crores in a non-cumulative FD at 6.5% interest, I will be receiving 2.7 lacs per month which will straight away go to my parents' accounts. For the long term plan, I will be investing 10 crores at 10.5% in REIT. 10 crores will be invested in the capital market which will give me steady returns and will multiply my reserves.
I would like to get 3 duplexes costing Rs. 1 crore each, a studio in Bhubaneswar and Mumbai, Rs. 5 crores in gold assets, adopt my maternal village in Jaipur to turn it into a model village, and put Rs. 10 cr on it. I would like to spend the next Rs. 20 crore in my startup which will be a logistics provider, especially focussing on improving the cold chain infrastructure in my city.
To summarize, I would first ensure that my family, especially my parents, finally live the life they deserve. Then I would focus on investing in ventures or contemplate starting my own which will help society in general.