‘I chose AIIM over XLRI’ – Vijay Ahir, PGP Class of 2015

With barely a month away from Placement season, Vijay Ahir is exactly where he wants to be… top of his PGP class of 2015 at AIIM! A Civil Engineer by education, Vijay joined Adani Institute of Infrastructure Management after 7 years with Larsen and Toubro. Starting out as a Trainee Engineer in the Technology Services Division of L&T, Vijay ended up handling a number engineering services provided to ‘Fortune 500’ clients of L&T in the US; projects with a CAPEX of 45 million USD to 75 million USD. For 4 years he did this, and life would’ve been pretty much about shuttling between India and California – had it not been for L&T’s in-house training establishment. Vijay was detailed for a 1-year Executive education programme in Finance at IIM, Kozhikode. Their programme involved faculties teaching the participant over video conferencing and visit to IIM-Kozhikode campus for on campus study.. Here for the first time, Ahir was exposed to Finance.

“As a consultant my entire focus has been towards delivery. Once I was given this exposure towards Finance, I felt a strong urge to expand my career in the management side of the business rather than stick to the delivery side. I started applying to the colleges. I made it to XLRI and was wait-listed in IIM-Calcutta.”

After deliberation with family and friends, Vijay decided to go for AIIM over his XLRI offer. For one, he wouldn’t have to upstake from Ahmedabad – his hometown, but more importantly, it would allow him a leverage his core competence into a highly specialised Executive MBA.

“The synergy between that course package at AIIM and my experience aligns well because I worked in the infrastructure industry for 7 years. I didn’t want it to shift to general management. I wanted to shift to the management side of the business, but not from infrastructure companies to FMCG or that sort. That’s why I chose AIIM over XLRI.”

Vijay knew that within a very short while – just 5 years of existence -the Adani Group-backed AIIM had emerged as the foremost specialised B-school in the country. He was also sure that when it came to infrastructure management, nothing compared to AIIM. But despite all his logical and studied approach, Vijay was not sure that choosing AIIM over XLRI was the better decision…. till he actually began classes at AIIM.

“The faculty resource these guys have is absolutely fantastic! Most of the faculty members who’re teaching us over here, are from IIM Ahmedabad. I doubt I’d have this sort of exposure at XLRI. My understanding of the entire infrastructure industry and its problems was pretty basic. This has completely changed in the last year ever since I entered AIIM. I’ll be missing the debates and the healthy arguments I have with the faculty members here. The faculty at AIIM is quite open. They encourage innovative thinking. It’s hard to get into such debates and arguments in the corporate,” he adds with a knowing smile.

Vijay believes he is ready for the next step – a career in finance, specifically related to infrastructure firms.

“I’d like to start working in an infrastructure conglomerate with a specific goal and strategy and finance. Many infrastructure firms are financially stressed, nowadays.. It’s the biggest challenge in this sector. And I see a great amount of opportunity to make a career… to make good headway in that function specifically. Even IT has a big role in infrastructure. If you see the recent initiatives like smart cities, they’re primarily concentrated towards communication facilities, smart governance etc. that you deploy using IT.”

Vijay advises aspirants to AIIM to understand that Infrastructure today is a very broad industry. While a basic understanding g of the infrastructure sector does help in the Executive Programme, the newly launched PG programme is the right place for freshers to get a hang of infrastructure before they enter the job market.