Believer in ‘education can change the world’, Abhinaba has actively taken part in teaching kids in association with multiple NGOs. From starting up with a project for the Government of Jharkhand’s Innovation lab to continue taking classes for improving the standard of education, Abhinaba has always pushed himself. Thus, Abhinaba is part of India’s 30 Most Employable Graduates of the Class of 2020.
Currently in my final year of a full-time MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur. Extremely curious and outgoing, goal-oriented yet open-minded, love working with people in teams with similar interests that involve challenging application of skills.
Have recently interned with P&G on an HR Operations role for a pan-India digital transformation project and have developed a keen interest in pursuing a career in the HR-tech domain but also remain open to paths that help me learn the various facets of running a business.
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.
The Government of Jharkhand had come up with an opportunity to incorporate start-ups as part of the Jharkhand Innovation Lab. Our team did a lot of research on the existing markets and target consumers and presented well, but we lost due to the lack of concrete business proposition. After requesting the judges and organizers for an opportunity, we were suggested to present again, after a few months.
We used that time to talk to many officials and seniors and further develop our business plan and got it reviewed by several people, every day making some tweaks. We finally had a concrete idea, which was completely different from the idea we started off with. Our start-up was recognized as a top 10 start-up in the ‘Innovative solutions for smart cities’ category and we were given the required data to further develop our model. We were also asked to further develop our idea to an implementable stage.
Now, I work closely with the Jharkhand Innovation Labs to further the prototype and our start-up is incubated with XCEED, the incubation center at XLRI. All this while pursuing a full-time MBA.
When was the last time someone relied on you? OR What did you do which was purely for someone else - a truly selfless act.
During childhood, we were assisted by a house helper. I remember she brought her 2 children along in the evenings after attending school because she was a single mother. They were 8-9 years younger to me. This had a deep impact on me, and I always ensured they studied and played with me for the limited time they were there.
I have been involved in taking daily classes for underprivileged kids before as a part of the National Service Scheme in villages surrounding my undergraduate college. Recently, I went to teach underprivileged children as a part of my village exposure program. What continues to shock me in every trip is the sheer depth of the chasm between the level of education they have received and what they need to survive in this cut-throat, ever-evolving world.
For now, I constantly approach several NGOs to volunteer to teach whatever I know, mostly during weekends. I have taught for more than 30 NGOs.
In the future, to remedy this, I want to standardize this system wherein such students don’t have to depend on pro-bono methods to receive a quality education and brighten their future. I want to continue this work further and integrate like-minded people so that we can together raise funds and open digital schools for kids.
The best part of all this is, the 2 kids who I introduced in the opening line, are now constant parts of my classes, either acting as students or my teaching assistants.
Tell us about a time when you disagreed with an opinion/idea/decision. What did you do about it?
In one of my chemical engineering courses, I disagreed with the interpretation of certain phrases of the professor in thermodynamics. I was just thinking they were misunderstood by the teacher, and I was brave enough to raise my hand and share my views. The teacher praised me for my remarks, to my surprise, and encouraged me to question things and to give feedback to other teachers as well. In my view, we should do the same in our job - questioning stuff, sharing input with our peers, trying to make things better for everyone.
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?
People Management. Since I was pursuing my undergraduate degree, I was propelled to contact numerous people for help in getting my start-up off ground. All this has shaped my mind to think innovatively because things often do not work out the way we plan. Due to the constant need to change and adapt to new problems I’ve learned how to think quickly and make decisions that are primary to the completion of the topic at hand. Dealing regularly with people to get things forward and working extensively in diverse teams made me realize that every problem ultimately boils down to ‘people’s problems’.
Hence, I firmly believe that people are the biggest asset of an organization. This got me interested to pursue a career in HR. My main motive here at XLRI is to build my analytical ability to clearly see problems and to apply innovative but sound techniques to solve the people aspect of new business problems.
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 would divide the money into 3 broad categories:
- 65% of the total corpus would go into strengthening my start-up and working with the government to decrease the frequency of fatal road accidents in India.
- 15% would be allocated to philanthropic activities which I personally believe in - educational support for children, cancer research, upliftment of the tribal people in remote areas of Jharkhand, my home state, building and funding orphanages and old-age homes.
- 20% will be dedicated to investment in financial instruments to safeguard my family's future.