Everyone has their own set of problems to deal with, but very few people choose to help others solve their problems along the way. Even while facing his own problems with depression, Raahul decided to put aside his own troubles and help his friend get out of depression when no one else was willing to help. His drive to help others and work hard on his own capabilities is what makes him feature on our Best 30 Most Employable Graduates of 2021 list. Read his story here.
The following is Raahul Saxena’s set of responses to a questionnaire floated amongst MBA graduates to determine the top-30 most employable MBA graduates of the Class of 2021. Amongst the massive number of entries and responses being evaluated by the Founder of InsideIIM-Kampus Konversations, Raahuli’s story and profile stood out. Here's his own story in his own words.
“I am a highly self-driven, motivated, insightful and hard-working individual. I dream bigger than what I can achieve and work harder than my own capabilities to try achieving them. I am a calm and composed person who can deal with any kind of pressure and workload, along with a team or alone. The adversities I have faced and my mental tribulations have taught me invaluable lessons for life, which I keep in mind while planning anything in the future. To summarize who I am, I would quote Gen. Schwarzkopf - "Sweat in peace, so that you do not bleed in war."
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.
"It had been a year since I was working in Fractal Analytics- comfortable, settled and slowly climbing up the ladder in my role as an analytics consultant for an FMCG firm. I began contemplating giving CAT another shot (my first one in 2016 did not go too well), but it was difficult to give it a fair attempt given the piling delivery at work and rigorous and compulsory self-learning evaluation programs at Fractal. I had gotten too comfortable in my work life and had a one-track mind - to become a client partner at Fractal or a similar firm. However, on deeper contemplation, when I realized that I needed more education and exposure to become a leader, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and began preparing properly for CAT 2018, without compromising upon the quality of my work at Fractal. That meant 10-12 hours of work every day, with 3-4 hours of CAT preparation and barely 5-6 hours of sleep, with weekends spent only on CAT preparation. This was my biggest plunge beyond my comfort zone and helped shape the man I am now- capable of handling any amount of pressure and workload effectively and efficiently."
When was the last time someone relied on you? OR What did you do which was purely for someone else - a truly selfless act.
"This incident happened 1.5 years ago, to be precise. I was in a deep depression, exhausted both mentally and physically. A few of my close friends knew the turmoil I was dealing with on a daily basis. One of them went into depression, which was triggered because of some issues resurfacing from her past. She did not have anyone to turn to - no one was willing to listen to her or help her out in any way. She did not want to turn to me as she knew I too was in pain. However, seeing her in that situation, I put aside my own troubles for some time and began consoling her. I would consciously control my own mind from spiraling down its own dark stairs and would talk to her on a daily basis to make her feel she was heard. I ensured that she knew I could be trusted enough and that she could turn to me anytime, as I could relate to her condition the most. Eventually, she got better. I too felt better because I could feel that I was of some use to someone for some time. I am still close friends with her and I always maintain that putting her before myself is not mere selflessness, but something I would do for anyone that is close to me, anytime."
Tell us about a time when you disagreed with an opinion/idea/decision. What did you do about it?
"I joined Fractal in its integrated marketing effectiveness division. My tasks involved running advanced machine learning models on marketing KPIs data. I had joined when our team was in the middle of transitioning from one project to another, with the same tasks and the data preparation involved was to be done manually. I made the case that the data could be prepared through codes written in R, which would save time and effort. However, this needed a week’s time to be worked upon and would result in a shift in the timeline set by the client. The client partner heading our team did not want to shift the timeline and disagreed with my proposition of automating the data preparation process. Even the team did not feel the necessity to push the timeline by a week as the client was a tough nut to crack. I vehemently disagreed with the current work process and it took me a lot of mails, quick calls, and presentations to show my own team and the client partner the scope of improvement automation could bring upon the project. Eventually, the client partner gave us a week’s time to code everything and even got the client to understand the importance of this task. After innumerable lines of code and hours of testing, we were able to automate the data merging and extraction process, which reduced the time taken from 7 days to just a day."
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?
"Music. I listen to music as a hobby and follow several genres like blues, grunge, progressive rock, classic rock, and alternative metal. I happen to know about the history behind some of the most legendary bands and their popular and loved songs. Interestingly, my interview at IIM Calcutta began with me talking about the difference between grunge and progressive rock and a brief conversation on my love for Tool (a progressive rock band) and Pearl Jam (a rock band). I also go through the Wikipedia pages of the front-men of popular bands and try to understand what prompted them to pen down certain songs."
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?
"There are 3 areas of my life for which I would divide this money - my family, my own plans, and charity.
My family - There are 2 loans (house and education) to be settled by my father, which I would clear with this amount. I would use this corpus to settle my parents down as well, because my father, the only earning member of my family, is about to retire. I would use the remaining corpus to secure the future of my younger sister too and invest the remaining into fixed deposits and mutual funds.
My own- After investing some money into deposits, funds, and stocks and using it to clear my education loans, I would set some money aside for “experimentation”. I have some business ideas which I would really want to try out and some capital would help them get traction. I would also use this moolah to indulge myself in the things I love - food, music, traveling to exotic places, nice cars and a house.
Charity - Since the time I have been earning, I have made it a point to donate some money to charity every year. I will donate this part of the corpus to charity, especially for orphaned children, abandoned people with special needs, and for creating awareness around mental health. I may set up a managed fund so that I ensure that the money is being utilized properly for the purposes it is set aside for."