How many people would take a risk of leaving a dream PSU job with a promotion coming soon to join a B-school? This is exactly what Fayaz did when he thought he wanted to keep his learning going on. His drive to learn new things and not shying away from taking risks is what makes him feature on our Best 30 Most Employable Graduates of 2021 list. Read his story here.
The following is Fayaz Ahamad Shaik’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, Fayaz’s story and profile stood out. Here's his own story in his own words.
"I belong to a middle-class family living in a small village near Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. I did my schooling in a nearby town before moving to NIT Jamshedpur for pursuing my B.Tech. I had received a merit scholarship from the HRD ministry continuously for 4 years during my undergrad. Later, I worked for HPCL in various departments and I had received a letter of appreciation from the Director-Marketing of HPCL in this three-year stint. I got selected for the Young India Fellowship for the 2019-20 session, but I left it to pursue my MBA dream from IIFT Kolkata (2019-21). I am a dreamer and I like to keep myself involved in learning new things. Currently, I am learning the art of investing in the stock market. I also enjoy traveling (explored 16/29 states), watching cricket and tennis, and reading non-fiction."
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.
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go.” — T.S. Eliot
Most of the engineers enrolled in non-CSE/ECE branches aim for the Central Government/PSU jobs owing to recognition in the society, Job security, decent pay, and Perks; and I was no different. I worked very hard and stood among the top 5 ranks in my department which helped me to realize my PSU dream through Campus Placement. I was fortunate to join Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited in a Pipeline Project on the verge of Commissioning which offered a steep learning curve with cross-functional exposure.
As the learning aspect gradually declined, I wanted to keep my learning going so I have taken my MBA entrance exam preparation seriously and converted a few top B-schools. However, I had to choose between two paths- 1) to continue in the stable & comfortable job with a promotion expected soon 2) to take the risky path of joining a B-School carrying a considerably high work experience (36 Months) knowing that I may not be getting many shortlists (as most of the marketing companies don't prefer candidates with high experience)
I am a person who is not afraid of taking risks, trying out unconventional things; and learning has always been my primary motive. Although it was relatively easy for me to choose the latter option, it took considerable time to convince my parents about this decision.
This decision will remain as one of the biggest risky decisions in my life but the never-ending learning through classroom interactions, case competitions, Positions of Responsibilities; and my internship stint with ICICI Bank in a Finance Role getting converted to a fulltime, etc, makes me feel that it was completely worth it.
When was the last time someone relied on you? OR What did you do which was purely for someone else - a truly selfless act.
When I was working for HPCL, I found that on-contract technicians working at the site had good practical skills but lacked in relating those to the theoretical aspects of how things work. I had a good rapport with them and I used to explain the theoretical aspects of the maintenance of an LPG pipeline relating them to practical implications. I have realized that they wanted to get into a stable job but lacked guidance on how to go about it. I have started guiding them about various job openings and educate them about the skills required to crack these jobs. I helped them with their entrance exam preparations by clarifying the core electrical concepts and the quantitative aptitude. The efforts paid off and one of them got selected as a Junior Engineer in a PSU. Now, he is guiding other technicians at the site and helping them with their preparations.
I realized that even a small help of ours will have a major positive impact on someone’s life.
Tell us about a time when you disagreed with an opinion/idea/decision. What did you do about it?
“The purpose of disagreement is not victory or defeat, it is progress.”― Teal Swan
During the selection of Senior Club Coordinators at IIFT in the first year, I had a disagreement with an interview panelist (A Senior Professor at IIFT) over my preferred club choice in the interview process. Just to brief, the senior club coordinators are the SPOC for the domain-related activities on the campus for an entire year.
I was interested in both Finance and Operations clubs and had made it to the final round of both the club selection process. The panel has asked for my preference and I have communicated my interest in the Finance Club. But a senior professor felt that as I don’t have any experience or Certifications in Finance, I would be a better fit for Heading the Operations Club owing to my work experience in the same domain prior to joining MBA. I tried to convince the panel with a detailed agenda along with a bucket list of initiatives I will be taking if selected as Finance Club Senior Coordinator but the panel stressed the lack of previous experience in Finance and nominated me as Head for Operations Club.
Even though I got a position which was clearly not my first preferred Choice, I have worked very hard as a Senior Coordinator of Operations Club at IIFT, making it one of the most active clubs through various initiatives like weekly knowledge series posts on social media posts, arranging for industry visits, organizing guest lectures, Operations Summit, guiding the junior batch for summer placements for Operations roles, and we are on the verge of publishing our first ever Operations Yearly Magazine of IIFT.
Although I was not convinced back then by the decision of the panel, it actually makes sense as I got enough time for developing my profile towards Finance by participating in various Finance Competitions and sitting for certification exams. I had managed to clear Level 01 of the Financial Risk Manager Exam, and I had been the National finalist in many Finance competitions. I realized that I was able to do complete justice to this POR because of the operations knowledge I carried from my previous work experience. It reinstated my belief that everything happens for the greater good.
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 believe there is a deep-rooted connection between money and various civilizations across history. I am numismatic, and I have been collecting coins, paper bills from different periods, and countries for the past 15 years. I have a collection of more than 100 coins and currency bills predominantly focused on the various Commemorative coins issued by the Indian government post-independence. I also hold some foreign currency denominations and a few coins of the 1850s era. Whenever I see this collection, it rekindles my interest in history and reminds me of the effort I had put into collecting them. This hobby of mine had taught me how to build effective relationships with people which slowly became a part of me.
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 be fortunate to receive such a huge amount in this critical time.
The following is the approach to how I would be going to spend the given amount:
- I would pay off my student loan, clear off my family debts, and buy a good house with an amount of 1 crore rupees.
- I will plan a family trip to Europe, and take care of my other needs of the family with another 1 crore amount before I start my professional journey post MBA
- I have been actively involved in CSR activities during my previous Work experience stint where I developed a strong belief in creating a supportive environment for all sections of society. To start off in this direction, I would like to contribute to society by establishing a trust with 25 crores which works for the following causes:
Supporting the higher education of underprivileged children who can’t afford their fees.
Creating supporting infrastructure for schools in rural areas to increase enrolment and attendance rates.
Skill Development training for unemployed adults and providing supporting them towards leading a sustainable life.
Helping in the effective end to end distribution of medicines and vaccines to various parts of the country
- I would like to explore a few start-up ideas, so I would make a fixed deposit of 3 crores which provides me a stable income of approx.1,50,000 Rs/- per month to lead a comfortable life for the period start-up receives sufficient scale.
- Of the 45 crores of the amount left, I will be investing 25 Crores into my start-up which provides working capital loans, asset reconstruction services, and other financial services to SMEs and HNIs. With the balance amount of 20 crores, I would establish a venture capital fund which helps the budding start-ups with high growth prospects to create a better tomorrow. A portion of the profit generated from these two ventures will be donated to my trust (mentioned in Point 3) to keep the trust activities running.