Whether it's taking new initiatives, managing cross-functional teams, or learning from new experiences, a good leader needs to always stay aware. These qualities along with good communication skills and an ability to easily connect with people is what makes a good leader, and these are the qualities why today Surabhi Gupta features on our Best 30 Most Employable Graduates of 2021 list. Read her story here.
The following is Surabhi Gupta’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, Surabhi’s story and profile stood out. Here's her own story in her own words.
"I had my initial upbringing in an all-girls convent school that made my base for clear and effective communication. I get my values of empathy, commitment, and self-discipline from my parents.
I completed graduation from NIT Kurukshetra in ECE and have a total work experience of 24 months in B2B customer experience. I have developed a keen interest in Strategy and Operations in product and business development.
Personally, I am a person who can easily gel with people and have been appreciated for my curiosity to handle new projects, learn and deliver on the go. I love to explore myself and new experiences every day"
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.
In my previous work organization, after 6 months of cross-functional training after joining, I was offered 3 roles within the customer experience department, out of which I chose project management deliberately because I wanted the beginning of my career to be full of learning and challenges and I can put my energy to learn the maximum possible within less time. This decision was out of the comfort zone because the feedback from the people in this role was that it has very demanding work hours here, sensitivity with clients is way too high and we get too less personal time, but I took it as the best opportunity for me and went for this role. The risk was that meeting KPIs was tough here and chances of not performing increases in such a dynamic environment, but one thing I was very sure of was that the learnings this role will give me would be highest for any new joiner, and went ahead with this role. Today I am proud that I took that decision as it has added so much weight to my people and process management skills
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 my college (graduation), there was a need for a regularized formal soft skills and aptitude training program for students to perform in their placement interviews. I saw this need and discussed it with a few of my friends. Together we approached the professor in-charge of HR in college and mentioned that we want to run a mock placement drive including organized sessions with seniors and professors for students who can share their knowledge and experiences with juniors. We also planned to train them for aptitude and brainstorming tests. The professors asked us to present an execution plan which they liked thoroughly and confirmed full support. The juniors relied on this initiative and with a basic fee of 100 rupees per student to manage the operations for the drive, we received a participation of 100 students. This was truly a selfless act that gave me immense satisfaction as the students did not stop thanking us for something we ourselves always wanted to do for the juniors.
Tell us about a time when you disagreed with an opinion/idea/decision. What did you do about it?
I will take an example from my past work experience. We as project managers (PMs) had an assigned funnel of orders from which we had to deliver network links. Whenever a PM left the organization his accounts were distributed among the remaining team. In one such case, I was handed some 24 new accounts. I was not comfortable handling so many added new accounts as I could not focus properly on existing clients and customer experience was being impacted for all clients and impacting timely deliveries and therefore my performance. I tried to push a lot but then it started affecting my physical and mental health and therefore I decided to talk to my manager about this. He listened to me very calmly and asked me how I would like to move forward. I took this opportunity and was well prepared for it, I asked him to allow me those clients who had a larger number of links to deliver so that the total amount of my funnel does not change but the number of customers is reduced so that I can handle the clients efficiently and customer experience is maintained at its best. I was appreciated for coming up with my issue and it was immediately resolved. Although I did had apprehensions on how management would take my call because anytime I was very new in the team and that too a fresh college graduate but I realized speaking out the discomfort with a relevant solution helped me as well the team and organization as a whole
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 with 24 months of experience in project management in customer experience and then the summer internship in the business process automation domain, I have gained a good level of understanding about managing end to end implementation for any new product/service, collaborating with different cross-functional teams and managing resources for timely delivery and maintaining the business requirements. I can do so because of my curiosity to learn and communication skills that help me learn on the go from observations, insights available, and manage risks as and when they appear.
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 will divide this money as per the below plan:
- a) Investment fund: 20 crores in Index Funds + 25 crores in growing ventures as a part of start-up India campaigns
- b) Fund for own business: 15 crores in Tourism & Hospitality segment to promote Incredible India campaign
- c) Fund for a non-profit organization: 11 crores
- d) Fund for Improving living standards -self and my family & self-skills upliftment: 4 crores