Sometimes, things come to us easy. It is the decision to put everything on the line and take another shot that is challenging . Today, we bring you the story of someone who rejected admission to one of the top b-schools in India and took the CAT again. He did not let the fear of not making it next year stop him. His courage and belief in himself landed him amongst India's Best-30 Most Employable MBA Graduates!
The following is Shailesh R Yadav's set of responses to a questionnaire floated amongst MBA graduates to determine the top-50 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, Shailesh R Yadav's story and profile stood out. Here's his story in his words.
“I am from Navi Mumbai and I have completed my B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from NIT Nagpur in 2017. I have 22 months of work experience in Tata Motors as Senior Manager, I am pursuing my MBA from IIM Kozhikode and I have received a PPO from Pidilite. I am a person of amiable nature, who maintains good relationships with co-workers and treats everyone respectfully. I have a versatile personality and I am a dog-loving person who is always ready to pet any dog that I see nearby. I like to go on trips and visit new places and my favourite sport is football.”
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 biggest risk that I have taken in my life would be forgoing a seat in one of the Top IIMs of this country to have another shot at CAT. In 2017, I had my first shot at CAT. It was a last-minute registration from my end as I had already decided that I would be giving CAT in 2018, but at the last minute, I thought maybe I could have a trial attempt in 2017 as that would make me familiar with the pattern and the actual exam pressure. So I registered at the last moment from my office and clicked a selfie from my phone camera for filling the CAT form, and thus I became a candidate for CAT 2017. Since it was already embedded in my mind that this will be a trial attempt, so I did not prepare much and my preparation included giving two mock tests and going through some basic quants for three weeks before the CAT date. The D-day arrived, and my exam went fairly well given the level of preparation involved. When the results were announced, I managed to get a percentile of 97.73 and got a call from IIM Indore and many of the new IIMs. I went for the interview for IIM Indore and got selected as well. But given the preparation that I had put in, it seemed to me that if I have one more shot at CAT, I would definitely be able to better this score.
So now, I had a major dilemma in front of me, either take the easy route and choose one of the finest MBA colleges of the country or have a shot at CAT again and face several uncertainties once again like preparing for the CAT exam along with my job, facing the CAT exam pressure, and the interviews that follow. Most of the peers surrounding me converged on only one of the options, the former one, as they felt I shouldn't let go of such a great opportunity and the risks involved by going with the latter option are pretty high. But with the one-shot that I had at CAT, I felt pretty confident about my abilities to ace each of the individual sections of CAT, and I decided to go away against the common advice and choose the route not taken. And I am proud to say that the belief that I had in myself and the confidence that I would be able to better my score actually did help me in achieving my goal and I did manage to better my score from the last time and scored 99.76 percentile in CAT 2018."
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 first year of engineering, when we were just getting settled in our hostels in a batch of about 600, I got acquainted with a guy who would be one of the three other roommates I would have in my first year. He was a very shy person, brought up in Andhra Pradesh. So, it was tough to get to know more about him, but in about two to three weeks, we formed a bond and our interactions increased bit by bit, and we started sharing details about our personal life. I got to know, that he comes from a poor family and his father has a debt of around 5-6 lakhs that he'll have to pay off once he graduates, and along with this, several other personal issues that he has faced to date or is facing currently. I got to know about the struggles of life, that I had never faced or not even heard of from any close acquaintance.
In the midst of our interactions nearing a month, in one of the days, I could gauge that he was very stressed and something was bothering him. Initially, he did not tell me as he felt it was too personal, but later during the day when I asked again, I got to know that his father had been sick for some time and now the reports had come, and he had stage one cancer. He was pretty depressed with this sudden saddening event and was even more worried about the financial cost that would be required for the treatment. Though I had known him for less than a month, I felt the urge to help him in my entire capacity as I was pretty saddened by the situation he was in. So, that night, I got another friend of mine to tag along with me and collect donations from our entire batch by going to each and every room. People were just setting in the college and did not know many of the batch mates so we were sure there would be a lot of people hesitant to donate but we wanted to collect as much as possible and thus, we went to all of the 150-200 rooms in our hostel in that night. With the help of my other friend, we were able to collect around 36000 Rs in a matter of hours. To give this amount to him, many others accompanied me as well and 7-8 of us entered my room and we handed over this amount to him, the same night. He had no words to say and started crying and thanked all of us for our generous help and contributions. He transferred the amount to his parents, the treatment could be done, and his father got cured of the disease as well.
Personally, this has been the most impactful selfless act that I have done for anyone."
Tell us about a time when you disagreed with an opinion/idea/decision. What did you do about it?
"In one of the product launches that I had led in Tata Motors, there was a difference of opinion regarding the requirement of a facility between me and my manager. We had different opinions about the type of facility that would be required for the assembly of a new vehicle.
In our plant in India, we try to implement similar facilities as present in the UK for the assembly of the vehicle. For the upcoming vehicle, I and my manager had been to the UK to assess the facilities in their plant. One of the facilities was distinct to India but in the UK, they had been using a different method since the very beginning. Regarding this, I had a conflict of interest with my manager who believed we should stick to the distinct facility available in India and modify the same, whereas I was of the opinion that we should have a new facility similar to that in the UK.
To strengthen my point, a better analysis was needed and I had to do a CAD comparison and show it to my manager. An advantage versus disadvantage chart had to be prepared and a detailed cost synopsis of both the solutions had to be put forward. Through a standardized problem definition, systematic data analysis, and methodical problem approach, I convinced my manager that the installation of a new facility would be a better option."
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?
"It definitely has to be Automobiles. I pursued my B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering because of my interest in Automobiles and I was pretty focused on joining an Automobile firm because of which I applied only for Automobile companies in my final placements. I was successful in cracking the interview as well, because of my knowledge about automobiles and of a unique engine that Tata uses in its cars, which was the center point around which my interview revolved.
Apart from the knowledge I had gained in the four years of engineering, I went on to work with Tata Motors for 22 months and gained immense practical and industry knowledge as well. Working for one of the biggest automobile companies in India, and being given a role in the Jaguar Land Rover assembly line offered me a holistic understanding of the automobile industry and of the specifics that go into making premium automobiles. I was part of a team that managed 4 product launches on the Land Rover line, and for three of these, I was appointed as the technical lead by my Manager.
I also got the opportunity to represent Tata Motors on the national level in the AutoExpo 18, Delhi, as I was selected by the Top Management to be a Product Supervisor for Hexa. I was deemed fit because of my communication skills and the conceptual understanding of the automobiles. Being with JLR gave me an opportunity to visit their main plant in the UK, twice, for the technical planning of a new vehicle launch in India, and those visits helped me gain immense knowledge about automobiles, different work cultures, assembly operations, and the many ways in which our plants were similar and yet so different.
Apart from this, working alongside the brilliant professionals who have helped build Tata Motors the brand that it is now, and their years of experience, provided me with a great platform to learn and gain a deeper understanding of the automobile industry."
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?
"Out of 75 crores, I would use 10 Crores to sponsor corporate football tournaments among major companies in India and increase the popularity of the sport in our country through a different but interesting channel.
I would spend another 10 crores on national NGOs which work on healthcare, human rights and women empowerment and 5 crores each for national and international NGOs that focus on the environment.
I would invest 5 Crores in gold assets and 15 crores in debt and equity in a 30:70 allocation to put the money to work which would help in my personal financial planning.
I would invest 5 crores in a flat for my parents in Mumbai.
Out of the balance 20, I would invest 5 on a farming based startup to help improve the distribution network and reduce middlemen cost and other 5 Crores on startups working on electric mobility.
The remaining 10 Crores would be used for Edtech startups that focus solely on providing quality education and this funding would help in creating free videos and online materials for students up to 12th standard, so that anyone who has a desire to learn can access them freely whenever required and gain basic minimum education to make themselves employable.”