‘I presented a project on Malnutrition to PM Narendra Modi’ – Icons of IIM Indore – Kapil Kanungo
Kapil is one of the gem who has been carved out to dazzle through the IPM program. He is currently in the 4th year of IPM course at IIM Indore. During his stay at IIM Indore, he started to traverse the journey of being a CA as well as CS Finalist, winner of some of the awards like Amul Vidya Bhushan, National Moot Court and Elocution Competitions, TATA Crucible (Finalist). He also enjoyed the stint of being a freelance writer with the Times of India, a Cub Reporter with Dainik Bhaskar and a Radio Jockey with MY FM and Akashvani. He also presented a project on malnutrition to a jury consisting of PM Modi (then CM of Gujarat) and FM Jaitely (then Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha) during the Manthan event. Here is an interesting chat that we had with him.
What made you pursue management post standard 12?
My initial plan was to undertake a management programme after graduating in Economics from St. Xavier’s, Mumbai while simultaneously completing CA.I remember I was travelling from Mumbai to Jodhpur when I received a call from a friend who had just read about this new programme in the newspaper. Apparently, it was big news and he wanted me to guide him through the preparation of the Aptitude Test. While I was teaching him, I learnt more about the programme offerings myself and it interested me so much that I decided to apply. So after a test and personal interview, as fate would have it, I made it but my friend could not.
What are your expectations of the program and how has it panned out?
I was hoping that the programme would expose me to a wide gamut of thoughts and courses while also giving me the opportunity and freedom to pick and choose fields that interest me. There is a well thought out curriculum for the first three years where we take some compulsory core course-works (like courses from the Economics, Statistics and Mathematics area) and select the other electives (which include courses as diverse as Psychology and Accounting to Advanced Calculus and Law, to name a few). The classroom learning programme is very intense, the faculty is extremely committed and the focus is on providing deep understanding of the subject.Taking such a wide and rigorous coursework in the first three years piqued my curiosity, developing a solid academic foundation. From the fourth year, we were merged with the incoming Post Graduate Participants which is a unique learning experience.
The quality of the faculty who visit our campus is also extraordinary. Some of our faculty members have even taught IAS officers. I personally have friends in different colleges and universities of the country but I am yet to see a course of this kind. I never thought that I would like a subject like psychology, but the course has changed me for better. A sought of environment that is made by the faculty in the class is highly conducive and you seem to take a deep dive in the pool of knowledge. Before coming here when I was studying in Mumbai I didn’t feel the same sitting in the classroom as I feel here.
There is also a social internship programme at the end of three years. I worked with Design for Change during my internship and was mentored by Mrs.KiranBir Sethi, who is an icon in the Indian Education space. All these experiences have also developed a lot of soft skills in me as an individual. In every sense, the programme has in fact surpassed my expectations.
How did you generate interest in Finance when the course had variety of options to explore?
I got interested in Finance from a very young age. In hindsight, I find it to be a natural outcome of my upbringing. I grew up in a business family, which is incidentally Marwari. It might sound funny, but the truth is that in traditional Marwari families, children are taught the value of money and the importance of savings and investments when they have still not reached their teens. I fondly remember that I had won some cash prize of Rs. 5000 when I was 11 and instead of letting me spend it, my mother convinced me on how I should buy something that grows in value (essentially an investment- and she ended buying a Gold chain for me from that money and some more she must have added!). In fact, all through my senior years in school, I actually helped my father in preparation of the annual accounts of the business and visited bank more often than a mall. So by the time I graduated from school, I loved it so much that I knew I just had to do something to do with finance.You could say it’s more like part of my DNA, it is what I am.
Tell us something about your experience in a social internship at the end of third year?
As I mentioned earlier, I worked with the global team of Design for Change, an NGO that believes in the simple theory of ‘Every child can’.As a part of this internship, I developed an overall economic & financial model and pitched sponsorship decks to organizations like the Aditya Birla Group, overlooked the on-field project ‘Niswarth’ of students from Phillips Academy, Andover USA & tested pedagogical instruments. We curated an event ‘I CAN Awards 2014’,as a part of which we invited and felicitated young change makers from 20 countries & celebrities like Rahul Dravid & Rahul Bose joined us. The event took place in Ahmedabad on 22nd November.
Working closely with the CEO Mrs.Sethi and meeting legends likeMr. Rahul Dravid & Mr.Geet Sethi were experiences that I can never forget and changed the way I look at things. They have reinforced the importance of service, humility and ethics and I am a much better individual now.
What are your aspirations post IIM I… job or further education?
I do plan to pursue further education, a specialization in finance or economics, but not immediately after IPM. I think some years of work experience is going to help me understand and put things in better perspective, thus enriching learning experience when I pursue any Masters or Doctoral programme in future. Additionally, I am also exploring the option of taking either the CFA or the FRM certification while still doing a job. For now I am waiting to plunge in the realm of investment banking during my summer internship.
Describe your achievement after reaching the Top 30 at Manthan
My team had proposed a project on malnutrition that was adjudged as National Top 30 in Manthan, largest competition on solving problems of India. As a part of the competitions we made presentations to jury including Prime Minister Narendra Modi (then CM of Gujarat), Arun Jaitley, Ravishankar Prasad & Dr.ManoharPai. These leaders are deemed to be the most visionary leaders and the moment created during the presentation is one of the best that I have had in my life. I shall always be grateful to IPM course and IIM I for giving me an exposure to such a great opportunity.
What has been the most important thing that IIM I has taught you?
IIM Indore has given me a very broad world view. Very often while looking at situations and problems, we get into compartmentalized thinking, neither fully understanding nor appreciating the fact that there could be multiple approaches to handling the same issue. We are trained to find the one right fit or solution to deal with the subject in concern. But we often forget that situations and people aren’t like mathematics and that human element is not rational all the time. Emotional Quotient is just as important as Intelligence Quotient and there is no one right answer to a problem. What essentially matters in life is the right approach.
PS: IPM (Integrated Programme in Management is a 5 year course that is offered at IIM Indore). As a part of the course the participants are versed with various subjects ranging from liberal sciences to core technical subjects involving computer coding, management studies to psychology. After three years, the IPM participants take up the same curriculum pattern as that of PGP participant.
Barleen Kaur is currently pursuing her second year PGDM at IIM Indore (Class of 2015). She did her B.Tech degree from GGS Indraprastha University in Computer Science and Engineering and worked as a training manager at a consulting company and also started a coaching center. She has a strong affinity for writing and is an avid orator.
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