Most of us believe that MBA is all about studying a whole lot of subjects and upgrading ourselves by developing a number of skills. Also, most of us are run by the concept of I, Me and Myself, and therefore just focus our own knowledge and progress. But Darpan Saxena, a student of IIM Udaipur, does not only work towards his dreams but is also working day and night to help the marketing enthusiasts and budding marketers in understanding marketing in an easy and interactive manner. He is doing this through his blog named Super Heuristics. Here is a candid interview with our in-campus marketer and blogger to find out what he has to say about his love for marketing and his journey with his entrepreneurial venture.
Tell us a little bit about your education and professional background before entering IIM Udaipur. What brought you to MBA?
I have been a marketer by profession and an engineer by qualification. I worked at CL Educate Ltd. in a product management role at their Head Office in Delhi. There I oversaw the complete lifecycle of all the MBA and Law test preparation products.
In those two years of my time there, I brought together multiple teams to create three new products that generated over ₹2 crores of business. I specialize in online marketing and had brought about a triple-digit growth rate in online sales by implementing efficient sales funnels. In fact, I have all of my work documented in a research paper that I wrote which was eventually published at IIM Calcutta in 2016.
Pursuing MBA came across as an opportunity for me to get a formal education in business. At the same time, it brought with it the chance to build a lasting and a rich network. The skills that I possess, complemented with business knowledge, would have taken my career far ahead, and that is what made me choose MBA as the next step.
What is Super Heuristics?
I started Super Heuristics as Marketing Strategy blog back in February 2018. Today, it is a growing community of 5000+ Marketing enthusiasts from across B-Schools. My objective behind this blog is to help MBA students learn Marketing in a better and more interesting way.
If you are an MBA student or an entrepreneur and if you wish to learn the basics of Marketing or the real-world application of the concepts that you have learned in your class then Super Heuristics is the best place you should be at.
I have written three books on Marketing. One of them, the Marketing Flashbook, is to help students revise the important marketing concepts for the interviews and exams. Another one is a detailed book on How to analyse Marketing Case Studies.
I love to write and share knowledge.
What made you start Super Heuristics and take the entrepreneurial route?
I am a practitioner and learner of Marketing myself. I realized that my work experience before MBA had left me with a lot of practical knowledge of Marketing. I wanted to share that.
Also, during my first year in MBA, I realized that a formal education in Marketing really does a good job in sowing the basic seeds of marketing in you. No doubt. But it does leave out gaps between theory and practice which is for you to go out and fill it yourself.
You can really feel this gap yourself when during the summer placements you realize that the marketing skills you possess fall behind what the industry really needs.
On the other side, if you search Google for the term Marketing, all you will see is results for Digital Marketing and not really for the core/traditional marketing concepts.
So where do people go if they wish to read about Marketing, beyond the books? That got me to start Super Heuristics.
How has Super Heuristics been received by the students?
I have received a thunderous response which really came in as a surprise as to how early it came. There are 5000 people who are now a part of this growing community. These are students from across the IIMs and other great B-Schools like XLRI, MDI Gurgaon and SP Jain.
One of my friends at one of the prestigious old IIMs sent me a WhatsApp screenshot the other day showing how their Preparation Committee had floated my Marketing Flashbook as a help for preparation for their summer placements.
I have received emails from numerous students across B-Schools appreciating the books and the articles. It feels great that the things that I create are helping so many people in such a big way.
What are some of the challenges you faced while taking the entrepreneur route?
I run and manage this blog all by myself. So, I do everything - from managing the technical part of having the blog up and running glitch free to doing keyword research for SEO to writing content and to finally marketing the content through paid and organic channels. And therefore, managing my time well along with my own studies is certainly a challenge. But then time management is not the most challenging thing that there is.
In the kind of writing that I do, I always research the topic after I have written the article myself so that whatever I read on the internet doesn’t bias my ideas. Otherwise, you end up writing the exact same thing that everyone else is writing.
This requires me to be in that mood or that frame of mind where I can dig deep into my mind and bring out ideas to write from scratch. And I think this has proved to be the toughest part.
But I am not complaining. Because that is also the most beautiful part of what I am doing.
Are there any learnings that you like to share from this journey so far?
There are learnings and in fact many of them. I have come a long way in sharpening SEO and Digital Marketing skills thanks to the fact that I applied all those skills on my blog.
For instance, I aced Facebook Paid Ads when I generated leads at as low as ₹6.50 for my Marketing Flashbook. This is in the context where the industry average stands at around ₹30 per lead.
Apart from that, many of my blog posts are on page 1 on Google and it happens with a few weeks of when I publish the post. I have strengthened my skill in SEO to that extent thanks to my blog.
A more intangible yet crucial learning is that I learned about the fruits of persistence. When you keep doing something you get pretty good at it and then you start seeing it reap all the benefits of the hard work you did for it.
How has IIMU helped you take this plunge?
The first thing that I would like to thank IIMU will be for providing me such a conducive environment to actually carry out this idea for a year now. In the sense that, the pedagogy at IIM Udaipur is designed with so much thought that it leaves you with ample time to pursue your interests.
Apart from that, for my sixth them, I have opted for 4 credits of Course of Independent Study (CIS) which allows students to pursue any topic that they wish to study under the mentorship of a faculty of the same field.
For my CIS, I will be working on learning more of Marketing with Super Heuristics as a live product to test my learnings on.
Your message for budding entrepreneurs?
I am a part of the entrepreneurship cell of IIM Udaipur as well. Based on what I have seen and what I have experienced from my journey, I have the following pieces of advice:
- Persistence is the key - Back in March, I was writing 3 articles per week when I have virtually no traffic at all on my blog! But, today, all of that adds up and it leads to a compounding effect.
- Be ready to take feedback – Be ready to take feedback and change your direction if need be.
- Get a schedule in place – If you are thinking about starting out then find that time, get on the ground and ‘put pen to paper’.
Darpan’s books on Marketing:
Marketing Flashbook - Download Now
How to Analyze Marketing Case Study - Download Now