Interview With Gaurav Mahapatra – A Research Analyst At Nielsen India And An XIMR Alumni

Tell us about your education and professional background.

I come from a defence background, hence did my schooling by moving to a lot of cities. I had an inclination towards automobiles so I pursued Mechanical Engineering from Nagpur University. The very same way most of us take up as an option, and as most of us do, I realised my career interest while doing engineering. I realised that the strategy/business side of the coin is where I can fit in better. So instead of taking it further and getting into some IT firm to confirm the same, I opted out of placements and prepared to get into a MBA course. I got into XIMR and pursued a course in Marketing. While I had a vague plan of getting into market research, I got clarity on the same when I did my internship which was a brand consulting project for a hospital. Nielsen was one of the first companies on campus and I luckily made through. I currently specialize in marketing & brand strategy. I build strategies for client brands across categories like online media and FMCG considering diverse focus areas which impact the purchase intent like brand image, emotional, functional and value aspects of the category.


gaurav pic


Why did you choose XIMR to do your MMS?

I was pursuing my studies from Nagpur and had some points to choose a B-school. The points that XIMR ticked are-

-A good brand name

-Focus on academics

-In the business capital, so close to corporate, which meant better exposure

-Small batch size

-Guest faculties from the industry


What was the impact of XIMR on your career?

People point out big career impacts because of their B-school. For a change, I will point out the small things that XIMR impacted my career. I will answer this also in pointers:

-Better communication skills

-‘Providing solution’ oriented mind-set

-Mental readiness to work for 12-14 hours a day at a stretch.

-Networking – as I was part of the placement cell

-The 3 hours long lecture schedule help you go through the corporate meetings being focused.

And yes, inculcated the habit of taking notes, which I know is a very small thing but helps you big time in the busy corporate life.


Please throw some light on the quality of infrastructure, professors, and industry interface that your B- School has to offer.

XIMR is in the St. Xavier College campus which gives you a special feel every day while you enter the college. It has fully fledged IT lab and a library where you’ll find yourself most of the time.

The professors come from diverse backgrounds. Most of them come from the industry, hence the practical application of any concept is explained in an effective manner.


What are your plans for your future? Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?

I am currently working on brand building and development so I foresee myself in the same area, hoping to handle the branding of a brand in 10 years.


A message for the forthcoming batch of your B-school.

XIMR is a college which elevates your learning curve. Also, make sure you know why you are getting into a B-School and what side of your personality needs polishing. For me, I had handled events, gatherings and had made presentations, hence XIMR fit well in polishing me academically. So if you are getting into a B-School to study, then XIMR is your place. If you feel you need a huge batch size from diverse backgrounds and places, and events round the year, then XIMR is not for you.


As told to Sonali Kapoor


Read more about XIMR here.