As an introvert. Jason Cardozo failed. At networking. Once he realised his failure though, he decided to tackle the challenge head on. He decided to learn by practice. And today, while he's still practising, this MDI Gurgaon graduate managed to organise events and music fests in college! Whether it be his mindset to face his shortcomings, or his ability to understand the nuances of mis-communication, Jason proves that he's eligible to be featured as InsideIIM's Best 50 - The Most Employable Graduates of the Class of 2018-20! Read on to find out just why!
The following is Jason Cardozo’s set of responses to a questionnaire floated amongst MBA graduates to determine the top-50 most employable MBA graduates of the Class of 2020. Amongst the massive number of entries and responses being evaluated by the Founder of InsideIIM-Kampus Konversations, Jason’s story and profile stood out. Here's his own story in his own words.
“My life has been composed of various stints. Having been born in Mumbai, I flew off to pursue my schooling in Dubai, followed by mechanical engineering from NIT Tiruchirappalli. The work scene followed suit. As part of General Motors, I undertook roles in R&D, manufacturing and aftersales. I then pursued my MBA from MDI Gurgaon. Work aside; I love music, my guitar and piano never being more than 2 feet away. Playing football is something I am passionate about (explains why I’m a goal oriented person). I am highly motivated and dedicated, with outstanding interpersonal skills and a strong work-ethic.
Despite my varied interests in co and extracurricular activities, I have always made it a point not to let any of these act as a trade off with my academic goals and ambitions. I have maintained a strong academic profile throughout and have maintained the same at my MBA college as well. Apart from music, I have achieved several awards for football and painting as well, having captained my college team and winning tournaments, to being part of the arts club of the college.”
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.
“Having always had an analytical mindset, driven by numbers, facts and figures, it came as quite a shock to me that despite the intense hard work and hours put in at my job, I happened to fail at something I overlooked entirely. I failed to network. Networking was anything but my forte, but one that was of vital importance in today's world, and the profession I chose to get into. Networking, I realized was in fact a skill, and like any other skill, such as riding a bike, the only way to get good at it, was to put it into practice. I truly wanted to get better at networking, and it was far from easy.
Being an introvert, I used to tend to stick to myself, often surrounded by my own thoughts. It took a great deal of courage to consciously go up to someone, and start interacting. I realized, the best way to network is to find a common topic which peaks the interest of both parties. To do this, I started reading avidly ! I consciously took the effort to read up on fascinating topics from different industries and sectors, different sports and culture, art and even music.
I even remember creating a list of the people on the office floor, and checking off at least a couple by the end of the week. At first, it all seemed quite unnatural, but slowly I realized how important getting to know people was. It gives you an insight on the way they work, it gives you an opportunity to learn, and even an opportunity to lend a helping hand. By the end of a couple of months, I had broken out of my cocoon; I had spread my net, and interacted and networked with a host of colleagues. And I’m sure, I won’t stop there. Networking was something I wanted to master, and I feel I have managed to drag it into the Venn of my comfort zone.”
When was the last time someone relied on you? OR What did you do which was purely for someone else - a truly selfless act.
“Being a footballer, having your teammates rely on you to perform, is all but a given, and likewise, in the corporate world, I’ve come to work under the pretext that my colleagues, my boss or my subordinates all rely on me. Having said that, there were a couple of instances, where people have greatly relied on me to deliver, and fortunately, I did not let them down.
There was an incident, wherein I was given a very daunting project which I had to complete within a time frame of 3 months, at the end of which, a global representative head from the US would come review it, and it would deeply impact the assessment of the entire department.
I felt thrilled at first to be the one chosen to represent the department, but it also came with the pressure to deliver.
The project involved software, tools and algorithms that I had never worked with before. It was a struggle at first, with a lot of algorithms difficult to comprehend. It took nearly a good two months to finally present my first successful case. With hardly a month left to go, I started to feel the heat. I worked day and night to make sure I completed the project and exceeded expectations. I was supposed to provide a metric ratio of at least 75%.
When the global head arrived, I presented to him on behalf of the department, and he was thrilled with the work I had done. It was truly gratifying to be appreciated by such a leader, and all the work undertaken under pressure seemed to finally pay off. My direct manager and the head of the department were also very pleased with my work. I ended up producing a metric ratio of around 86% during the live case presentation, and surpassed both mine and their expectations. My team relied on me, and I made sure I didn’t let them down.”
Tell us about a time when you disagreed with an opinion/idea/decision. What did you do about it?
“Conflicts are an inevitable part and parcel of team work. The approach to resolving a conflict is for the individuals of a team to take a step back and view the arguments from each other’s perspectives and communicate those grievances in the appropriate way.
An example of the same was while working, I had a superior who disagreed with my idea of implementing an algorithm. I would try explaining the concept to him but he was adamant that what I did was not the right approach. Rather than being defensive at first, I took a step back. I decided to take a day and review my work again, and once I was certain that I did my work right, only then did I attempt to try and explain that to him as well. I did so quite tactfully. I sat with him the next day and asked him his view on the topic and which part of the algorithm he found wrong. It took a lot of patience and persistence to convince him gently that he had misunderstood the algorithm, but we finally did come to an understanding. Patience, communication and humility are the key to going about such opinion dilemmas. Conflicts are only as grave as the way they are miscommunicated.”
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 have always striven to excel at whatever activity I undertake, be it academics, the stroke of a paintbrush, the striking of a chord, or a shot at goal. Painting, music and football have always been a part of who I am, apart from being academically inclined. Among these, music has always been one to creep a step higher than the rest.
When it comes to music, I am constantly learning. Up until now, I have learned to play a variety of instruments, specializing at the guitar and piano, while also playing the Ukulele, Djembe, Harmonica and the Cajon. Despite starting to learn at a later age, I happened to quickly grasp, and have honed my skills along the way. I have also given a couple of examinations with the Trinity College of music, which cemented my knowledge in both the practical, as well as theory of music. For me music is a means of expressing myself, a meditation of sorts, which brings joy to both me, as well as my listeners. I also love to sing, specializing in backing harmonies, and have constantly strived to learn new techniques, new songs, as well as auxiliary learning such as sound mixing, editing, lighting and production.
I was also the senior POC for the music troupe of my MBA College, having participated and won in various b-school music fests, also having performed, coordinated and organized shows and workshops on campus. I have also started a page for students of our college to showcase their musical talent. Music has taught me the value of practice, patience, and working in harmony in order to create, and these are some of the skills I feel fit very well in the corporate scenario as well.”
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?
“With 75 crore in my pocket, as a finance minor, I would diversify!
The first 10 crore I would invest in a business proposal of mine I had developed which looks to combat unemployment in the country by providing a sustainable source of income. The solution: Community Production Centers (CPCs) that specialize in manufacturing of safety pins and also includes the sales both online and offline. The benefits of this is that the product has wide domestic applications, is easy to produce (simple spring mechanism and cap), small investment required, online and offline sales opportunity and profitability. Apart from safety pins, the company can later diversify into other value added products such as paper clips, barbed wire production etc. Even if the money was not provided (hypothetically), another work around would be for the machines to be loaned from the steel company (say a rate of 12%).
Another dream of mine which would benefit not just me, but others as well, is to establish a music recording label. This company would provide artists a platform to record content, and to share them with the world. This recording label could then diversify into recruiting and scouting talent at a young age, and helping them grow and make it big in the music industry. A similar music industry is prevalent in Korea. This would cost around another 30 to 35 crore rupees.
Apart from these two proposals, the remaining 30 crores I would invest in a schooling project in the backward regions of our country. Education was a privilege I was lucky enough to have, but instead it should be the right rather than privilege such that every student has access to education.”
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