Kaptains of Kozhikode – Dr. Arjun A.L. – The Benevolent Doctor
A major chunk of B-School students come from the usual disciplines of engineering & commerce. In such a scenario, getting to know the rationale behind the decision of those rare breeds of lawyers & doctors to opt for an MBA after their highly laborious education & somewhat successful careers never ceases to baffle us. We tried to decipher this by interviewing Dr. Arjun, an MBBS, a philanthropist, a proud blood-donor & currently, a management student IIM Kozhikode. He strongly believes in the philosophy that if you are a blood donor, you are a hero to someone, somewhere, who receives your gracious gift of life. Here’s what he had to say about all this.
1. Medicine is a noble profession. As has been said by someone, giving health to people is closest one can get to God. What do you have to say about this?
Doctors are undoubtedly God’s gift to mankind. You get an opportunity to be the healer, to be the one who helps others get rid of their suffering. It is not just a sheer act of benevolence, but is highly challenging in nature. The course itself is structured in a way that you start with basics of human body & later, scale up to diagnosing & treating some of the most complex diseases. I see it as a blend of an audacious challenge & the will to serve people, which gives one the opportunity to keep learning constantly, become more skilful by the day & eventually, grow as an individual.
2. Education in medicine, like in most of the other countries, is a fairly rigorous programme in India. You not only have to befriend tomes for the rest of your life, but dedicate yourself completely to serving people. What inspired you to take up a challenging course like MBBS & upon its completion, another equally arduous & significantly disparate one- MBA?
I believe that in order to grow, an individual should never stop learning & acquiring new skills. Taking up medicine from a renowned institution like Government Medical College, Kozhikode was instrumental in imparting knowledge which I believe not just made me a good clinician but also gave me the analytical & interpersonal communication skills that significantly influenced my interest & decision to take up a course in management.
I always wanted to pursue public healthcare management. I started off with a project on implementing a national programme to prevent non-communicable diseases in rural Kerala. Within one year, my clinic was chosen to be the best clinic for its impeccable contributions to the village. During the course of my project, I was able to extend my services to 15,000 patients & was able to identify about 1,000 new undiagnosed patients with diabetes & hypertension. Around the same time, I also handled an NGO project that involved screening of infectious diseases like STDs among the migrant labourers in Kozhikode. These two roles were instrumental in dawning in me the realization that my prowess in medicine will definitely influence the health status of people, but its effect can be strengthened further by proper management & execution of projects. This prompted me to pursue a career in healthcare management.
3. According to what is the usual notion, doctors are considered to be poor in subjects that are even remotely related to Mathematics. However, most of the B-school entrance exams in India test one’s quantitative ability to a reasonably large extent. How did you manage to crack one of the toughest entrance exams that exist in India today- CAT? What tips would you like to give doctors like you & other aspirants in general, who’re eyeing admissions in the top B-schools of India this year?
I am of the opinion that CAT tests your basic quantitative ability, something that does not require any hi-fi Mathematics knowledge. I used to practise previous question papers whenever I used to get a breather from work. I believe that for someone who has a basic idea & interest in Mathematics, CAT is a complete cakewalk. I was interested in Mathematics since my school days & used to score decently well. Hence, even after a break of 8 years during my MBBS & job, it was not a bed of thorns for me.
Practising problems & brushing up concepts regularly can give you the confidence & knowledge to nail CAT. Enrolling in national level test modules, analysing your performance every now & then & making the necessary improvements in your weak areas is the right recipe to a successful entrance exam season.
4. Donating blood is equivalent to gifting a few minutes of your lifetime to somebody else. You are involved with the Social Service Group on Kampus & often organize & encourage blood donation. Recently, you received the ‘Best Performer Award’ from SBI for your self-less contribution in their Safe Blood Initiative Programme. What is your motivation behind such altruistic acts?
Social service group of IIM Kozhikode organizes socially significant activities all throughout the year. The committee & its activities are always focussed on bringing improvements in the lives of others & moulding students into socially responsible managers of tomorrow.
The SBI Safe Blood Initiative in association with the blood bank of Government Medical College, Kozhikode & Kerala state AIDS control society was held in Kampus very recently. The quality & the scale of the blood donation camp helped us in receiving the award.
Blood, as you all know, is a non-substitutable agent of our body & can only be replaced by blood from some other individual. Giving half a litre of blood does not affect one’s health adversely, but it can definitely help another individual have a healthy life. These small acts of kindness can bring significantly large improvements in the quality of others’ lives. The satisfaction that you get when you see someone smiling because of your petty activity is the main encouragement that drives me to repeat these acts again & again.
I will continue to do my bit to make this world a better place to live in & would request others to do the same, in whichever small way they can.
FRIENDS SPEAK !
Amrita Saha, Coordinator, Social Service Group, IIM K
SSG is one of the oldest committees on Kampus. It is one of the few committees on kampus that makes sure that people stay rooted to the society while they are busy reaching for the stars. Blood donation is one of the most frequent initiatives undertaken by the committee. There are rampant apprehensions & misgivings among people about the same & SSG tries hard to dispel them. It is great to have a doctor (Dr. Arjun) on your side to bridge the knowledge gap for these people.
Arjun, with his friendly nature & reassuring style is able to instil confidence among those who are initially scared of the idea & inspires them to join the noble cause. He remains instrumental to the outreach of SSG group of IIM Kozhikode & we could not have touched the hearts of so many without his help!
As told to Venu Merh
An Upantya Visharad in Hidustani Sangeet and in Bharatnatyam, Venu has been the epitome of versatility and consistency throughout school and college life. An EC engineer, she was a member of AIESEC & NU Tech where she managed various activities. She is a big Sheldon Cooper fan, loves micro blogging and working for stray animal welfare. She is currently a management student at IIM Kozhikode (Class of 2015).
Twitter handle – @foodasaur