I bring to you an inspiring conversation with Mr. Deeganta Dutta, Project Manager - Shiv Nadar Foundation. He is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta.
In this conversation, he shares with me some insights about following one's passion and taking the road less travelled by.
Tanya: Being an IIM Calcutta alumnus, what are the learnings that still impact you?
Deeganta: There are three traits that really matter when it comes to reaching your potential – Knowledge, Skill and Attitude. But everything starts with the last trait.
T: What motivated you to leave the MBA world and join Teach for India?
D: I guess the motivation was always there. My mother who has been an educator all her career has been the single source of inspiration for me to start thinking about entering the education sector. What was needed was just a nudge in the right direction. I had been working for almost 6 years when I felt that I had reached a plateau in terms of my learnings or the challenges that I was facing. Teach for India’s fellowship presented me with an opportunity to experience some really new and different challenges and learnings.
T: What was the biggest challenge you faced during this time?
D: I think the toughest challenge that I had to face was the adjustments that I had to make in my lifestyle to match the new financial condition. The biggest trade-off for me in this transition was letting go of my very comfortable private firm salary.
T: Tell us about your work as a Project Manager in Shiv Nadar Foundation and how has the journey been so far?
D: My work here at the Shiv Nadar Foundation is very unique. It is very rare that a regular job position turns out to be tailor-made for someone. As a Projects Manager, I am responsible for the end to end management of cross academic projects. I work on designing the project concept and the key objectives that we want to achieve followed by creating a clear implantation strategy and an execution timeline for the associated teams/individuals who will be involved in delivering the project outcomes.
My journey so far has been quite spectacular. In the past three years of my association with the foundation, I have had the opportunity to work with three very unique entities of the foundation – The VidyaGyan Leadership Academy, The Shiv Nadar School and the Shiv Nadar University. I am currently working on projects that span both the Shiv Nadar Schools and the University.
T: If you had to give one piece of advice to any professional, what would it be?
D: I am a huge advocate of social immersion and engagement, and my advice is that every person engaged in a white-collar career, should at least once, for at least 1-2 years commit to a full-time social engagement. The experience that one gets to live through is transformative and really helps in determining where your passion truly lies.