Q1. Hi Surabhi, could you please tell us about your journey to IIM Ranchi
The journey to IIM Ranchi was quite an adventure. I can never forget the moment I decided to do an MBA, it was a kind of epiphany. And once I decided, I never revisited my plan, despite circumstances being discouraging
Q2. You were a CA by profession. What inspired you to take up HR in MBA being CA. Wasn't Finance an obvious option?
That's the question I am most often asked. And the decision to change my profession has been one of the defining moments of my life. Quite a few people criticised my decision, given that my existing job had promising prospects and even for CAs who would go for an MBA, HR has been on nobody's list.
But I honestly never sensed any mismatch between the two specialisations. They are just two aspects of the business. What encouraged me to pursue specialising the people aspect was my observation of people at work. I closely used to watch people's behaviour in my workplace, and at client offices...I realised it's people who give a competitive edge to a business than anything else. I used to watch my own emotions as an employee, and of others, and understand what motivates people, what is perceived as right and wrong by the employee as opposed to the company, where is it that a more human touch in business practices can add value...a sort of inner voice was there that kept on telling me that I belong somewhere else... I finally acknowledged that Human Resources was my calling.
Q3. How was your first year at IIM Ranchi?
Very fulfilling! IIM Ranchi gave wings to my aspirations. It gave me multiple opportunities to pursue things I was passionate about. Unlike Chartered Accountancy, the study never seemed a burden, probably because I liked these subjects more!
Q4. Tell us the secret of topping the college. How did you manage to top in the first year?
Haha! People often ask me that. But they don't believe me when I tell them it was never part of my plan! All I can figure out as a reason is I like to give my best shot to understanding concepts. And I do the same while writing the exam papers.
Q5. Are you part of any club or committee? If yes, which are those?
I was elected to the Student Council of the Institute last year as the representative of the Media & Public Relations Cell. I feel very fortunate to have served my college in that capacity, it's everyday grind taught me lessons that management books can't! Apart from that, I am also grateful to have been selected as the Gender Champion of the Institute and a member of the Counseling Cell. Promoting gender sensitisation and mental well being are two things I feel passionate about. Glad that IIM Ranchi gave me this opportunity!
Q6. This is remarkable. How do you manage the balance among academics, committee work and extracurricular activities?
That's my trade secret ;) Just kidding!
I feel being passionate about something answers everything for you. Be it covering college events during exams or running social media campaigns during the internship or rushing to an urgent counselling request in bad health, if you hold a responsibility sacrosanct, you are intrinsically motivated to find ways to fulfil it. I have never ever compromised on my love for sleep despite all this business!
Q7. What's your advice to the current first-year students of MBA to excel in academics and do well in other activities of MBA too?
My only piece of advice is to learn for the sheer joy of learning, and not for grades.
That will happen when the student sits with a sense of regard for the teacher. So far as allied activities are concerned, holding positions of responsibility does not make you more placeable or better in any other way, unless you choose to take management lessons out of it.
Every entrant into a B-School must decide how he/she can add value to the Institute, if it is through holding PORs, one must remember that they don't have any ornamental value, they will speak for you only if you can own up a significant chunk of value addition to your area of responsibility.