Learning has no boundaries and it cannot be contained inside a classroom. Classroom learning in b-schools can help you in building hard skills but soft-skills (like communication, connection, etc) are something that you will learn outside - through sports tournaments, b-school competitions, internships and more. At least that is what Rahul Mulekar, Senior Procurement Manager, Condé Nast India, SCMHRD alum (MBA - Operations) of Batch 2011-13 thinks. To know more about his career path and story read here.
This interview is a part of SCMHRD initiative, brought to you by InsideIIM.
Background - Before B-School
- 10th and 12th Boards - Around 80%
- Loves playing Badminton.
- District level Cricket player.
- Mechanical engineer
- 3 years of work ex - Volta's Air Conditioning
- Was part of SCMHRD's football team and TT team
Questions: What kind of activities were you involved in during your B-Schools?
Answer: I was involved in a lot of research projects and took part in a lot of inter-college competitions. My learnings were more from the outside environment than the inside classroom.
I would encourage all students doing their MBA or about to do their MBA, to take part in B-School competitions. You will learn things, that you may not learn in textbooks. Travel as much as you can. Do some live projects. Go and get your hands dirty and learn what is happening on the ground.
Question: Tell us about the Summer internship.
Answer: My internship project was on GST. The GST project was at a dormant stage at that time. My project was actually on consolidation of warehouses. It was in DCM Shriram. I was in Delhi for a month and a month in Kota. I got to know about their number of warehouses. After GST what would be the implications? It gave me a good understanding of GST and warehousing and all.
Questions: Major takeaways.
- I learned how to get along with people.
- I also learned how to get information from people.
- The project is not about learning the hard skills, it's more about learning the soft skills.
- Try to spend maximum time with your team and senior.
Question: By the end of your MBA, were you able to figure out a career path for yourself?
Answer: Yes! I knew I didn't want to go into core operations. I wanted to go into the supply chain - purchase, procurement etc. Eventually, I got into it. I liked those kind of things from the beginning, right from the time I left Voltas. I have made a point to not stay in a single sector. I started my journey from engineering then I moved to oil and gas, and now media.
Question: Take us through a typical day, which are the things you oversee on a day to day basis
Answer: In Condé Nast India I oversee everything from legal, finance, MIS, to analysing data and negotiations. My day starts with people coming to me and telling me what I need to do. I write down all 10 things that I need to do. Those 10 things lead to other 10 things, so in such cases, you will need to prioritize. People will put pressure on you, but at the end of the day, you need to decide what you want to complete today.
Question: Please describe your career trajectory (Designations and responsibilities).
Answer: I started my post-MBA journey with Dodsal E & C Pte Ltd (Oil and Gas company). My career progression in that company was a gradual one. I started with Deputy Manager, to Assistant Manager, to a senior manager. And I learn a lot during my journey. It was only after collecting several years of work experience, I decided to switch.
My suggestion to students is to not jump a lot. Don't run after high post and salaries. Learning from each and every designation that you have and then switch.
Question: Why did you decide to switch industries?
Answer: Change is not always bad. You don't have to stagnate in a particular sector or industry. Learn as much as you can and then leave. For me, being a jack of all trades is better than being a master of one. Thanks to that, I know something about oil & gas, telecom, alcoholic beverages, and now the media publishing industry now.
Question: Organization dynamics must be different from each company you worked for. How were you able to adapt to these changes?
Answer: After my oil and gas industry stint, I worked for Idea and then changed to Budweiser. Idea's work environment was more conservative than Budweiser. Every decision in Budwiser would be taken on the go.
Now I'm in an organization where we plan properly before taking each and every decision. In order to do good in different organisation, you need to be flexible with your management.
Yes, there will be times when you will have to push, in order to get a job done. But, you will learn that on the go. So, don't worry.
Question: Something else you want to tell someone who wants to do an MBA.
Answer: Personally, I think you need to figure out why you want to do an MBA and what are your inclinations. Try to find out what kind of person you are. Are you an analyst or Do you like numbers and figures, then finance or operations can be a right career choice for you. If you are more of a people's person, I would suggest marketing or HR. If you're a creative person, I would encourage you to go into marketing. Analyze who you are, don't' run blindly towards what you like. Maybe you don't have the skillset, but you can develop that skill set.