‘MBA For Me Has Been A Microcosm Of What Life Entails Ahead’ – Udit Bhatia – Best50 – Class Of 2017

About Me

Treading on the insipid yet revered conventional path of engineering followed by an IT stint followed by an MBA, I didn’t really feel that I can move against the odds in this unrelenting rat race. But then, all along this conventional path, I tried to be the best I could, learn the most I could and utilise the resources at my disposal. Be it quizzes, debates, writing, elocutions and now case studies; I have never lost that innate desire to compete and in that tryst, I feel I have made a mark in spite of walking on that tried and tested route.
A voracious reader, an avid blogger and a technology enthusiast, my mantra in life would be, be the best you can in whatever you do. Aim high. Stay humble.

A voracious reader, an avid blogger and a technology enthusiast, my mantra in life would be, be the best you can in whatever you do. Aim high. Stay humble.

My MBA journey at Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (Kolkata Campus) has been an eye-opener with a great learning curve both from a personal as well as professional perspective. The rigour at IIFT gave me an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of brightest minds in the country and learn from a diverse cohort. The biggest motivation to do well arose because of the competitive environment I was subjected to and to justify the brand IIFT has built over years. I have had the privilege of serving IIFT’s Student Council (IMF) in the capacity of Joint Media Coordinator; being the National Winner in corporate competitions like HCL Ace and ShopClues Case Challenge and winning B-school competitions at premier institutes like IIM Lucknow, IIM Raipur, Delhi School of Economics and IIT Kharagpur. In these last few weeks of my MBA, I am trying to hone my table tennis skills and exploring the city.

If you had a magic wand, what is the one problem in India that you would magically wish away? Explain why.

“Cogito ergo sum”

If granted a wish I would love to transform the education ecosystem in India. The reasons are aplenty. Firstly, if we do a cross-sectional analysis of our contemporary society, there are several sects and geographies where education is still not considered necessary for a dignified life. There is a lot of emphasis on earning money via training rather than self-independence through education. So, I would like to chart out a short-term roadmap that would:

1. Incentivise the citizens who encourage 100% literacy rate in their families from tier 2 and rural clusters.

2. Make elementary education free.

3. The pedigree of education in the country is dismal. Not just the infrastructure but also the quality of teaching staff. So, a thorough competency assessment in needed for the teachers too in order to ensure quality and relevant education imparted to the pupils.

The long-term aim will be on tertiary education. This will entail the following:

1. Once a student reaches 16 years of age, he/she needs guidance regarding the domains where a career can be envisioned. So, I shall make a skill assessment and counselling platform where students will get expert guidance on whether they should go for Science/Commerce/ Medicine based on their existing skills and aptitude. This will ensure unnecessary burdens on engineering colleges/medicine schools where the herd mentality persists.

2. There shall be sessions to teach the students how to think rather than what to think. The reason is that in India, there’s a lot of emphasis on rote learning and cramming facts. There is hardly any application. This results in low employability indices and thus unemployment. So, the education system itself needs transformation with business and education separated. The commercialisation of education needs to stop.

3. Strict regulations regarding accreditation of engineering colleges/ b-schools and medical institutions. The plethora of such lower rung private colleges mushrooming in educational hubs and misleading students and parents is something that has become a grave concern. There should be transparency and as less as bureaucracy as possible in the process. Only the institutions that clear all the stipulated parameters should be granted the license to run.

India does not have 1 hospital bed per 1000 persons. It is much below WHO’s average of 5. If you were the prime minister of the country, how would you solve this problem?

 As a PM of the country I would undertake the below-mentioned initiatives:

1. Improvement in primary healthcare facilities at the village level. This will involve in training “health educators” to will create awareness about prevention of minor ailments and provide basic facility to the patients. Also empowerment of the nursing and paramedical staff, Aanganwadi staff under skill India initiative.

2. Mobile clinics in tier 1 and tier 2 cities to reduce the burden on metro hospitals like AIIMS etc.

3. Increase in the percentage of GDP towards healthcare sector to aid in R&D for more modern and world class facilities.

4. The current ecosystem contains only allopathic treatment, but as a PM with the collaboration of Ministry of Health and Aayush, I will promote Ayurveda as an alternative channel and create a policy that emancipates vaidyas in cities so that other alternative ways of medicine can get limelight.

Give us an instance when you failed and how did you overcome that downfall?

Like all fellow interns, I was eager to perform well during my summer internship. My internship was at an e-commerce unicorn- Shopclues, which was a drastic change from the Fortune 200 organisation where I’d previously worked. My project involved data analytics in order to optimise search campaigns but with no prior knowledge of any data slicing tools, I was flummoxed. For the first two weeks of my 8-week stint, I was not able to give any deliverable to my mentor and felt extremely demotivated and down because at a startup, it is extremely difficult for your co-employees to impart you on the job training.

So, then I understood that I need to pull up my socks if I were to succeed in my internship and started to do an online course on SaaS on Sundays via online learning platforms. In this way, my Sundays were spent learning the tool and then during the week, I used to try the techniques to decipher data. The progress was slow but by the time my stint came to an end I was able to successfully do the optimisation for one of the largest categories at ShopClues.

This effort helped me fetch an appreciation mail from the AVP Marketing at the organisation. I was also awarded a PPI.