Life is uncertain. So is the trajectory of your career. You might think that you are made for marketing, operations, finance, consulting and other management roles. But as you slowly start moving towards your placement or second or third job things start changing, your interests start changing. So, how do you navigate your career in this sea of uncertainty? Get your answer from Swati Karle, AVP - Digital Journey, IDFC First Bank and SPJIMR, Mumbai Alum MBA - Operations, Batch of 2011-13. Read this article, to get inspired and learn from her experience and make an informed career decision.
Question: what were your inclinations before joining your b school?
Answer: MBA was not a planned decision at that point of time. I have planned for my masters in computer science. At the last minute, I decided against it. Then I took a job Senior software engineer, Accenture. After I took a job, it was clear that I had to do a technical degree for post-graduation, I was not keen on pursuing it in India. So, I shifted my thoughts towards getting an MBA. After 3 years of working, I got through SP Jain. I was clear though that I wanted a Tier 1 college, otherwise, I would continue working.
Question: Your specialization was Operations and SCM, were you associated with it in your job before your MBA as well?
Answer: Not really. I had done computer science. So, I was a developer. However, I was working with an ERP application. ERP application helps companies to improve their efficiency. It aroused my interest, so I decided to explore Operations Management.
Question: Where did you do your summer internship?
Answer: I interned with Cummins. The factory that I was associated with used to refurbish used engines. For them, raw material was old engines. However, procuring that from the distributors was bit of a challenge. They wanted to streamline the procurement by getting the visibility of all their dealers across India and what is the capacity of old engines that they have with them. So, they wanted software to be made that would ease their tracking. I sort of made a POC, using macros in excel of their 60 odd dealers, some 60 all over India, their inventory etc.
Question: By the end of your MBA, were you able to figure out a career path for yourself?
Question: Take us through a typical day, which are the things you oversee on a day to day basis
Answer: I have recently changed my organization and it has been three weeks. Before this I was working with ICICI securities, I was the project manager for equities. My KRA was to increase the number of customers transacting inequities. Customers were already inquiring about how to increase their ticket size, that is the amount they are investing in the market. All my activities on a day-to-day basis were driven to achieve these metal matrices. I had three people reporting to me who used to then take care of the individual products which were then under me. All the activities which we did were - online marketing, taking customer feedback and improving pricing, improving proposition, etc.
Question: Please describe your first role after your MBA trajectory.
Answer: In Reliance, for the first 2 years, I was more of a project manager for the software that they were implementing. For the next 1 ½ years I was a project manager in their e-commerce projects.
Question: How did you decide that you don’t want a core operations role and you might want a project manager kind of a role?
Answer: In the starting of your career, you may not get what you want or you have different ideas about what you want. But then as you start taking up things your profile starts building in that particular direction. My dream was to do supply chain management in a company. But, it didn’t work out.
Since I was from a technical background my profile started to build towards that project manager role and people saw an alignment there.
Question: something else you want to tell someone who is doing an MBA.
Answer: We have our own interpretation of what our role be like. But that interpretation is not always true. Hence, it is important to speak to people who are already working in a similar role after their MBA’s. Talk to them and understand what the role entails. That would help you assess or make a decision about what you want. Very few people will have a clear idea about what they want to do. It is usually what your peers are doing. If the majority of your peers are doing consulting, then you would want to do consulting as well.
When you are making a career decision, money should be the last thing you need to consider. If you’re doing your MBA from a tier 1 college you command that respect as you grow. What is important is getting the right exposure. You should not choose a company basis on how much they are paying, but whether that opportunity excites you or not. Again it will seem exciting to you only when you do a thorough check about what the opportunity entails, what that role is, and what would you have to do on a daily basis. That is why people say, that one should do an MBA after work ex. When you are a fresher, you have no understanding of how companies work at all.