The following is Niloy Mukherjee's set of responses to a questionnaire floated amongst MBA graduates to determine the top-50 most employable MBA graduates of the Class of 2020. Amongst the massive number of entries and responses being evaluated by the Founder of InsideIIM-Kampus Konversations, Niloy's story and profile stood out. Here's his story in his words.
"I was born and brought up in Kolkata, stayed here till I finished my college from Jadavpur University in 2016. 2 years in Bangalore flew by and a further 2 in Kozhikode as I look forward to my next stint in Hyderabad. How do I keep myself busy? Enjoy investing, lot of experience in crypto trading as well. A huge Arsenal fan since 2007, enjoy playing football, table - tennis, Uno, Catan. Second most used app after WhatsApp would be Swiggy."
Name an instance where you wanted something and went out of your comfort zone to achieve it OR Tell us the biggest risk you have taken so far in your life.
I really wanted to study at an IIM. Having given CAT twice in 2015 and 2016, in 2016 I had secured a call from SPJIMR but my percentile was not enough to get any of the IIMs. Was fully geared up for my 3rd attempt but had to undergo major surgery in June 2017 for which I had to take a month of leave from office. Multiple appointments and tests for the operation took up precious post-office preparation time. Apart from the psychological setback, I also had to cope up with a lot of pending workload when I returned to office in July. But I believe in the saying we make our own luck. Working overtime and on weekends to meet my OKRs for annual review and staying up nights doing the same old RCs, LRDIs for the third time, I stayed motivated and hoped for the best. 2018 saw remarkable results, I had managed to singlehandedly deploy a critical ML model for 5 million Samsung phone users across US, Korea and India, got a paper published in a top conference in Paris but most importantly secured admits from SPJIMR and IIM Kozhikode for 2018-20.
When was the last time someone relied on you? OR What did you do which was purely for someone else - a truly selfless act.
It takes me back to 2015-16 when I was working as an academic volunteer and mentor for underprivileged children at Make A Difference. I was helping my student Raja prepare for his NIOS higher secondary exams. Raja's parents were hearing-impaired and he had very little help in academics while growing up. That year Raja was desperate to clear his higher secondary Maths exam having been unsuccessful the previous year. And the last time he had studied Maths was 2012, a 3-year gap, he had dropped the subject in between due to lack of confidence. We worked together day and night, extra classes, heated conversations; dreams and aspirations of a boy who had lived in a shelter home all his life. What seemed like a distant dream gradually turned into an achievable goal after months of effort. He passed the exam successfully that year, it was one of the proudest moments in my entire life.
Tell us about a time when you disagreed with an opinion/idea/decision. What did you do about it?
If you are part of a college committee in B-school, you are bound to run into a mismatch of opinion! Let's talk about the Industry Interaction Cell at IIM-K. Our flagship event is Horizons where speakers from all walks of life come together to share the spirit of management. During the 2019 event, I wanted to invite a famous neonatologist who also happened to be a Padma Bhushan Awardee. However, since her field was very niche my committee fellows were apprehensive of a low-turnout for the event. During these events, we also have food stalls and other engagement activities and student footfall drive that sale as well. So comparatively, inviting a media personality albeit expensive is a sure-shot way of driving footfall which is a huge metric. I still was very hopeful of inviting the neonatologist so we brainstormed and decided to invite students from Kozhikode Medical College as well as NIT Calicut to drive more footfall for that event. The event was a huge success.
What is the one thing you can claim to have some level of expertise or depth of knowledge in - it could be anything - a subject, a sport, a hobby, a venture, an initiative which has led you to do deep work in that field?
Well, I'll never say I'm an expert but I do have a reasonably high level of expertise when it comes to Tech. Often the go-to-guy for any tech-related queries on campus I love giving my two-cents on digital transformation opportunities in any domain. Having had the opportunity to work extensively on Machine Learning, AI during my undergraduate and at Samsung Research, Bangalore leading to multiple international publications, I believe it gave me a reasonably good grasp on the topic. Also, I worked on massive projects in Maps working with Product Managers, Operations teams and built ML models in Python with Staff Software Engineers at Google during my stint as a Program Manager for the summer internship. One of the projects there had a stretch goal and I met it and it impressed the engineer so much he gave me an award for it. That was quite a memorable moment.
If 10 Million Dollars (approximately INR 75 Crores) is given to you to use it any way you deem fit what would you do with this corpus?
Let us break it down. - Keep my future secure. Invest INR 2 crore in Systematic Mutual Funds which will give me a steady INR 120k income per month for 30 years to care of my family. - 73 crore left. Donate 47 crore to support organizations for improving healthcare and education in India. - 26 crore left. Use 25 crores to bootstrap a startup which uses Data Analytics for animal conservation. That should cover expenditures (market research, equipment costs, office rental, insurance, hiring and also advertising and promotional costs for future) plus still keep a lot of working capital for operational expenditures. - 1 crore left. That will go into a brand new Range Rover Velar which comes around 90 lacs and the remaining 10 lacs for a nice foreign trip before I start off with my venture.
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