In highly unlikely circumstances I find myself away from my kingdom, IIM Ranchi, finding a PG, here in this tremendously hot Hyderabad afternoon on the 2nd of April 2017.
Kudos to my friend from school days, who works for Deloitte too, for suggesting me a place, where I got a bargain in my first try.
Like Indian military code for being first time right, I relied on strong honest Intel, knew only the name of the place suggested, headed directly to it, and moved in. No hopping around that too with everything that I wanted with a discount. Boom.
A lavish, fully furnished room, with more amenities than I wished for. Although I didn’t see much of that place in my time there. Came there just to sleep and dress up.
The first week was crazy fun with Deloitte’s W2D, in which I met Danger Dongri, Workaholic maidan and Ashu Hyderabad, the MDI gang, all living in the same locality. The project allotted to me was bang-on. Alumni relations strategy, stuff related to employer branding, exactly what I had prepared and pitched for in the interview. I gulped this down as a pill of motivation. I had justified my background in terms of my work in the Visual Branding and Content Body (short tenure) at IIM Ranchi , about the campaigns I had pitched for along with how I had planned to implement them, and how it didn’t catch steam. Lol. Honesty can take you down some time, but my dad says it pays in the long term.
But anyway, I got to meet my buddy Hazel and mentor Anka. Anka was way senior while hazel was a little less senior, but both of them were decades ahead in terms of professional experience and of life.
After brief introductions and sneak peaks into each other lives, the team was formed.
Although both of them were way smarter, I did realise the importance of this opportunity to learn from these two heavyweights and try to absorb their years worth of holistic perspectives and experience, which mind you has evolved on principles of rapid prototyping from design thinking.
A team was formed, gradually, and I didn’t notice the gears coming together.
But eventually, it dawned upon me when Anka appreciated our efforts as a team by using the word ‘team’, during a weekly check in, in the third week.
That day on my way home I played that word ‘team’ a lot in my head. It reverberated time and again and finally got stuck.
The patience of Anka with regards to an intern (read me), was something which left me astonished completely, poise and calm defined her, all this combined with her ability to keep the team motivated is one chapter from my Deloitte diary, I can surely take a lot of notes from.
Now it was about loyalty, and living up to their standards for the coming 5 weeks. That’s when I decided to go hunting with all my magazines loaded because also by that time, the going was tough, the direction of the project was hazy, amplified by the information and exposure overload. ‘Sense-making’, according to my OSD professor, hadn’t happened.
My mind had completed a thousand failed simulations to attest a tag of understanding, to this slightly different environment.
Mid-review happened, it was way worse.
I was either stuttering or rapping syllables. Nothing in the middle. Binary. For the first in life I wrote a script for a 7 min presentation, achieved all the goals, in fact, we were a little ahead on goals, and practised like crazy, timing myself every time, I still managed to chuck it up by pure anxiety. The worst presentation I’ve ever given.
In the words of Ozzy man (Edit:1 Check out his YouTube channel btw)….
In the words of Ozzy man, ‘You had just one job, not to chuck it up and stil, you managed to do it, in spite of having a lead…’
Decided to get the ‘sense making’ done, of the feed backs I’ve got.
On a weekend, it happened!!
Tadaaaaa.., the idea came, again, but this time it was a biggie!
I opened the excel, listed my problems, collated from the pensieve, I call the whiteboard, I happened to see a table, and it essentially did what it was designed to do, get you to fall in love with its logic, eventually helping me solve my own problem.
By the time I finished, I was looking for names of the pseudo framework I had created. Although I understood it needed iterations and a couple of rethink sessions, to attain perfection. But it could help you visualize the problem in a better way, for sure, by a mile. That too in a field, which is greenfield to India. Alumni relations.
The last piece of the jigsaw made me see the whole picture finally. After which I had to understand it and deliver.
The weeks which followed were a little bumpy scattered in the midst of course corrections alerted by ‘Achtungs! ‘, more by Hazel but intently by Anka, but I could see them stretching beyond of what is expected from them, running 15 hour workdays and 6 day weeks, just to help me see the bigger picture and prepare me robustly, not only for the project presentation but also for my life ahead.
A person who, I don’t know how, recognized the hidden ‘explorer’ in me in such short meetings and interactions, asked me about the learnings I’ve had in this project so far, I could not tell her, at that moment, that I have an excel full of it.
Doing away with specific stuff, theoretical, power of Nps and all the other frameworks I used, read, developed from scratch or discarded, the one thing I would rate above them all, would be my new found ability to use technology to complement my pace and knowledge. Hazel has a huge part to play in this. Along with the structured perspective I have now, in terms of looking at the big picture and adding the long term perspective to business problems along with the short term one, I already had. I’ve learnt to focus and concentrate my efforts a little more to find answers to pressing problems.
Final review happened, I don’t know whether it was good or bad. But I was happy, compared to my mid review I’d come a long way in terms of understanding, structuring and delivering a presentation. At the cost of modesty, I really enjoyed working on this and the panel seemed equally enthusiastic about my recommendations.
And I admit my presentations will never be the same. Thank you Deloitte.
Lessons were noted.
Fingers were crossed,
and leaps of faith were taken.
What will be shall be.
In some distant years,
it’ll all be a memory.
Breaking the monotony,
Rigid with hope,
where obsession is a necessity,
Learn instantly and cope.
Could it be?
Or should it be?
Or is it back to the good old monotony.
Is what is left to think of.
About the Author:
Ripudaman Singh Chauhan is from the PGDHRM 2016-18 batch of IIM Ranchi.