Remember the famous dialogue from 3 Idiots - "When a friend flunks a test (fails an exam) you feel bad; but when s/he tops the test (and you receive mediocre scores), you feel even worse!." Something many a b-school student may have experienced for sure! Which is why Prashant Mishra, featured as InsideIIM's Best 50 - one of India's Most Employable Graduates is unique. Because during placement season, despite being placed in his first interview, Prashant chose to work with peers and batchmates in order to train them and help them bag an offer! Check out what motivated Prashant to be so selfless in this article!
The following is Prashant Mishra’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, Prashant’s story and profile stood out. Here's his own story in his own words.
“My name is Prashant Mishra and I am from Faridabad. I have a work experience of 22 months in the product development function of Truck & Bus division, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. I have done my B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering from NIT Kurukshetra and an MBA from MDI Gurgaon, where I shouldered many responsibilities along with academics. Having grown up in a family where my father was in Indian Air Force, I have traveled and stayed in 7 different cities in my life which also made me understand various cultures. Also, I have been a consistent academic performer with many achievements to my name. Apart from academics, I have been involved in event management, sports and various other leadership roles.”
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 joined Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. in August 2016 after completing my graduation. In my first month itself, I was asked to work on the project “Conversion of Right hand driven vehicle to left hand driven by incorporating a minimum number of changes”. Earlier I thought it was not a live project and has been given to me just for learning purposes. I wanted to work on that project so much that I had gone to my boss requesting for that project to which he replied that a fresher can't be entrusted with such an important and tedious project. But in a week, I came to know that it was a live and ambitious project by Mahindra which aimed to increase the outreach to the exports market by introducing left hand drive models. Being a fresher just out of college, it was a pretty big responsibility for me. But I accepted the challenge and formulated a plan for on time delivery of the project. I started the designing of the vehicle on CAD modelling software and completed the prototype design in just two months. But the real challenge still awaited which was to complete the prototype build as per the intended design.My team and I worked tirelessly for two straight days without giving much thought to sleep and food. Finally we completed the proto build which afterwards was evaluated by senior leadership and we were praised a lot, especially me, for executing a successful project in the first year of work.
This itinerary of the project involved strict schedules for deliverance at every point which we managed to adhere to. This had put on us a huge pressure but we tried to manage every problem we encountered along the way.”
When was the last time someone relied on you? OR What did you do which was purely for someone else - a truly selfless act.
“During the final placements in my institute, MDI Gurgaon, I got placed on the first day and I was very happy but seeing my batchmates and my friends failing in interviews and GDs made the happiness fade away. Just hours after my placement, people started asking me for tips and suggestions for interviews but I had always believed that being your true self was the key to success. But this alone obviously couldn't guarantee your success. I started training my batch-mates who wanted and needed the help, day and night. I used to be part of their process and at every step would be there to help them, bringing them eatables, water and everything and guiding them before each interview. After people started clearing interviews my morale was at its peak. People started relying on my suggestions and used to incorporate those tips in their interviews. I had never seen someone relying on my tips to this extent. In spite of getting placed in the first company, I didn't have a good night's sleep till my batch-mates were placed. I never made them feel that I was already placed. This was one of those moments where I forgot completely about me and all that mattered was my friends succeed as soon as possible.”
Tell us about a time when you disagreed with an opinion/idea/decision. What did you do about it?
“When I became a part of the placement committee in NIT Kurukshetra, my institute was having the rule where a person can sit for multiple placements with just a difference of 1 lakh in the CTC which sounded absurd to me. Since, I have seen many of my seniors having multiple job offers in equally good companies with comparable CTCs, I was reminded of those seniors who went jobless after completing 4 years of engineering. When I proposed the idea of "One person one job" obviously there was a huge backlash from my teammates since the placement committee consisted of really good students who could bag multiple offers and there were multiple arguments about lacking meritocracy in the new idea. But, you cannot always look from a meritocracy point of view. For me, it was more important to get everyone placed rather than few brilliant students bagging all the good offers. The old regime was also deteriorating our relationships with recruiters since students having multiple offers joined only one company and every year some companies blacklisted our institute for placements. Finally, we put down our thoughts to our placement head and after many meetings, we were able to get the new idea implemented. Today also, NIT Kurukshetra follows the new idea I had stood firm for, with more than 80% of my team opposing me.”
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?
“I have some expertise in Rubik's cube which also happens to be my favorite pastime. I started to solve it by arranging one single face and then I started liking this. I studied some algorithms and derived some of my own shortcuts. From an average time of 9 minutes I reached to my personal best of 19 seconds. Solving under a minute itself seemed to be an unimaginable task for me and I used to call those people god-gifted. Bt all it needed was devotion of hours and dedication.
Other than this, I also play badminton and have represented both my alma maters (NIT Kurukshetra & MDI Gurgaon) in singles, doubles and mixed doubles on various levels.”
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?
“If 10 million dollars is given to me, firstly I would like to make some allocations. I would use 4 million to open and run a school in a village in Bihar with minimal fees and good facilities and qualified teachers. This has been my father's dream for quite a long time and not a day goes by where he doesn't formulate strategy to do it, post his retirement. I would willingly donate 20% i.e. 2 million dollars needing no recognition for the act. I would use 2 million dollars for my investment and personal purposes which is more than sufficient. In addition to this, I would donate half a million each to alumni associations of both my alma maters (NIT Kurukshetra and MDI Gurgaon) where the funds can find optimum use. I would also donate half million to "Shiksha" club of NIT Kurukshetra which undertakes teaching underprivileged kids for free. The last half million dollars I would donate to the Samaritans club of MDI Gurgaon which also takes care of underprivileged children and their education.
For me this allocation would not only fulfill my personal desire but also provide me immense satisfaction in helping the society.”
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