“A quick learner, a firm decision-maker, a passionate marketer, a prognosticating strategist, a team player, a multi-tasker, a music and art lover, an avid reader, a businesswoman at heart, and a philanthropist. That is me, Ritika Jha.
I take lessons from small things around me. I like observing people and taking inspiration from incidents in their lives. I always pick myself up after a defeat or a rejection. I am bold, I am outspoken, I am straightforward, and I am aware of human emotions. I like to make people feel at home around me. I love helping out people. In my opinion, empathy is not only about feeling sorry for someone by imagining oneself in their shoes, but also about being able to make a difference in their situation. Coming up with short, simple, adequate, and apt solutions is my forte.”
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.
“A pharmacy graduate and the topper of the university (Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences), I was inclined towards research. I wanted to pursue a masters and Ph.D. in the field of pharmaceutical sciences and enter the field of drug designing from Rutgers University or Johns Hopkins School of Pharmacy.
When I was in the third year of my graduation, the financial status of my family suddenly deteriorated, and I realized that my family might not be able to support me, and I might have to look out for an alternate career prospect. Regulatory Affairs, Quality Assurance and Quality Control, Formulation and Development came naturally to me, but I understood my true calling was MBA only after I started spending time reading about start-ups. The stories of Flipkart, Amazon, Netflix, Uber were so amazing and inspiring that it shook up the entrepreneur in me.
I started striking up conversations with people in the management and business space on social media, especially Twitter, where people are very candid about their opinion on various subjects. I interacted with a few IIM Alums and tried to understand what motivated them to take up an MBA. After some analysis and realization about my good business acumen, I took a sharp deflection from scientific research to business studies.
I started preparing for CAT in the final year of my graduation and took my first attempt at CAT in 2015. I scored a meager 88 percentile, but I was not bogged down. After graduation, I joined Merck India Ltd as a sales and marketing representative in 2016 and continued preparing for CAT. The choice of sales over research came as a shock to my colleagues, parents, mentors, and teachers. They tried to persuade me not to indulge in a ‘sales job,’ as according to them, my stint as a ‘sales representative’ was not what is expected from a ‘university topper.’
I refused to let anyone influence me, and I continued to work for 8 hours and study for 6-8 hours on a daily basis. My second attempt at CAT in 2017 took me to IIM Shillong, the batch of 2018-20. Against all the odds, outside my comfort zone, I put a lot of hard work, both at my job and my preparation. Leaving the domain I had a knack for and at which I was excelling immensely and doing an MBA, which gave me so many lessons for life that reconstructed me, is one of the biggest things I have achieved outside my comfort zone..”
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 MBA course at IIM Shillong, I was actively involved in various case competitions, namely, GSK E^3 Case Study Challenge, L&T OutThink Challenge, L’Oréal Sustainability Challenge, NinjaCart Hustle Operations Challenge, Credit Research Challenge by AIWMI, Berger Paints Innovision Challenge, Mahindra War Room, Tata Steel-a-thon, Reliance TUP, Xiaomi Summit. Each of these corporate competitions required long hours of hard work and dedicated teamwork.
Despite being enrolled for the CFA L1 exam in December 2019, I dedicated equal time and divided the work equally on all the projects among the teammates. My team depended on me for brainstorming, coming up with novel ideas, marketing, strategy, and making a presentation. I was always available for the assigned tasks and performed all my jobs. I managed academic coursework, prepared for the CFA exam, and participated and won multiple corporate competitions. My team thoroughly relied on me, and I did my best to keep up their expectations.
I recently turned down a job offer so that it is given out to the people in need. This happened after our course at IIM Shillong was over. This was a selfless act on my part because I understood the needs of people and honoured them above mine.”
Tell us about a time when you disagreed with an opinion/idea/decision. What did you do about it?
“I participated in a corporate competition where I devised an idea to conserve the coral reefs. The idea did not make its way through to the top but I refused to accept defeat. I started working on the idea and have got in touch with a few international and national bodies who have taken the idea very positively and I am planning to get the venture running after the lockdown is over. Simply accepting defeat is something unacceptable to me, so I plan to refine and take the idea further!”
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?
“Marketing, strategy and pharma industry. I have a natural knack for marketing and strategy and I have been closely associated with the pharma industry since 2012. I am currently working with a team to launch a telemedicine app where my expertise in pharma, healthcare, and strategy are proving useful!”
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?
“I would partly invest the money with an active investor. With the remaining I would start my venture which works towards restoring the coral reefs with multiple partners across the country. Investment in coral reefs will help the country boost tourism and nature photography. It will also boost the hotel industry and fishing industries, thereby improving the revenue of people residing near sea shores.”
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