‘I am an ISRO scientist and a Charpak scholar selected by the French government to be an Ambassador for India’ – Ritwick Rane – Best50
Ritwick Rane has been chosen as one of the top 30 most employable candidates across schools and programmes in India for the Class of 2015. He has one of the best 30 profiles among the 66 final round candidates who participated in the Best50 competition. The final 30 were chosen based on a combination of scores for the write-up below and the candidate’s resume.
What have you done at your business school which makes you stand out from the crowd?
It takes a lot to be an average XLRI student, or an XL-er, and standing out in the crowd takes a lot more. I am an Aerospace Engineer by qualification, have worked as a Scientist at the Indian Space Research Organisation and hail from a family with a strong creative background, my father being a playwright and my mother a clinical psychologist and writer. The ability to balance multiple responsibilities and interests simultaneously is something I have developed from an early age and have managed to do well even at XLRI. As a member of the Student Affairs Council in 2013, I was the sole representative of 180 students of the 2013-15 Business Management batch and was pivotal in coordinating activities for all the 21 recognized committees on campus. I had a keen interest in academics at XLRI which has resulted in me being among the top 10 performers in my batch. But what sets me apart is that I was able to balance it along with my other responsibilities while finding the time to pursue my extra-curricular interests. I was a part of the lead cast of the public production presented by the dramatics association and finished 3rd in the Quiz League conducted on campus. I believe that my ability to manage time and pressure well is one of my greatest assets.
As a Charpak Scholar on a student exchange program in France, I was selected by the French Government to be an ambassador for India. This unique experience helped me break away from stereotypes and develop an understanding of the subtle differences and intrinsic similarities between people from around the world. I found time to travel across Europe as much as I could and tried to immerse myself in the culture in various countries, making it a point to try and experience the local way of life. I believe it is this wider perspective I now bring, along with my ability to multi-task and essay several roles well simultaneously that sets me apart from the crowd.
What have you done in your life that you are the most proud of?
During my work at the Indian Space Research Organisation as a scientist, I had the opportunity to be a part of the international launch team for the Indo-French satellite ‘Megha-Tropiques’. A fresh recruit into ISRO at the time, I was selected for this challenging task as my first assignment. The learning curve was very steep in terms of both technical knowledge and inter-personal skills. It was the first time I was working on a project of such a large magnitude, with experts from various fields and social and cultural backgrounds all working together to ensure its success. On the technical front, I worked hard to understand the various intricacies and nuances involved and read all the material I could find to help me understand the job better, while on the personal front, I learnt from my seniors the importance of planning, maintaining composure even under great stress and above all the importance of always meeting deadlines. It was a time of extreme hard work but one that lead to great personal growth and learning. Being a part of a team of professionals from three different countries, working in a setup with zero margin for error while still meeting deadlines of national significance and the final realization that my fingerprints were now orbiting the earth is an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
If there was one good aspect about your school that you could take back after you graduate –
I think the best part about being a student at XLRI is the rich culture the institute has developed over its 65 year history. The ‘soul’ of the campus is in its people. The professors live on campus and partake in all the activities and celebrations. The priests can be found every day on the playground playing a game of basketball or just enjoying a game of football along with students and the children. You see friendships between children from very different backgrounds, and you see faculty taking an active interest in helping the children of the staff. You can really see the motto of ‘for the greater good’ in action. You see students, who are potential competitors, help each other in every aspect whether it be personal or professional. But I believe the greatest gift XLRI gives to its students is the freedom to choose what they want their experience to be. The open culture at XLRI allows one to find one’s own way and is never judgmental. I believe this is something that sets XLRI apart from any other B-School and is something I will always strive for in life.
Another beautiful part about being at XLRI is that you are never alone. In whatever you do. Your friends are always behind you. I read a beautiful article called the ‘Opposite of loneliness’ by Marina Keegan and I could not help but feel that that is exactly what I will miss most about XLRI. There is no word for the opposite of loneliness, but it exists… It exists in the corridors of the academic block and in the laughter at the cafeteria. You feel it in the silent nods in the library and in the constant buzz in the hostel. It exists at XLRI and is something I want in life and wish I could take back after I graduate.
If there was one thing that you could change about your business school, it would be –
The one thing I would like to change about not just my business school but in most business schools across India is to shift focus from the ‘what’ to the ‘why’. There is a lot of time invested in teaching and helping students understand what to do in various business situations but the reasoning and the motives behind why that decision is made is often neglected. I believe that a clear understanding of the reasons behind corrective actions not only allows students to adapt and customize solutions to specific situations but also acts as a constant ethical mirror to their intrinsic motivations. It ensures that students can be better prepared for the kind of decisions they will face in corporate life and the impact it has not just on others but on the kind of professional they will be.
If you had to open a rival social network to Facebook, what would it be like?
The success of Facebook has been so monumental that attempting to compete in its areas of strength would likely prove futile. However, I believe the best way to setup a rival social network would be to use the perceived strengths of Facebook and pitch it against it. One of the biggest drawbacks I have found on Facebook is that it has now become almost a game of Chinese whispers, with a lot of urban legends going around. I think one of the key features of the rival network would be authenticity checks for articles posted and recognizing and tagging hoax posts. This is all the more important since a large section of the user base actually uses Facebook as a source of news and to keep updated with events and happenings across the world and thus a filter to ensure credibility would also benefit society in general. Similarly hoax contests can also be tagged and users warned.
The fact that Facebook is so global is its strength however for users seeking a more customized experience, the new network would offer the option to setup ‘mini-networks’ where your feed can be controlled and be restricted to only friends who you allow. Similarly you would have the option of topic filtering, where you could filter your feed based on the topics you want. In order to involve your friends in discussions a Quora inspired ‘Ask to comment’ feature could be added to discussions.
I also think that the ability to use bold or italic fonts in statuses is something that really enhances the ‘idea’ behind the status and is something that Facebook does not offer. Thus the new social network would have this feature as well. The network would also have the option of importing friends from Facebook directly thus increasing enrollment rates. Lastly I think a lot of people feel that ads take away from their social network experience and thus the new network would provide the option for an Ad-free experience for a flat fee to ensure a more enhanced experience without loss in revenue.
Who are you? Express yourself
Who am I? I believe the answer is constantly evolving. I am constantly ‘becoming’ who I am… We change with each new experience and with each new chapter in life. But I believe the manner in which we change and our intrinsic life philosophy and interests is what define us. I am the product of a unique set of experiences, being born in a family with a Hindu father who is a playwright and a mother who is a practicing Muslim and a clinical psychologist and writer. I am a combination of a natural inclination towards the arts and creative expression and a fascination for the sciences. I am a poet at heart and an aerospace engineer by qualification. I am constantly in the pursuit of excellence and strive to be the best that I can and am also a dreamer who enjoys the company of friends and solitude alike. I have big dreams and small pleasures. I have a great curiosity for all things new and a fascination for history and all I can learn from it. I believe that I am, like so many of us, unique in the set of contradictions I embody. I am the experiences of my past and the promise of my future. I am, for the lack of a more encompassing definition, me.
Meet the rest of India’s 30 Most Employable Management Graduates from the Class of 2015 here