It takes a special kind of focus, dedication and interest in order to get out of your comfort zone and develop yourself as an individual. In our list of India's Best 50 - the 50 Most Employable Students from the Class of 2018-20, we feature MBA students who have walked that extra mile and done that little more to become the best. One of those featured in today's story, Shruti Prabhu, shows exceptional drive and passion. She even created her own Excel automated process, affecting change in the operations at a global MNC! Read on and find out how this CA, CS, Merit Holder, IIM B graduate, Intern at AT Kearney charted her career.
The following is Shruti Prabhu’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, Shruti’s story and profile stood out. Here's her story in her own words.
"I am Shruti Prabhu. I was born and brought up in Vasai, a beautiful town near Mumbai. Besides being an MBA from the premier institute of IIM Bangalore, I am a Chartered Accountant as well as a Company Secretary, securing merit rank thrice at an all India level. I have worked for a couple of years in Larsen & Toubro Limited, Mumbai and have interned as a management consultant at Kearney. I am also a carrom enthusiast and love blogging poems. I am a self motivated person and believe in pushing myself to constantly do better and newer things. While I am a good team player, I also aspire for leadership roles which can offer challenging business opportunities."
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.
"After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, I was working in the finance team of Larsen & Toubro. My role there was to oversee and streamline the capex management activities of the asset-intensive heavy engineering and defence segments. I did not want to limit myself to one area and hence, expressed my interest in learning things beyond my scope. During internal subdivision of both the business units, I was handpicked by the Finance head and offered an additional responsibility of hedging the foreign currency exposure in defence contracts which was completely outside my comfort zone of accountancy and taxation. Though hesitant at first for lack of subject matter expertise, I went ahead and willingly accepted the responsibility solely with an intention to learn new and unexplored arenas. I meditated over 100 forward rate agreements and helped put theory into practice. This entailed putting extra time beyond my regular capex activities for work and self-study, but it was worth the effort as it broadened my knowledge base. I grabbed this opportunity to come out of my comfort zone and made a sincere effort to do justice to the undertaken responsibility."
When was the last time someone relied on you? OR What did you do which was purely for someone else - a truly selfless act.
"I have served as the placement representative at IIM Bangalore in a team of 13 managing the summer as well as final placement processes. I was grateful to receive the backing of 2 batches of 840+ students when I got elected by them as the member of the placement committee known for its transparency and ethics over the years. My role involved undertaking crucial decisions and tasks jointly with other members of the team which could impact the careers of all students involved in the process. Their trust empowered us with the authority and responsibility to handle confidential information along with the obligation to act in a manner that is fair to every student. We spent hours interacting with various recruiters amidst the hectic academic schedule, often at the cost of our social life."
Tell us about a time when you disagreed with an opinion/idea/decision. What did you do about it?
"Whenever I have spotted any loophole or oversight happening within capex operations, I have immediately sought the attention of respective stakeholders, disagreed with the inefficient current practices giving rise to errors and put a new system in place. For instance, many fixed assets continued to appear under capital work in progress for a long time after physical use instead of appearing in the asset register. On identifying the root cause, I realised that there was a communication and knowledge gap between the engineers raising the purchase order and the accountant managing the asset register. After explaining the issue to all those concerned and taking their buy-in, I asked for a change in the approval process of the purchase order such that the accountants can rectify or prevent the errors from happening instead of following the error-prone legacy practice. There was initial resistance due to increased lead time in release of purchase orders arising out of additional approval. However, after assuring them of quick turnaround time from our end, I managed to get their support to implement the change."
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?
"Spreadsheet modelling is something which I have enjoyed as well as which has helped me get my work done in the most efficient manner. It has helped me speed up my activities while at work, during my study at IIM Bangalore as well as while in internship. It aided in learning the MBA courses I opted for in the analytics domain. An instance from my pre MBA work was when a major chunk of the manufacturing activity moved out of Powai location where I was working, to other plants in the country. We were required to provide the valuation of each of the assets for income tax purposes. The practice followed by my predecessors was an asset wise calculation on a case to case basis. However, due to the sheer volume of transactions, this practice was not feasible for me. Hence, I created a tax valuation model in excel which could convert the accounting value of any asset to its taxation value. By investing some time initially in building the model, I could help save a lot of time and effort later as the asset shift happened in lots in a phased manner. This model was also later transferred for use at other plant sites."
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 agree with the great scientist, Benjamin Franklin when he said that ‘investment in education pays the best interest’. Education has indeed played a transformational role in my life which has pulled the odds in my favour. I would love to see the same happen for others as well. Given a chance, I would like to invest in this corpus and use the returns to fund an education startup for the career development of the underprivileged kids who often drop out of school or college to support their families. It will be a part-time institute for teenagers who can learn essential courses related to information technology or English literacy which will make them more employable. After a successful pilot in the metro cities, its reach can be scaled up to cover every state. The model can be self-sustaining using revenues generated through advanced courses available for the general public which can cross-subsidize the philanthropic arm."
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