“The most important thing to remember while entering a B school, is to concentrate on things that add value” – Vineet Ranade, First Year MBA Topper – JBIMS
This is a continuation of The Special Ones – our series on MBA toppers from Elite B schools (read earlier interviews with toppers from XLRI, IIM K, IIM Bangalore, and IIFT here) . We turn to JBIMS and interview Vineet Ranade – first year MBA topper at JBIMS.
Vineet is a second year student at JBIMS. He is an IT engineer from the prestigious VJTI institute, and has worked for 10 months with Cisco Systems prior to joining JBIMS for his MBA. He is the first year MBA topper of JBIMS.
Tell us a bit about your educational background – were you a topper all through your undergraduate and school days? What brought you to an MBA?
I did my schooling from Parle Tilak Vidyalaya in Vile Parle, Mumbai and my B.Tech in Information Technology From V.J.T.I., Mumbai. I did fairly well in academics right from school, being the school topper and in Top 5 during graduation. After Engineering I worked for 10 Months in Cisco Systems in Bangalore. My desire to learn about various tenets of Business drove me towards pursuing management education.
Walk us through your academic journey in the first year – How did you pace yourself academically in the first, second and third term?
JBIMS follows a semester pattern. In both the semesters, we had a combination of assignments, group projects, presentations for different subjects. It took me some time initially to get used to the hectic life of a B-schooler where you have to juggle with a lot of things simultaneously; but I was able to pace my studies well once I got used to the busy schedule.
Did you encounter situations where you were in a group in which others were not as committed as you were? How did you handle this?
Fortunately, every group I worked with, had dedicated people in it; though it is equally true that everybody has a different style of working and contributing. It was an exciting experience for me to work with different people.I think this is what makes the MBA experience unique and fascinating.
What were your thoughts and goals when you entered the JBIMS Campus?Did you expect to top the program in the first year?
Getting admission in JBIMS was really a dream come true for me and my only thoughts while entering the college were that of admiration and excitement ! I definitely did not expect to top the program in the first year; though I was determined to learn all concepts really well and grasp as much knowledge as possible from the esteemed faculty here.
B school life is always buzzing with all kinds of activities and distractions. Especially in a city like Mumbai. Plus there is the added strain of commuting from home to B school. What did you do to keep focus and what did you do to set up a routine?
I think the different activities like committee work, Corporate competitions add spice to a B school life rather than becoming a distraction. Working for the Student Academic Committee and the Consulting Club of JBIMS helped me a lot in terms of my inter personal skills and gave me first hand experience of being a Manager in real life. The daily commute to and from college is also not too strenuous since I use it to relax either by listening to music or chatting to friends.
Tell us about your summer internship.
I did my Summer Internship with Citibank in Credit Risk Department. My project was on Unhedged Foreign Currency Exposure where I had to study the Foreign currency risk profiles and hedging patterns of some 30 odd Indian companies. The project was a great learning experience for me not only in terms of my Finance knowledge but also in terms of my overall business understanding about different companies.
What was your reaction upon knowing that you had topped the first year? How did you celebrate it?
I was positively surprised when I first heard the news.There was a small party with a bunch of close friends.
What is your advice to a student entering a B school, in the first term? How can they achieve their academic goals? Apart from academics, what should they focus on?
I think the most important thing that one should remember while entering a B school, is to concentrate on things that add value. Time is the most scarce resource for a B school student and one has to use it judiciously by prioritizing one’s activities. I believe that, academics is only one part of the overall MBA experience. The various things you learn from your peers, professors are equally important, if not more.
If you could distill the necessary qualities for success into one, two or three unique attributes, what would those attributes be?
I think every successful person is characterized by his ability to constantly learn new things. Every person you meet everyday is unique in his own way and can teach you something. One should be open to learning to new things and never be complacent by success. I also feel that humility is a mark of a successful man.As Confucius has said, ‘The real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance’.
If you could go back in time and you had to live the first year differently, what would you do?
I would have loved to go on more trips with my family and friends. However, this last year has been such an eventful and memorable year for me, that I would not change even a second of it
What are your future career plans.
Frankly speaking, I have not made any concrete plans about my future yet. My sole focus is to explore as many things as possible and enjoy life as it comes.
Apart from imbibing academic knowledge, how else has the first year of MBA enriched you? What is the greatest non-academic learning you had at JBIMS?
As I had said before, the extra curricular activities that I have been doing at JBIMS have helped me immensely in terms of my inter personal skills and have boosted my confidence. I also find myself lucky enough to have made so many new friends after coming to JBIMS. Each person I meet here is better than me in at least one thing and I try to learn as many new things as possible from my peers.
The professors here at JBIMS are also great mentors and role models for us. Their ability to remain grounded even after achieving so much is an inspirations for young students like us.
Usually toppers are regarded as nerdy types, and in the high-stakes environment of a B school, they are subjected to a lot of peer pressure in ways that range from good-natured banter to mockery and bullying. Did you face this? If yes, how did you deal with it?
All my batch mates here are like a second family to me and I have never experienced any such thing here. Though we all like to tease each other, it is always done in a good jest.
How was your performance in JBIMS? Which institutes did you interview with, which ones did you convert, and approximately where did you lie in the final list of candidates selected for to JBIMS?
I had a Home University Rank in top 35 in JBIMS. I had calls from IIM-B,I,Shillong, FMS, S.P Jain and MDI. I was able to convert S.P.Jain, IIM Indore, MDI and IIM Shillong.
Read other stories in our Special Ones series here (interviews with first year MBA toppers of XLRI, IIFT, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Bangalore and others)