“You Can Be A Graduate From Any Stream, But When You Pass Out From Your B-school, You Need To Be A Polished Business Leader” – Gauraav Thakar, IIM Rohtak Alumnus And Head Of Marketing, QualityKiosk Technologies

When should an aspirant decide to do an MBA?

Like any other post-graduation, an MBA may be pursued for various reasons. This decision is very individualistic. The reasons when one should decide to do an MBA is if you don’t like your current job profile (applies to all engineers in IT jobs, I know, I was one of them), can’t move to the next level or if you want a jump in your career progression.

The common misconception in India is that you should do an MBA for more salary. Don’t do it for the money. Even in good business schools, the lowest salary you can get is less than half of the total tuition fees. So money should not be the criteria to do an MBA.

An MBA is a career choice. Do it for the right reasons because you will end up in a job which you will be doing for the next 40 years.

 

What were the important parameters a student must consider while making a decision for selecting a b-school?

The first thing you should see is the faculty of that b-school. You should check out the previous batches and see are they successful or not. This is especially true for the new b-schools. In my case the IIM tag definitely helped but I missed out on talking to my seniors especially when I faced a challenge in my job – I had no one to turn to since I was the second batch to pass out of IIM Rohtak.

I suggest aspirants should talk to people – professional in the field, current b-school students & faculty. It will help them decide among b-schools.

Do your homework. The obvious is not obvious. Choose a b-school according to its forte. IIMs are good, but IIM C is known for its finance specialization. Other b-schools have many students and fewer companies of a specific industry sector or role are visiting it. So do your homework well. Again as an MBA aspirant clarity of thought on why you want to do an MBA, which b-schools and what specialization will help not only in narrowing down the institutes but also help you structure your interview answers.

 

How can a student derive the maximum out of 2 years at a b-school?

An MBA is around 20 months including the internship. Some students sleep for 3 hours and some for 9 hours a day. The academic learning each one gets is similar but the experiences will be drastically different. Both might get good jobs but only one will be equipped to handle any scenario the business world throws at him. It’s not tough, but it depends on the student.

Take part in extracurricular, social activities, organizations such as placement committee, industry interaction, entrepreneurship cell, etc. If you sleep in your room, you can’t achieve anything so go out and do something.

Do things that you are passionate about. What you get out of an IIM is what you are willing to invest – time, money, sweat and blood.  You have to push hard if you want the results.

 

Can you throw some light on preparation for campus interviews?

Do your homework. Do your homework. Do your homework. And a little more homework.

If you are looking out for a particular profile, you should already know what the daily work is like. That’s the depth of research you should aim to achieve. A strong alumni base helps a lot in such research.

I choose to Network! Industry experts, colleagues in my previous organizations, family, and friends. People are willing to help. Do your homework for the industry, organisation and job profile. Go into that kind of detail like which team you will work with and what work you will do with them.

Customize your CV for each role and company. Spend 2 hours to customize it. But don’t use the same CV for every company. You have to be culturally the best fit. See the role and research the company. You have to be the best fit among all the other applicants even if they have a higher CGPA or have done a better project than you have.

Figure out what is your unique edge – What do you bring to the table?

 

How can I make the best use of my summer internship?

Slog. Slog. Slog. Slog hard. Whatever your role and responsibility are you can always go beyond it. Mentors are open to allowing you to do more work if you show interest. I had two major projects and eight minor projects. I put in 18 hours a day. The more you slog, the more you will learn. Whatever you learn in the classroom is very different from the real world.

A summer internship is a perfect opportunity to PROVE. It is not a learning experience but a proving experience. Here you can prove whatever you learnt in your b-school.

You can pass the time and not achieve anything, or you can prove that you are on the way to becoming a business leader.

 

Your advice in general for students.

Work hard. You can do an MBA sleeping 9 hours or 3 hrs. Ultimately you have to see before joining an MBA program how your CV looked and after 20 months how your CV has shaped up.

You need to keep creating opportunities & adding golden nuggets. There has to be a change in your CV – it should be a professional CV.

The way you talk, the way you think & analyse and the way you interact – everything has to be professional. You can be an engineering, commerce or arts graduate, but when you pass out from your b-school, you need to be a polished business leader.

Example: If you are not good at communication, join a Toastmasters club. If it’s not there in your b-school, then start it! It’s also amazing for networking. You can meet a lot of people. I was offered a job via a Toastmasters connection!

One last thing. Network like crazy. Connect with the people who come to your institute for workshops, seminars, leadership programs, etc. Understand how they work, lead and think. They are leaders today, and you will be the leaders tomorrow.

One more last thing. Party hard.

These 20 months will be one of the best times of your life. I wish you the best of luck to make them memorable.

 

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About the author:

Gauraav is a marketing professional and a keen technology enthusiast. He believes technology as an enabler to bridge the gap between brands and consumers.

In addition to a mechanical engineering degree from the National Institute of Technology, Silchar, he holds a dual major in Marketing & Strategy, and an IT minor from the Indian Institute of Management, Rohtak.

Before his MBA, he was a techno-functional consultant in the healthcare space with Computer Sciences Corporation. His summer internship with DraftFCB ULKA was in the realms of brand strategy, creative ideation, content strategy and market research. Gauraav was awarded the Distinguished Toastmaster Award by Toastmasters International in 2015.

Gauraav specializes in building marketing teams through strategic interventions in areas of people, process, and technology. At QualityKiosk, he leads the marketing function. He also drives strategic initiatives which to move the organization into the next orbit of growth.

On the personal front, Gauraav’s passions include motorcycling, traveling, public speaking, corporate training, reading and theatre (performing).

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