‘You Just Need That Spark Inside You To Keep You Kindled And Make Sure That It Never Fades Out’ – Kunal Dhiman – Best50 – Class Of 2017
I come from a very small and beautiful village in Himachal Pradesh. Born to a family of Doctors, naturally, education became the utmost priority in my life. You learn a great deal of a spirit to excel if you have been studying in Sainik School starting from the 6th Standard. To add a metropolitan flavour to my learning curve I moved to Delhi for my education after 10th. My life has always been centred around creating a mark in the multiple facets of my academic as well as extracurricular life right from being the Head Boy, ranking 3rd in an International Olympiad, excelling in sports and further to being an active orator in various forums.
Surpassing the atmosphere of competitive examinations, I started pursuing Electronics and Communication engineering from NSIT Delhi. These were the shaping years of my career. While I got an opportunity to study with and learn from some brightest minds, I also got a rush to create a mark in this crowd. You just need a lightning fire inside you to keep you kindled. I had always made sure that that fire never dies out. So apart from studying, I started working in the Placements Committee at NSIT and then further became the General Secretary of the National cultural festival of NSIT, hosting a plethora of events and artists while learning from mistakes. I was also a part of the Board of Students affairs at the college which added another dimension to my personality at NSIT Delhi.
I started my professional career from Deloitte USI where I worked for a year to get a flavour of the consulting world and understand my capabilities as a business professional. Deloitte always inspired me to shape my career in a business world. The fact that I was awarded within the very first month of joining Deloitte for my work holds a testimony to it. Having made good professional relationships to guide me in every juncture of my career, I joined IIM Kozhikode to pursue my MBA. IIM Kozhikode was an experience filled with a lot of aspirations, competitiveness and adventure. I joined the Students Placements Committee to gain one of the most enriching experiences of my career. Apart from that I have been a Basketball point guard, played for campus team here also. B-School Competitions are a unique spice in an MBA college. I am the National Winner of Inter b-School CEO Challenge and many other case study competitions.
I interned at Mahindra & Mahindra in the product planning division where I worked upon analysing the Car features in the Crossover Car Segment. I travelled to various geographies in India to understand the Perceived Value of Car features and further worked upon proposing the feature inclusion and exclusion strategy for this segment. My experience here gave me an opportunity to work with the Strategic Marketing team, Product Planning team and gave me a good understanding of how a post-MBA career in Strategy & Marketing would be.
During my first year of undergrad college, I bought a camera from my savings, and right from that day, there was no going back. I started connecting with various photographers in Delhi on a weekly basis to improvise on my hobby. My photographs started achieving accolades and my camera became my first girlfriend and we are have been in a non-negotiable relationship for ever since then. Photography had added travelling instinct in me. My solo trips have been some crazy introspection times and now I have covered almost all the states of this country barring some North Eastern which are scheduled very soon. One of my photographs got featured in the National Geographic in the Landscape category. Besides that, I am a hobbyist cook and love playing Basketball.
Having always been a constant achiever, I have always sustained adventure in my life in one or the other form. My life motto has always revolved around the following lines of H.W.Longfellow:
“Trust No Future, How’er pleaseant,
Let the dead past bury its dead,
Act – act in the living present,
Heart within and God o’erhead”
If you had a magic wand, what is the one problem in India that you would magically wish away? Explain why.
If I had a magic want I would wand to do away with the poverty or we may call the income disparity in this country. I am a photographer and have travelled across the country and seen a lot of different cultures and the disparities in different laces in the country. I believe poverty is the root cause of all other problems in the country and in case we could create avenues for the country with more opportunities to these people we would be able to create an atmosphere free from crime, inflation, unemployment.
Hence I believe every organisation should focus on the idea of community building for a long term sustainable growth and that would only be possible if we can help the poor come to the main-stream with everyone else in the society.
What is the biggest risk that you have taken so far and why?
I hail from a very small town in Himachal Pradesh. My schooling till the Xth standard was in Himachal Pradesh. I had a small world around which my life revolved, which was peaceful, calm and beautiful. After getting good scores in the Xth standard I planned to move to Delhi for my higher education. It was a risk because I had not been exposed to the city life ever, had always been an achiever in the small and less competitive world around me. But considering the lack of exposure and fewer opportunities I took a personal call to move to a boarding school and study in Delhi.
After moving there I could see a vast difference and spot the cosmopolitan culture of Delhi. I had to make sure that I kept my spirits high as an achiever and keep on achieving as much as possible to make myself and my family proud. There was always a fear of the tough competition I was facing and would face at every single juncture but my adaptability and passion to achieve always kept me going. Now I feel that I have achieved a lot to say that I have overcome the risk taken and surpassed that stage. I have tried and made my parents proud at every single opportunity I got.
Give us an instance when you failed miserably and how did you overcome that downfall?
Playing basketball is my passion and I have always believed in a wholesome growth. I started playing basketball from my Sainik School days. I have always played in the team of school and won awards. But the biggest failure that I faced was when I could not make it to the basketball team in my Senior Secondary school in Delhi. There were two reasons for it. The first one was that of me always playing in the comfort zone in Himachal Pradesh. Going to Delhi and competing with those with a coach all through out their career was a little tough task for me. The second problem was that I had to always lay more emphasis on my academics as there were the grooming years of my career. So I had to take this setback of focusing more on studies and only watching the games so that I can devote more time to my studies. But I also made a point that I would, once I get into a good college, get back to where I always have been in terms of basketball.
After entering into on of the premier colleges of the country, I starting working on my game from the scratch put in a lot of efforts and I became the captain of the basketball team. At IIM Kozhikode also our team won the Gold Medal this year. I believe, setting up the priorities, keeping yourself calm under pressure, and my persistence led me to conquer this downfall.