‘You will always be respected for your good Academic Record’ – Kenneth Serrao at InsideIIM Open House #1

The first InsideIIM Open house took place yesterday in Mumbai. It was a low-key affair but the participants spent quality time with our special guest – Kenneth Serrao, Co-founder of Brokers Please Excuse and an accomplished alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad (Class of 2000). To know more about Kenneth Serrao, click here.

One of the participants, Ankith, a first year student of NMIMS Mumbai is trying to figure how best he can use his 2 years of MBA.  He believes he will benefit the most from networking. While Kenneth agrees with this point of view, he believes that one should never ignore academics and the theoretical base that a good MBA school gives you. He said, “All my engineering life at REC Surathkal (now NIT Surathkal) I was considered a ‘phodu’ guy when it came to acads given the little amount of time I spent on studying. However, that is really a bad excuse. Your resume will never have this disclaimer that I couldn’t be in the top 20 because I studied only one night before the exams. Anyone can say ‘I could have been the topper if I wanted to be one. It’s just that I didn’t study as much’. Unfortunately that sounds like a loser to me. You are what your academic record shows. I was ranked xx in my batch at IIM Ahmedabad and I truly believe that it was what my ‘aukkad’ was. People always respect guys with good academic records because it is tough to have a very good academic record. Networking, Life lessons etc. will anyway come to you if you are bright enough. A good academic base is important and I cannot emphasize the value of it more. When I look at people’s resumes everybody is the secretary of some club or society, everyone has played some sport at a basic level, everyone has interesting hobbies. Unfortunately, these things do not stick. If you really want me to forget why you weren’t really good at academics, you need to have done something truly big. For e.g. given a professional violin performance – which means you practiced day in and day out for 12 years because without that you won’t be allowed to give a truly professional performance. Maybe a Karate black belt because it means you dedicated 8 years of your life to excel in sport.”


One of the other suggestions that Kenneth had for all the participants was to add depth to their work. To truly stand out one should go beyond the obvious. And for that he had one main suggestion – Reading.

“I think the fact that you guys read InsideIIM already puts you ahead of 99% of the junta out there. Now build up on that and go deeper into subjects and issues of your liking. Just keep reading. The best part is that the competition is so weak around you. Most people will not read and hence if you do you will easily outshine them.”

One of the other participants Harshad was from a start-up in Cyber Security and Cloud Computing. Ken and Harshad had an interesting discussion on who their real competitors were. Since the start-up was into cyber security for the android platform, Ken’s view was that their biggest competition was Google itself!


Later, the discussion went to how we could improve InsideIIM further and what the participants as users would like to see. There was interesting feedback which was noted by the InsideIIM team. There was also discussion on the new Admissions section Final Admit and how aspirants can make maximum use of that section. The participants also gave some interesting ideas for better user engagement and a wider reach.

The next Open House will be held in Bangalore on 19th July, 2014.  To register – Click here

The Delhi Open House has been postponed because of an emergency in Ankit’s family (our founder). He wants to be present for the first open house in Delhi.

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