Please share just what comes to you when you reflect back on the journey.
It has been an immense learning and rewarding experience filled with great risks and challenges as well. Very few people have courage to leave civil services . I took the decision against all odds at the time of great recession in March 2009. The placement in all institutes was very poor and more so for executives with experience. I had to manage with one offer from Infosys which was far below expectations. I didn’t let it affect my spirit and made it a point to understand the current processes in entire talent life cycle deeply and identify gaps to build interventions accordingly to add significant value in a very short time .
Very few companies are able to reverse the downside once it starts. I realised that the key is to identify the companies which are in growing phase with robust business model and value system . I resigned from Infosys without any offer in hand as was feeling highly frustrated in the prevailing environment . The offer from Alcon, Eye care division of Novartis came in third month of my notice period. Alcon tenure provided me a deeper understanding of nuances of Talent management and leadership development. I was lucky to play the role of Head HR for 6 months after one year as my superior proceeded on Maternity leave. In March 2015 I got an offer from Alkem – one of the largest Indian Pharma companies for AVP HR and became Head HR within 3 months of joining . A few weeks back , I have resigned from Alkem to start a venture in Healthcare with a few closest friends from IIM and civil services.
There is a huge element of chance in success however we don’t have any control over that. We must have critical thinking to analyse issues deeply through multiple angles . Bias for action and perseverance to get the ideas executed in collaborative style to take the team along differentiates a successful leader. I have learnt to enjoy the process as much as the outcome. Getting emotionally connected with our self , team & work is vital in giving our best. That is possible only when we work for the organisations/ individuals which are truly respected and one should never compromise on that.
A brief intro on what triggered the MBA decision at that point of time?
There was high sense of security and prestige in the civil services in the view of external world . Time bound seniority based promotion , a cushy but less meaningful work environment makes one prone to inertia in government . The role of government in communication was shrinking where I was working with major role only being in regulation and licensing . The goal of the bloated bureaucracy in Ministry was to create work with little value addition for empire building . As I was not enjoying the work and was restless hence took the plunge to lead the life I wanted to value.
How was the MBA experience, both as a student and now as a professional ?
It was a very demanding schedule in IIM Calcutta with a few brilliant batchmates making it highly competitive environment . Most in the batch were from IT services sector as everyone was looking for Nirvana through MBA which didn’t materialise in the placement for a vast majority including me. I see many batchmates still struggling which bring the chance / randomness factor into mind for achieving success.
I have reached Head HR position for one of the largest Pharma companies which may seem a great accomplishment however this is just a beginning for greater goal of becoming entrepreneur and creating value for society . There were many frustrating moments along the way however I never diminished my effort to learn and continuous develop to add value to the organisations where I was working.
How does the B-school life transform one as an individual? Can you please share your key learning’s applied in your work front?
Multidisciplinary approach helps in analysing issues in totality from various angles. The demanding schedule prepares one for any stressful work later. The bonds we form with peers also help a lot throughout the life. B school life also fosters a spirit of learning.
Experience is a bigger teacher however education helps in providing foundation. The ability to identify the current and emerging issues and build interventions aligned with key stakeholders’ expectations to deliver value has been a good learning .
In your view, what are factors one must consider before embarking on the MBA journey? Aptitude, career aspirations, work experience etc?
Experienced executives must factor the risk for full time MBA as opportunity cost is significantly high and the returns uncertain as market looks for relevant experience hence changing functions and domain is really a challenge. People should not expect dramatic results and have realistic expectation of switching sectors and functions .
What would be your advice to future MBA aspirants?
Start early in pursuit of MBA. At later stage go for part time or executive education without leaving job is better option as the risk is too high. Always be ready to tackle the key challenges. Never give up pursuit of realising potential and work hard to the fullest capacity you have.
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