Disclaimer: For those of you looking to find some answers which can be quoted in your interviews, this is not the place. I would suggest you go back to those thousands of self-help websites working specially for it. Or better, you should rather approach those coaching institutions which have made it a business of minting money out of your desperate attempts to crack those interviews. This will not spoon feed you with answers you can directly recite. However, if you are looking to make a decision about whether or not a management degree suits you; go on, give it a read. If nothing else, I assure you to give a first-hand experience, take along at least something from this.
Like the majority of Indian population, I am a graduate with an engineering degree from a reputed Indian college. Life was all hunky dory till the third year of college. I was still basking in the glory of having secured a seat in such a prestigious college and was taking my time in let it sink-in. My usual routine of going to classes, completing assignments, studying for exams went on while I made a bunch of friends to hang around daily in the beautiful campus.
Reality stuck hard when it was time for summer internship. As per me, this should have been a cake walk. After all, I had secured a place in a premier college, internship should have been easier. But, that was not how it panned out. Not only had I forgotten that everybody else here was equally smart or more as I was (not less, definitely), I had forgotten to put in all the hard work I used to. In short, ugly but true, I was laidback and had grown used to the easy life. Results were not shocking. I failed to secure any internship from college and had to struggle and go door to door to arrange for it. This was at the same time when my friends from different branches were bagging offers from big multinational companies. I was flabbergasted and amazed by the talent around me and disappointed by myself, to say the least.
Like they say, if winter comes, can spring be far behind. I saw the silver lining, then. It was then that I heard about some students from my batch preparing to take the CAT exam and about the same time I heard about seniors getting into top notch B schools in India. I was not sure, I mean throughout these two years I had read, learnt, inhaled and consumed technical knowledge. So the natural progression for me was to complete this internship and the last year of college and get placed in a sound tech bound company where I could utilize my knowledge and all the skill acquired in these four years. But something was telling me that this was not the complete story. So I researched and contemplated on the non tech versus tech options post undergrad.
It so happened that in my final year, I got placed in an MNC with a non- technical profile. While my parents still had dreams of PSU, I was set to be a business analyst. Around the same time, my friends were contemplating to pursue post-graduation in either technical or non-technical domain. I decided to take my experience in office as a time off, an open learning experience where I was ready to do anything and everything I could lay my hands on. I was that wanderer kid who didn’t know where to go, what to do and hence was ready to explore options. Thus, I utilized all my after office time to read about how I could improve my skills, what were my options for future. I used extensive offline and online research, explored all my contacts and learnt about the lifestyle of people working in different fields. In the hindsight, that was the best that could have happened to me. I did not follow the herd and was about to make a conscious decision.
This, combined with the kind of work I was doing and detailed discussions with my manager and team mates made me realize that I was never fit for the technical job I was yearning for. Getting placed here was no coincidence but a perfect match to my skills. Now, to hone those and with an aim of faster progression, a career in management seemed to blend in just right.
Hence, I started preparing for it. Six months later, I secured a seat in one of the most admired colleges of our country. I was ecstatic and brimming with excitement to begin this journey. To my surprise, I found many like-minded people in my college who shared my opinion. It was a choice, a well thought of decision, with everybody having different aims. Irrespective of the different backgrounds of each of these students, each had some aspirations and goals which perfectly aligned with their choice to pursue management studies.
It has been an eventful journey since. I am now a graduate and set to join my next assignment. Thrilled and brimming to the core, this time again. While it’s too early to judge whether it was a right decision or not, I have accomplished some of my goals, some still in the pathway. As they say, to each his own. How my journey has been may not have anything to do with how you live your management journey, but this sure will provide some head way. One thing that we can be sure of is, somehow, things will start making sense, if they are not already. As Steve Jobs said, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future.