A Fresher’s Perspective on MBA

About the Author:

Sahil Madan (Project Manager at Schneider Electric | MBA, NITIE Mumbai | Gold Medalist, GGSIPU)

I am traveling to my hometown as I start to write this article about my journey of MBA and sitting at the window seat and looking at the clouds because “Baadal important hain”, I went back in time to relive my MBA journey. The thought that provoked me, various challenges I faced, getting an admit from one of the top MBA institutes in the country, the 2 most interesting years of my life and finally getting a good job as a reward. I am Sahil Madan, MBA graduate of NITIE Mumbai, and currently working at Schneider Electric as a Project Manager.

The Thought

I was no different than the majority of us, I was also pursuing engineering (Computer Science). But little did I know back then, that it will help to shape my thought process. Gradually, I realized that I can think about the logic behind questions, but coding is not my cup of tea. I connected with my seniors and a few of them suggested that I can attempt CAT and try to do an MBA since I have a problem-solving aptitude & this could help me in my work post MBA. 

So, I started preparing for CAT, gave a few mocks, and who knew that my seniors would be right, and my problem-solving ability could actually help me in succeeding CAT. It was my first ever CAT attempt in the final year of my engineering, and I was able to score a good percentile and I thought that now everything is done but, I was wrong.

The Path not so easy

It’s a common myth around us, that once you get a good percentile, you’ll definitely end up in a top B-School. It’s not that easy after all and getting a percentile is just 50 % work done. After CAT, the real grinding starts when your personality, your knowledge, your fit for the college is judged. 

Another myth is that freshers can get calls from top institutes very easily after scoring a decent percentile. Trust me, it’s even more difficult for freshers as calls are given based on various factors like the CAT percentile, your past academics, your work experience, academic diversity, gender diversity, extra-curricular, and many others depending upon the college. Being a GEM (General, Engineer & Male; I wish B-schools would recognize us as literal gems :P) & a fresher, I straight away had 0 points for work ex, academic diversity & gender diversity. 

But the weightage of these factors doesn’t end once you get the call, it plays a role in getting you the final admit as well, so being a GEM & not having work ex it was very important for me to score well in GD/PI to cover for the points for which I am not eligible. 

I did what I had to do, prepared rigorously for GD/PI to score the best I can to compensate for the other criteria, and finally secured a place at the Mecca of Supply Chain, God’s Own Campus, NITIE Mumbai.

The Unforgettable Experience

After watching “2 states” in my under-graduation, I had high hopes from my MBA life and indeed my experience was great, although different from the movie but unforgettable. I will not tell you about the great pedagogies that were followed in college for academics as you all would already be knowing about the case-based approach, practical learnings & others that are used in the top B-Schools of the country. I will tell you about factors other than academics & peer group learnings that shaped me. I can summarize my 2 years in three things: “Mumbai, Summer Internship Placement process & the committee I was a part of”. 

Living in Mumbai has been one of the best experiences of my life. From visiting Marine Drive to talking to local Mumbaikars, enjoying the nightlife with friends to watching concerts with them, interacting with auto wale bhaiya to traveling in locals, everything has created a positive impact on me. Aamchi Mumbai!! 

The Summer Internship process has taught me that you will face rejections in life but what matters is to go on and give your best. It helped me overcome the fear of rejection. 

I was also a part of the fest organizing committee wherein I was responsible for getting celebrities onboarded and fetch sponsorship for the events. Because of this, I got a chance to interact with a lot of celebrities and approached different companies in order to get sponsorship. This helped me overcome my fear of talking to strangers & gave me a wonderful experience.

The Corporate World

I was fortunate to land at Schneider Electric for my Summer Internship as it plays a very important role in your 2 years journey. It was my first ever corporate exposure, but it didn’t feel like one, thanks to the colleagues at Schneider who made me feel comfortable. There is no doubt that it was difficult for me initially to understand the processes as I had no clue how the industry works and so would be the case with any person entering the corporate world for the first time. 

But the good thing is that I kept on asking questions to the people around me and they didn’t hesitate to help me out and finally I was able to make progress in my project and therefore finally concluding the internship with a PPO. (Yes!!, that was my moment of #MBAover) 

It has been more than a year now that I am working with Schneider as a Project Manager and the journey has been great so far. As a project manager, it’s your responsibility to take ownership of the project once the idea is conceived until the very end when it is finally executed. You must be proactive taking into consideration any constraints or risks and strategize accordingly. The 2 years of my MBA journey helped me with the skills and concepts required to work as a PM. And of course, the notion with which I started this path, my problem-solving ability has always helped me throughout this period and still helping to give my best working as a PM. 

So, this was my journey so far! Hoping to hear yours soon.

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