Which course did you attend and when?
I attended a 12 month-long executive programme on general management at the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, over 2013-14.
What is your background?
I graduated from Delhi University with a degree in commerce in 1997. My first job — in 1996 — involved growing roses for our family business to be exported across the globe. Following that, between 1998 and 2000, I worked for a sugar factory called Western Orissa Sugar Limited in Odisha and in two years’ time, I rose to the position of executive director. Later, in 2001, I worked as the deputy general manager for Matrix Cellular. In 2007, I joined Pyro Networks, where I headed the international sales business. I joined One97 Communications in 2013 and have been working here since then.
What were your key learnings from the course?
I went there to unlearn whatever I had learnt in my career because the world had changed to a great extent by then. The course taught us how to be a good leader, a good manager, how to look at a business situation from multiple points of view — professional, ethical, cultural and emotional — since all this plays out in managing an organisation. It taught me that there is nothing right or wrong in management — there are only different ways of seeing and doing things, so one should evaluate a problem from several angles. It also taught us how to network effectively.
What did you like about the course?
Since the course was a lot about abstract ideas and ways to connect the dots, I liked how the professors were able to pick up on our real-life problems, relate concepts to the scenario at hand, evaluate it from all possible perspectives and, finally, zero in on the one that suited the person the most. Also, we had a lot of fruitful interactions with the professors, where we were able to contribute insights from our experiences. I liked how I was able to socialise with my fellow students. It opened up the world a little more for me. Also, it added a valuable brand name to my resume.
What did you not like about the course?
The fact that the professors were a little out of sync about how business happens in India. They were looking at everything from 30,000 feet. And this difference stood out because most of us were Indians in that batch.
—As told to Meghna Maiti
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