Hailing from varying backgrounds and diverse work experiences, the common thread that connects all the students of the executive postgraduate programme (EPGP) at IIM Bangalore is their conviction to grow. All the participants of the executive programme are mid-career professionals who have 5-12 years of work experience across a wide range of industries. While it is comfortable to be in the same job for many years and gain experience, oftentimes, the challenges begin to die down.
It is this need to excel with great gusto that is driving these professionals to make the leap out of their comfort zones to pursue an MBA. Speaking to BLonCampus, some of them share their experiences.
Striking a Balance
Prior to joining the course, Akshay Bharadwaj had been working with the Indian Railways for over 10 years. He has the experience of juggling various roles throughout his time as a civil servant and believes his earlier roles will add to his new phase of life. “I have a desire to excel in whatever I do. And I’ve only chosen opportunities that have helped build my capacity as an individual.”
While his experience in civil services has been extremely rewarding, he realised that there were a few knowledge gaps so he decided to pursue an MBA to fix it. “I think an MBA instils the right business knowledge and critical decision-making skills to navigate through uncertain and volatile environments. It also gives you the agility to solve complex business problems.”
Bharadwaj plans to take up macro roles in general management strategy and finance. “Since I’ve got the experience working with the government, in the future, I can take up a lot of roles where the government is an important stakeholder, whether it is a public-private partnership or a joint venture, or driving a particular programme.”
Another civil servant, Anish Venkata, who had worked for the CRPF for eight years, says it took him over 18 months to prepare for and pass the GMAT examination. “Preparing for GMAT, especially during the Covid, was very difficult, and at a point, I considered giving up.” But the undisputed support from family kept him aloft, he says.
‘Roller coaster ride’
Going back to college has not been easy, and it took quite some time to get adjusted to the new normal of a student’s life for Venkata. But it has been an enriching experience, he says. The diverse experience of his fellow cohorts is a value-add he cherishes. With a solid background in operations, he wishes to work for e-commerce and last-mile delivery companies in India.
Nikunj Gaur, a hardcore techie with 12 years of IT experience, says his motivation to switch to an MBA was driven by the need to put his career on a pedestal. “While climbing the ladders of the corporate world, I realised the gap in my business understanding, and to fill those gaps, doing an MBA from IIMB was the best option,” he says.
Life on campus has been a complete roller coaster ride, with sometimes 24 hours not being sufficient, says Gaur. “The process can be overwhelming sometimes, and you’re often pressed for time to do all the on-campus activities that are planned. But it is important to do them as it helps build better relationships with your peers.”
The regular on-campus seminars conducted by various industry leaders who share the crack codes and skills required for the different industries are something Gaur really values about the B-school experience.