08 Jun 2020 19:18 IST

The learning curve from rocket science to B-school

From being part of ISRO projects to IIMB’s virtual EPGP, it’s been a series of great experiences

Since my high-school days, I had a profound fascination towards science and technology. As I remained captivated by the technological marvels that shaped global dynamics, the decisive moment in my life came in October 2008, when India accomplished its maiden lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, and joined the elite league of five countries that reached Moon. The unbounded pride I felt soon translated into a quest to join the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). In 2013, while ISRO made the country proud once again by launching the Mars Orbiter Mission, I got an irresistible offer to join the organisation as a Scientist. The decision was easy.

I soon started working for PSLV and GSLV launch operations at Sriharikota, India’s spaceport. Witnessing my first rocket launch in the summer of 2014 was an awe-inspiring moment that I had been waiting for since my teenage years. Watching the massive rocket lifting off like a fireball, and slowly turning into a tiny dot inspired me to go beyond my call of duty. Indeed, it became my motto. Two years after joiningISRO, I became the lead-engineer for PSLV launch operations. In my tenure at ISRO, I led a 30-member cross-functional and cross-cultural team to execute high-stake, real-time launch operations for about 40 successful space missions.

Besides operations, R&D and project management were major aspects of my work. I was lucky to be a part of the team that accomplished many complex space missions for India, a few of which were record-breaking milestones, such as PSLV C37 (that holds the world record of launching the highest number of satellites in a mission), the IRNSS project (India’s regional navigational system), Chandryaan-2 (India’s attempt to soft-land on the south pole of Moon).

I love art and literature as much as I love science. Writing a book was a childhood dream of mine, which I never thought would come true. But that milestone was achieved as well. In October 2019, I published my first poetry collection A Young Petal and Gusty Winds — a collection of poems written at different stages of my life.

After leading operations for six years, I decided to take the next leap in my career, in pursuit of working across geographies and industries. I had to quit what I was doing — designing launch operations for India’s upcoming human space programme, the Gaganyaan. Still, I was willing to make that trade-off to get into the country’s best B-school, IIM Bangalore. My stint at ISRO had prepared me well to take on any form of challenge. I hope that helps me in the roller-coaster ride that I have chosen to be on now!

(The writer is a student of IIM Bangalore’s EPGP 2020-21 batch.)