Jagdish Mahapatra, Managing Director of Intel Security in India and SAARC, expounds on the wisdom he got from his MBA degree, which helped him get better at his job.
Where did you get your basic degree from?
I received my bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from University College of Engineering in Burla, Odisha, which is now a part of Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology (VSSUT), Odisha.
What about your MBA? Where and when did you pursue the degree?
I completed my Masters in Management Studies (MMS) from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Science, Mumbai, as a part of the 1996-98 batch.
Has your MBA helped you in your corporate life at all? If so, how?
Gaining a formal training in management has helped me grow as a professional. One of the key benefits that management training has offered is the evolution of my thought process and this now gives me the ability to accept diverse perspectives. This is a key lesson that I have implemented in my professional life too and it helps me acknowledge a variety of opinions on issues and construct unique solutions.
What have been the key learnings?
Being a part of various team projects as a part of the course curriculum and meeting deadlines for multiple class assignments, helped me become a collaborative and cooperative team member, especially while meeting timelines. Considering that these three key learnings play a vital role in my corporate life as lead for Intel Security in India and SAARC, I am glad to have acquired it from academics.
If you had to re-visit your MBA, what would you like to see as a part of your course?
These days, I see college students being more exposed to real life projects and being given the opportunity to meet and work with experienced industry mentors. As a life-long learner, if I get another chance to revisit my MBA, then I’d definitely want that kind of value addition. Meeting people outside the campus gives one an idea of how the industry functions in real-time and is a great networking strategy to meet industry veterans, who can become mentors.
What have been the chief ingredients in your success?
I believe focus, people connect and perseverance are three chief ingredients for success. With focus comes perseverance to achieve more in the corporate world. And for any sector to succeed, I believe connecting with people and partners is vital. But this is also an outward facing success mantra. A sound understanding of consumer needs and collaboratively working as team to address those needs, helps create a lasting value proposition that consumers value.
What have been your best and worst moments?
My worst moment was when I didn’t get my dream job during campus placements. But every moment after that has been a great one for me. During my career, I’ve had the pleasure of working at companies that are leaders in their spaces, be it Cisco, Godrej Pacific or L&T. Today, at Intel Security, I work with an award winning team and I am proud to have played a part in building and nurturing them.
What would be your advice to young MBAs joining the corporate sector?
‘Learn to Unlearn’ — it is a cyclic process where an individual learns new things, implements those learnings at work, unlearns old rules and principles, relearns new ones, and the cycle repeats itself. In this way, not only can one stay ahead of industry trends, but he/she can also adapt to newer ways of working.
Are you happy with the way the MBA is structured / taught today?
I am not updated with their courses today, although I understand there is more industry interface. That said, I think this needs to be a significant proportion of the curriculum so as to prepare students for the real world. The more they are exposed to the corporate life, the less time it would take for them to swim when they are finally thrown into the deep end.
What would you advise young MBAs to read?
More than anything, I’d say just read ! Inculcate a habit of reading magazines like Time and Economist that provide a global perspective. It is imperative that future leaders familiarise themselves with a macro worldview.
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