17 Dec 2020 21:18 IST

‘MBA gives you perspective to understand on-ground realities’

My MBA gave me strong sales management skills

Gargi Khaund, an MBA from TA Pai Management Institute (TAPMI) and engineering graduate, speaks about tackling coronavirus-related problems at work, and B-school learnings that shaped her journey.

How did you decide to pursue the management field after electrical engineering?

During my engineering, I realised that this was not the field I would want to get into or work in. I wanted to, instead, broaden my horizon, and get into business studies. Then, I decided to pursue a management degree, which helped me get into a career I had imagined.

Did you have work experience before you enrolled for an MBA?

Yes, I worked for two and a half years at Tata Consultancy Services as a business analyst and a business development representative.

What does your role entail currently, and how has the pandemic affected your nature of the job?

I lead corporate sales for South of India (upcountry) and Sri Lanka at Google Cloud. My role entails running a book of business while growing and expanding the same. It also involves acquiring new customers and meeting a specific, new business goal. 

Selling has to be done entirely remotely because of the pandemic. Also, the customers' are thinking twice before making any new investments in technology. However, the impact is much lesser in tech compared to various other industries such as travel, hospitality, and retail. One good thing is that customers are looking at avoiding Capex in technology, and that has helped Cloud to acquire new customers.

Looking back at both your engineering degree and your MBA, how would you say that it is helping you in your work life and career now, if at all?

I think my engineering degree laid a strong foundation for some of the analytical capabilities that are required in my job today. However, I would say my MBA degree has helped me a lot in acquiring B2B sales management skills, team working skills, and persevering towards my work goals. MBA has also helped hone my interpersonal skills.

What are the B-school learnings that you are applying to in your work?

A B-school, apart from providing subject knowledge and preparing you for the business environment, most importantly, gives you perspective to be able to understand the on-ground situation and apply your knowledge aptly. TAPMI has taught me how to take accountability, handle pressure, and sharpened my multi-tasking skills.

Do you think there was something missing when you did your engineering and MBA that you feel should have been included/taught? And which would have helped you in your work life?

The curriculum of the courses are designed to make an individual a subject/domain expert in the discipline of his/her choice, and that is, no doubt required, valued in corporates. However, your work life is not limited to subject knowledge. 

Self-confidence, an individual’s risk-taking appetite, interactions between a varied group of people, is something students need to be taught and made aware of, in a more structured and practical manner. I think that would lead to a better transition from a college ecosystem to a workplace environment.  

What would you like to say to students looking to pursue an MBA?

Business schools teach you the general know-how of business and conditions you to be able to fit into the corporate environment while imbibing the necessary traits of discipline, diligence, integrity and decision-making. However, the learnings you imbibe depends on your personality and personal goals, too. B-school will guide you through the dos and donts needed in the industry, and the right B-school will support you through this journey. But, the walk will always be your own to walk.