15 Jan 2021 17:57 IST

‘MBA teaches you how to influence without authority’

You develop a more balanced perspective towards business situations which becomes supremely relevant

Luv Rustagi is Senior Product Manager at Amazon. The electrical engineer from IIT Roorkee did his MBA from the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s SPJIMR, Mumbai. Here he talks about the impact of Covid-19 on his job, making a career shift, and learnings from his MBA.

 

Luv Rustagi

 

 

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

I worked for three years after completing electrical engineering from IIT Roorkee. During that time period, I realised that my interests were more closely aligned with the digital and software domain rather than electrical engineering. It was not easy to switch tracks from core manufacturing to software/IT, as the three-year work experience that I had was irrelevant to the software world. So, to start from scratch, I decide to do an MBA, which will enable me to grow as a professional, and then allow me to potentially switch domains.

Describe your work experience

I had joined Nestle India in an automation role for capital expansion projects post engineering. In my three-year stint, I transitioned from Assistant electrical engineer to Project Manager.

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

I am a Senior Product Manager at Amazon. My role entails developing of web-based tools for digital agencies that help manage the advertising accounts for brands and sellers on Amazon.

The pandemic has had a pronounced effect on e-commerce. What started as an essentials focused online buying spree, has now transformed into a shift in buying behaviour cascading across categories. The positive effect on advertising is a by-product of higher demand for brands selling online.

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?

IIT Roorkee

 

 

My engineering degree and work experience post that were the building blocks of my career. Even today, I find many of my instincts related to planning and execution are shaped by what I learned in a high intensity project environments. The MBA, on the other hand, has helped me mature as a professional and develop a more balanced perspective towards business situations.

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

As a product management professional, I have to influence a multitude of stakeholders ranging from customers, partners, and technology teams, without having a tangible sense of direct authority over them. The ability to influence without authority is one of the key tenets that one imbibes at SPJIMR, which is supremely relevant now.

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?

I think in addition to subject knowledge, if B-schools can enable young graduates to understand career management better, it will make a significant difference. Career management is achieving a fine balance between one's skills and long-term financial and professional aspirations — which is easier said than done. While there is no single path to an ideal career, some guidance on career management will definitely help young graduates to take the right calls as they step out into the corporate world.

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

My advice to prospective candidates will be to look at MBA as a holistic experience. They should enrol into an MBA aspiring to grow as an individual as well as a professional. MBA is a great place to develop group behaviours, be it academic study groups or teams formed for competitions. Another highlight of B-school education is the industry exposure, where candidates should strive to know as much as they can about different businesses.

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