Mandar is a CA Gold Medalist, All India 1st Rank Holder at all 3 exams of CA-PE I, PE II, Final
He also cleared CIMA- Professional Gateway Exam May 13 – All India 4th Rank and Globally 12th Rank – 83% and is also CPA Australia
He is currently GM-Treasury at Reliance Jio Infocomm, post 2 years into prestigious Leadership Program of RIL, having earlier had stints into entrepreneurship, HUL, Sharp and Tannan, Tata Group and Mondelez
Snippets of his interaction with #mycastory
Among the manifold career choices, what made you opt for CA at that point of time? In retrospect, how would you reflect on your decision?
Being a merit ranker throughout my school years and a National Talent Search Scholar, choosing science over any other stream would have been a “Natural” choice. However I had already decided to become a Chartered Accountant in grade 8 and hence ended up choosing commerce which came as a surprise to many. Moreover my father was working with one of the State Government Undertaking as GM Finance and was hence well acquainted with the commerce stream. The competency of the exam and nobility of the profession attracted me towards CA. (Also the fact that I didn’t quite like Science!!)
Apart from the above, the perfect combination of post qualification prospects, competency, economy of the curriculum, brand-recognition, and social reputation reaffirmed my belief to become a Chartered Accountant.
In retrospect, I am thankful to my father for allowing me to follow my interest. There could not have been any better career choice than becoming a CA.
What were the key aspects of your CA exam preparation strategy?
Typically as students we tend to have inclination only towards our favourite subjects and choose to under-prepare others. This attitude does not help us in cracking a professional examination course. I ensured that I tackle the most difficult subject first and put my entire energy on simplifying it so that I overcome my fear about that subject. It saved me from any lop sided preparations.
I prepared my own notes which were crisp enough to revise in a short time but comprehensive enough to revise entire syllabus through them.
A major part of my CA studies were effectively done with a group of friends. The process of discussions, brainstorming sessions and debates helped me compete and excel effectively in the subject.
How does the CA course life transform an individual?
CA course asks for mental toughness, disciplined approach and multi – tasking abilities. Without any doubts it ingrained all these qualities in me and made me a better person personally as well.
The internship opportunity allowed me to get an exposure to corporate world at an early age.
The three stage exam process with GMCS and IT Training equipped me to have consistent and focused approach in whatever I chose to do later.
They say, the day you become CA is the most difficult day of your life as a student. The tag “CA” casts a lot of responsibility on you. I had the exact feeling on the day of my final results and since then I always think of appropriate conduct and behaviour in my personal, professional and social life. The realisation that I had become the torch bearer of the profession transformed me to become more aware and responsible person in all walks of life.
Can you please share an interesting experience in course of your post-CA professional career?
After securing First Rank in all three examinations of CA, expectations of everyone around me were at peak, even though I was always much grounded. Whatever I choose to do even today and whichever organisation I join, I always get an advice on “why are you here?”, “you could have got much better job than this”.
I used to get amused at such reactions. Later I realised that people will always have higher expectations from you. In fact at times, we over expect a lot of things from our own self. On the contrary, we need to be confident about each path that we choose and continue to pursue it without getting perturbed by such noise.
Another interesting question I always read on peoples’ mind was about the “amount” of money that I earned. Globally people are extremely paranoid about money. Rather it is an end for many instead of means to achieve higher goals. The job profiles and our roles in the organisation surely matter more than the money that we earn is a belief that I have inherited from my father.
In your view, what are factors a student must carefully consider before deciding to embark on the CA journey? (Aptitude, career aspirations etc.)
I think it’s the “perfect combination” mentioned in the answer to Q.1 above. Students and their mentors need to assess all these factors before embarking on this course. Many a times cost or peer pressure plays significant role in such decisions disregarding the competency, consistency in efforts and time commitment required to complete the course. Students should take an informed decision since there is no point leaving the course mid- way.
In a nutshell, what would be your advice to future CA aspirants?
Please have a goal for yourself apart from becoming a CA i.e. ask yourself why you want to become a CA and remind yourself of that motive to become a CA always when you de focus from your studies. Single minded efforts to reach the goal will surely help in reaching the destination.