#mbastory- Interview with Vivek Choudhary, IIM-L student who topped CS exam 2016

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First-year MBA student at IIM Lucknow- Vivek Choudhary has topped the Final Exams of  The Institute of Company Secretaries India (ICSI)- June 2016.

He is a commerce graduate from St Xaviers’ College Kolkata and completed his schooling from Don Bosco School, Liluah.

Snippets of his interaction with mymbastory.com

 Among the manifold career choices, what made you opt for an MBA at that point of time? In retrospect, how would you reflect on your decision?

I belong to that part of the country where every Commerce student do not initially think of anything else other than the courses starting with C*(CA, CS, CFA, CWA….). Even I did the same. But it was only during my internship in EY in Assurance Department that I realised that I was not carved out for this. I was not a detail oriented person who would be satisfied with some routine jobs. Rather, I required intellectual stimulation to keep me going. I loved to look at the larger picture and wanted to be on the other side of the table of an auditor – the one reserved for management and consultants. This motivated me to drop the conservative trajectory and opt for MBA wherein I could look at all the aspects of a business – Finance, HR, Marketing etc.

What were the key aspects of your MBA exam preparation strategy, both for the written test as well as the personal interviews that follow?

I enrolled for tuitions only 5 months before exams since MBA was a sudden decision. Hence, I followed just one approach – go with your strengths and forget the rest. Quant and DI were my strong areas and I went with the same. For VA, I took to reading random articles on various subjects such as psychology, sociology just to get a hang of them. Overall, I believed that “A mock a day keep the fear away”. They are necessary to develop confidence.

I did not take any formal help for my interviews except a few mock sessions in the same tuition centre. I would mostly concentrate on revising one or two core subjects in Finance along with Maths and reading newspapers everyday specially the editorials. It really helped me develop opinions of my own and also give me some “Talking points” in the interview. For practice, I sought help from my cousins who had either done MBA or were doing jobs.

How does the MBA course life transform an individual?

It’s all up to the person to extract the maximum possible. Two and a half months into the IIM and I could already feel the changes in me:

  1. Networking, Relationships and People management: This is your first big learning through tools that professors here regularly employ- random group allocations and various other fun activities including competitions etc. You learn to deal with people from all 29 states speaking different languages and having different backgrounds (freshers, work experience, engineering etc). Networking extends not only to our batchmates but also your immediate seniors and juniors and also with the wonderful alumni base your institute may have.
  2. Practical business ideas: The case study based learning widens your horizon beyond what is mentioned in the books. You learn to appreciate the fact that the best business solutions may not always stem from technical specifications. There are a number of factors at play

In your view, what are factors a student must carefully consider before deciding to embark on the MBA journey? (Aptitude, career aspirations etc.)

Be practical. Sit down for a while and do the following:

  1. Note down at least 20 things that give you immense pleasure or happiness, whatever it may be.
  2. 5 things that you are good at – anything and everything
  3. What kind of a life you want?
  4. List any 5 weakness of yours.
  5. After you are through, align your interests with your skills and see what is the best career option to you and given your current qualification, do you actually require MBA and is it worth 2 years for you. There are some people here who are still unclear what they want from their life. So rather than wasting time and money here, it is better if you spend some time at home and decide.

 

In a nutshell, what would be your advice to future MBA aspirants?

MBA even from an IIM is not a magical wand that shall guarantee you INR 20 lakhs job or an astonishing change in your personality. It comes only to those who are clear about their goals and work towards it. Two years shall fly even before you come to know. Even in a B-school, there are a lot of distractions and a lot of “Gyaan” from your seniors and professors. If you are not clear about what you want to do, you may find yourself heading nowhere. Hence think a thousand times before diving into this program.

 

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