If you are among the many Indian students who are troubled by this question, this blog post is for you. Today, we introduce you to Mr. Bishnu Mohanty. Bishnu is a Schulich India MBA student and is about to graduate in June 2013. Bishnu has been successful in securing a position with the prestigious Mondelēz International, Inc as the Product Allocation Analyst.
With his cheerful personality, helpful nature and hands-on work ethic, it is no wonder he is one of the first students to secure a job from the Schulich India MBA batch 2012-13. So, let’s find out more about the guy and the secrets of his success.
Hi, Bishnu! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My story is not drastically different from many Indian students – B. Tech. in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering followed by 6 years in IT. If you try to build a relationship between these two fields, the best way to answer is anything can be linked to IT and that’s how the system in India works 🙂
In my spare time, I love to play tennis, pool, watch cricket (as many of us Asians do 🙂 ) and experiment with my culinary skills.
As a person, I am very helpful, approachable and at the same time, I believe in giving back. So feel free to reach out to me any time with any questions/concerns you have and I would be more than happy to help you with the best of information I have.
Tell us about your work experience prior to joining Schulich.
I joined IBM after my undergrad in 2005 as a SAP Consultant and then after two years moved into US in a client-facing role where I was leading a team as a subject matter expert. My work involved both technical and functional elements in it – I was responsible for understanding business requirements, identifying bottlenecks and recommending as well as implementing solutions and best practices. I was with IBM until the end of 2011 when I decided to do my MBA.
Why did you pick Schulich India MBA?
After working for 6 years, I felt the urge to pursue a career path where I could be more influential, both to the people and the organization, in terms of decision making. Since I was working in North America, I wanted to pursue a North American MBA. At the same time, since I was away from home for so many years, I had some personal commitments to take care of. This program gave me the best of both worlds – I could take up my commitments as well as do my MBA while spending some quality time with my family too.
And how do you feel about that decision now?
To me, given my circumstances, I do believe this was the best decision I could have taken.
Which was the one class that you enjoyed the most during your MBA?
There is, of course, more than one class that I liked. MBA in India program gets the best of professors and it was really a privilege to be a part of their class. If I were to specifically point some out, I would say Skills for Leadership, Corporate Finance, Applied International Economics and Marketing Management are a few of the best courses I took while in India.
What are some of the key things you learned that you’d like to share with us?
Apart from academic learning (which is a key takeaway), I would say MBA has given me a completely different perspective all together. One of the best things I have learned is that we can go much beyond what we think is our capacity. This program just makes you so confident that you can very well claim, “It’s not the sky, it’s something beyond it that’s the limit”. Another thing that I would like to say is MBA really teaches you the concept of “framing and reframing” which makes you a much better individual because it enables you to look at the same problem from different lenses which enhances the chances of success by many folds. MBA is no spring board to success. It just empowers you with a complete set of tools which you will eventually have to use sensibly to get success in your career.
You’ve successfully completed the job hunting process. Can you tell us what differences did you find in the process in Canada/North America vs. in India?
The way job market works in Canada is substantially different from that of India. While in India the concept of campus hiring is still pretty strong and students land jobs even when they are half way through their course, it’s very different here. It’s more of a people relationship thing that matters over anything else – they call it an Aeroplane test. If the interviewer feels he can spend 8 hours beside you in a plane, probably you are half way through your recruitment process.
Rest of the interview steps are the remaining 50% of the journey. So you need to come up as a people person if you need to establish your foot in this job market. Hence, meet as many people as possible and expand your circle as much as you can because, at the end of the day, an interview slot of 30 minutes might not be enough to bring out these key attributes in you before the interviewer. But if they know you beforehand (directly or indirectly), that could help.
But of course, along with networking, keep working towards improving your resume and becoming comfortable with case and personal interviews.
Schulich has got fantastic resources to help you, such as Vault. So extract the most out of it.
Our readers are prospective as well as current students. Can you share with us what specific activities (e.g. internship, one-on-one networking etc.) helped you in your job hunt and which did not?
Along with networking, the other thing that helped me was a couple of live projects I took during my supply chain courses. They gave me the real life industry exposures in the business world which came up as an interesting point in my resume. Internships do give this opportunity to students, but this was a drawback of the MBA in India program (as previously it was a 18 month program) considering that Canadian experience is what employers potentially look for. So, I would tell students to try and get involved in as many of events as possible, not only through CDC but also through the groups on LinkedIn, webinars etc.
I did make some strong contacts from the Club and CDC networking events, which I believe also helped me in finding my way. This networking is a time consuming process in itself. But you need to remember, you just need to find that right guy for you from amongst all your contacts, because in the end, you need just one job. You’ll come across your key person sooner or later. It’s just a matter of time and your efforts. So start early and meet career counsellors at CDC for continuous feedback. For students from MBA in India program, you could still reach out to them over Skype meetings etc. So, DO NOT wait until you come to Canada.
Any final message for our readers?
It’s a good program to be in. You will get the best professors, fantastic support and guidance from Imran and Ashwin. And trust me, your cohort will share the closest of bonding amongst everything even after you come to Canada. But try to go out of your comfort zone and make new friends too. As I mentioned earlier, lacking Canadian internship and, to some level, networking opportunities are the drawbacks of this program as you are not physically present in Canada during the first year of your studies. So, for people with no or very few years of experience (say 3 years or so), I would recommend EITHER of the following: go for the full-time Toronto program to overcome these challenges (because I believe people with less experience face the maximum heat) OR push yourself hard enough to make yourself competitive against your peers in Toronto (the second piece is applicable for every one though 🙂 ).