It’s become rather fashionable for people to complain that our IITs and IIMs have failed to produce any Steve Jobs or Bill Gates . I hear it like a broken record particularly in TOI forums (I can empathize if you don’t read TOI, neither do I; but the comments are pure entertainment, a must read if you are bored), fueled no doubt by Aamir Khan’s redoubtable portrayal of the most condescending self righteous character in the history of Indian cinema, Rancho of 3 Idiots.
Lets sit back and think for a moment. Did Steve Jobs and Bill Gates do their work in isolation? Did they single handedly make the computer revolution? The answer is NO. They sure made a huge contribution but to make that contribution possible they had a support ecosystem, a thriving technological and economic climate not just in their country but particularly more so in the region they lived. Continue reading
Why interning at a startup would be a bad idea for bschool grads
Just read this (http://www.pluggd.in/why-interning-with-startups-should-be-made-compulsory-at-b-schools-297/) at pluggd.in where the author, Bhavya Sahani, tries to make a case for the idea of b-school grads interning at startups.
The author basically says that interning at a startup would help a relatively inexperienced student discover his/her core strength instead of going for the popular choice. He of the opinion that the more experienced students at a bschool (and most Indian bschools have relatively inexperienced students. I myself have no work experience) would have a better idea of their strengths and tend to not follow the herd when making career decisions while the inexperienced ones never get to figure out their core competency. While I agree that experienced students do show more maturity in making career decisions, it is not uncommon for an IT guy ending up with a job in a pure marketing role at an FMCG firm. It is also possible that the experienced students are so accustomed to their prior field that they there is an inertia against trying something new (though admittedly I haven’t seen that happening with students in my batch).
MBA (more so General Management which is what is offered by the IIMs), is one of those occasions in one’s career where one can make a drastic move, and rediscover one’s core competencies. Just because you joined an IT or energy firm right after engineering, where choices are limited, does not mean you have to necessarily stick with it. Besides, even after 3-4 years of work ex after undergrad one hardly gets to experience a broad spectrum of roles to be able to make a proper choice about one’s core competencies. One works within a relatively rigid set of parameters on a very specific role, hardly gets to interact with client much less drive client engagement. But the first year of MBA helps one discover what they like – I thought I could not like anything other than Operations but my favourite subjects have been those in Economics and Marketing while others who thought they would not be able to stand anything other than Finance were happy to take up Consulting or General Management(well to be frank the lack luster hiring by I-banks do have a role to play here).
So why can’t a startup internship help one figure out their core competency? Simply put, an 2 month internship just wont be enough. Startups are too chaotic and unstructured for one to figure things out fast. Continue reading
IIM-A conducts an Entrepreneurship fair every year where it invites select startups across multiple sectors to interact with the students and hopefully convince some of these students to work with them during for their summer internship. There is usually a decent mix of companies; tech startups are obviously there along with a lot of Edu startups (looks like a Edu bubble there to me), energy and a few financial ones as well. To be frank, I was kind of disappointed by the turn out the previous year and so this year my hopes weren’t very high. By far, the only firm I was looking forward to was Zomato and that too because I was interested in the new API they released rather than any work opportunity with them. You might find a comparison of Zomato and Burrp API on this blog sometime in the next few weeks. So yeah, I went to the Zomato booth and had a nice chat with it’s COO Pankaj Chaddha. I love their site and I am looking forward to more stuff from them. There were quite a few other cool startups as well and it would be great if some of the students did join these firms for their summers. Continue reading