We caught up with Gaurav Mehrotra, MBA from NMIMS Mumbai (2013-15 Batch ). He has recently authored his first novel and was kind enough to share his insights with us on MBA, life and the road ahead !
1. Hello Gaurav, warm welcome to IdeasMakeMarket.com. Tell us something about your journey so far.
Thank you for having me here on IdeasMakeMarket. I would be lying if I say that it hasn’t been an interesting journey so far. Rather that would be an understatement. Having shuffled across a slew of schools and cities, I have been able to come across people who have helped me mold into the person I am today. Though probably, the thing that helped me develop my personality was the game of Lawn Tennis, with which I am absolutely in love to this date. Apart from Tennis, I also picked up the hobbies of Reading and irritating the hell out of people worse than Ashutosh from AAP, which have yet to desert me as well.
Corny attempt at joke aside, luck has played an integral part in shaping my career trajectory. I would have to say, that if at all the crucial moments where I would have traversed off in a different direction, if fate wouldn’t have had it, then I would have not been in the field of studies, let alone be an engineer, neither would I have made it to a consulting firm like E&Y after completing my engineering, nor would I have been able to do my MBA from NMIMS. So, even if I do not appreciate him bouncing me around faster than Michael Jordan ever did a basketball, Luck or Fate or Destiny has shaped my life hugely.
2. Prior to your MBA, you have worked with consulting firms like E&Y. How has that shaped your personality?
It’s an interesting thing, working in a consulting firm in terms of how they shape you just through the enormous exposure they provide you with. Mostly people view Consultants as White Collared Sales Machines designed to lie and sell honey-coated brain-schemes to head honchos of firms, who already know about these schemes, but aren’t ready to accept it. That’s true to an extent. What goes amiss is the amount of confidence and perseverance it takes to sell these schemes to a CXO level person. They are the thick skinned people, who have reached the reached the summit, after proverbially selling ice to Eskimos themselves. This interaction, although I had extremely limited myself, helps you in both these aspects, not to mention, learning how to work harder, although probably not as much as an Entrepreneur, or an Investment Banker, or All India Bakchod trying to prove that Ranveer Singh should be the poster-child of AIDS across the world.
3. Tell us about your MBA life at NMIMS, Mumbai. What have you loved the most?
That is a loaded question because I do have many moments that left an indelible mark. The bro-hug on stage during the induction with one of my roomies, the Joker act during Manan, the way I went into both the companies, be it Summers or Finals, the complete 2 years with Ecolibria, it is a kaleidoscope of intermingling memories. And it was all over before I even started to get the hang of it all, how to actually balance everything out during the most important phase of my life. And even though there were many moments across these 2 years, the absolute favorite were the moments of camaraderie I was able to spend with 2 teams, one being official team as the dramatics club (and not cell) in Rangpunch, and the other as the self-proclaimed team of Athenians. Every moment that went in rehearsals, and then converting that hard work into performance with the Rangpunch, and seeing all those absolutely fantastic talents, who probably would be more successful if they went to the field of dramatics, and being a part of that team, was absolutely thrilling. Simultaneously, all those people with whom I worked with and found glory in success and Roadies type bitching in failures, paved way for a glorious ride, one which was both educating as well as exhilarating at the same time. So, those 2 bits would be my favorite ones.
4. You were also at the forefront of student activities at NMIMS, Mumbai. What are the challenges you have encountered?
I wouldn’t really say forefront as I truly enjoy the backseat, which does provide room for filling out, the biggest challenge that anyone could face is trying to get a team action-ready for a particular task. I do mention action-ready, and not merely ready, as it is highly critical to differentiate them in my opinion. Merely ready would be something that one can recognize with Mr. Rahul Gandhi, who is always ready to do something. It’s just that something never pans out the way he wants. For the action part, I don’t think we must look any further than our beloved Thalaiva, Rajnikanth. What action. But that’s just about it (I am leaving out the style). Or Chuck Norris. So, you got to have both your elements in place when you need to get team ready for a particular task. Not only you must have a definite Plan A, and a backup Plan B and C, but you must also be able to get everyone motivated enough, which is difficult since everyone has their own priorities, to perform that task. Thankfully, I found a great team in Ecolibria, who at every point of time, not only supported me completely, but performed every task with their utmost capabilities beyond their calling.
5. One incident or key learning you would like to share with the MBA aspirants & readers
Well that would have to be the incident which basically set in stone my career path forever, and that was the day KPMG entered our campus for Summer Placements. They were offering 2 profiles, in Corporate Finance and Strategy. I have short-listed for the former with my interest being for the latter. Hence I decided to tank the GD and I duly informed the group about my intentions. My strategy was to be a Butcher, i.e. shout like a madman twice or thrice (the GD being only for 3 minutes), say something without logic, and basically go against everyone. I did the same. However, I was the only person to be selected from my GD group. To say, the next time I saw met those guys, one of whom was my room-mate, it was extremely uncomfortable, especially since I was later shifted to Strategy profile and got through. If that wouldn’t have happened, I am certain that my career trajectory would have certainly been different, and probably of someone else’s as well. I would like to take this space hence, to offer an unconditional apology to those who were a part of that group, especially since I did not had the courgae to say it then.
Also, as every major incident provides us some learnings, here are few of mine:
- The coaching centres (TIME, Career Launcher, etc.) might teach you that shouting out and going against the grain gets you booted out of a GD. That’s a lie! I repeat, that is a lie! Sometimes.
- If you are going to tank a GD, shut up about it, and do not open your mouth like Tyrion Lannister!
- If you are going to be a blabbering buffoon, and tell everyone about it, at least let them know how you plan to do it, so that everyone can prepare accordingly.
- Why the hell would you try and tank a GD anyway?
6. You have recently authored a book. Tell us more about it?
Well, as much as I would like to say that my book is a new age classic, which brings into the literature world a whole new genre, it doesn’t. It is a romantic-comedy, which is the story of an everyday engineer (read mine). However, since it is loosely based on my life, the Romance part is completely fictional, while the Comedy part and rest of the miscellaneous emotions are more or less all the incidents that I encountered during my engineering life. Now, it may sound like a run-of-the-mill idea or a straight up thing from the land of Chetan Bhagat, I would assure everyone, that in terms of execution, it would be very different than all of the books that people have come across in this genre. And it starts with the title of the book itself, “1610 Rickoculous Moments”. Honestly, even I don’t know how I am going to define the phrase Rickoculous (which has its roots, heritage and culture deeply embedded in the word Ridiculous). So, without divulging any intricate details of the plot (there aren’t any), I would simply ask the readers to pick up the book and enjoy the ride.
7. Apart from studies and writing, what else interests you?
I hope that by studies you meant reading books, as anyone who knows my CGPA (or percentage) in college knows that studies is something that I only enjoy if it isn’t academic related. However, if we take these 2 out, I really am left with a list of activities which I can probably count on my hands. Top of that list would be drawing, playing, either on my Playstation or on my laptop, creating Memes, and eating (as of this moment, I cannot possibly think of any other activity at all). However, they are still something that which still form an iota of the time that I spend on reading or writing something (this is where my eating has been gaining on rest of the activities as evident with my bulging waist line), and I continue and plan to increase them with every passing day.
8. What are your future plans? Author, Job or something else?
I sincerely hope that this isn’t a question of what are your short term and long term goals. Thankfully, I was never once asked about them in any of my interviews. But in any case, being a writer is something that is definitely on the radar. I have given myself the year of 2020, by which time I should be able to settle into my career as a worshiper of the quill, with no plan B in mind. However, as previously stated, I have had my plans changed, sometimes completely tangentially, with some assistance to Mr. Fate. So, in case it doesn’t happen, I would not be surprised or disappointed. However, at the end of the day, if I am able to become a writer, then years, or decades down the line, all I wish to say when asked “Are you still in love with books and writing, after all these years?”, is “Always!”
Ideasmakemarket.com and its team wishes you success and a great career ahead ! Thank yor sharing your valuable insights and experiences.