Believing is Seeing : Give your 100%, do not worry about the results – Himanshu Vaishnav, IIM Calcutta

In the next part of the series, ,”Believing is Seeing”, I am going to carry a few personal stories of youngsters who have realized their immediate dream, of securing their admissions in their dream institution. I asked each one of them to write a personal note on

a. What are the key factors that contributed to their success

b. In what ways has the personalized program (PDPP) benefited them

c. What would each like to share with the youngersters who aspire to get into these institutions

Here is a note by Himanshu Vaishnav, who heads to IIM Calcutta (IIMC) this year.

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Career Launcher – A Wingman in my journey to IIM Calcutta

“Sir’, I don’t have any achievements to show, how I’m going to crack IIM interview?”
I asked my Mentor in Career launcher.

2 Months Later
“You have achieved a lot in your life and you should be proud of yourself” – said IIM C interviewer to me.

(A link to my IIM Calcutta interview experience is at bottom)

So what changed in these 2 months? The answer is my attitude towards life.
Let me introduce myself.

WP_20130709_085I’m an average engineer from an average engineering college (YMCAUST Faridabad) with average academics (Average as per IIMs criteria). After completing B.Tech in 2013, I joined Infosys, worked there for 2.5 years, later switched to Genpact. I had given CAT earlier but didn’t score much but I was more confident this time. And I did get a good score and got calls from IIM C, K, L, S.

To be honest, when I started preparing for the CAT, it was more because of a rat race rather than any other reason. So when results came, I got scared how I’m going to convert these calls, and as I had taken a test series earlier from CL, so I joined career launcher for my Interview preparation. And my expectation from the program was that they will teach me exact answers to questions like Why MBA (Most imp question). But it was nowhere close to that.

Later I came to realize why program name is PDP – Personality Development Program instead of GD-PI preparation. Mentor assigned to me were Sreeni Sir. The first class I attended of him was an eye opener for me, he showed a glimpse of how the world is going to change in next 5 to 10 years. And how important it is for us to be aware of these things.

When I wanted to prepare for my interview, he told me to forget about it and first understand myself, introspect and go through my life journey till now. And what are the things that are in my circle of concern and circle of influence? Sreeni Sir always said: MBA should not be an end rather a means to an end.

All the session which I attended – online or offline- of Sreeni Sir, GP Sir, Shivku Sir or anyone had a common theme, they didn’t want to prepare us for an interview but for life. They wanted to find us our goals, our vision in life not just an answer for the interview.

After a lot of introspection, I did find my vision – things I want to do in life and luckily MBA is going to help me achieve me that. But I became sure of one thing, MBA is just a means to achieve that, and even if I’m not going to get selected, I will find another way but still pursue my dream.

I also came to realize an achievement is something you achieve overcoming the hurdles which need not be always some competition with others. I had very humble beginnings but I definitely wasn’t an underachiever. I have become more confident in my abilities.

My perspective towards life has changed a lot in these few months. Now I try to look more into the bigger picture. I try to look at things if they fit according to my values. And this is not something I borrowed from outside, but it was always there inside me and I gained it back.

One of important realization I had is, an MBA interview is not a platform for the interviewer to ask you questions but it’s an opportunity for us to tell them our life story, and from that story, they are going to check how well we know our story and ourselves. Our aptitude has been already checked in the exam, and now they are just going to check our commitment/Attitude towards our life.

There were sessions on the economy, current affairs, and other things as well but for me, most important were the things I have mentioned earlier.

So my advice to all future aspirants is- Find Yourself. Then any interview will be a cakewalk (not necessarily the results 😛 ) And I’m quite sure that people like Satya Sir, Sreeni Sir, GP Sir, Shivku Sir and Gejo Sir can surely help you to move towards the right direction.

click here IIMC Interview Link to know about what I went through in the interview:

Luckily I have converted my IIM C call. And if someone ask me what is one thing that worked for me, My answer is I focused on myself: my story, my journey, my areas of interest and my goals.

Try to give your 100% and don’t worry about results. Even if hadn’t been selected, I would not have been sad or disappointed for more than 2 days and would have started my journey again.

“Always Focus on Character instead of Personality.”
Carpe Diem!!!!

You can reach out to me on below:
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“Widen your horizons, build a well-rounded personality” – S K Munjal exhorts the youth at CL’s Career Junction

Career Junction @ constitution club, New DelhiSri S K Munjal, Vice-chair, Hero motorcorp, extolling the youth at Career Junction

INDIA is a very very interesting place to be today
– Every govt has done better than the previous one

– When we got independence, we called ourselves socialist democratic country, with market economy; very unusual and one of its kind
– It was a bipolar world, founders of non- aligned movement
– It address the needs of people and meets the needs of people
– We followed five year plan, borrowed from then USSR

– Everything was licensed, where, even quantity to be produced was also mentioned
– efficiency was penalized; greater production was penalized
– industry created liaising; how to get license, and how not to allow others from getting it
– monopolistic markets formed
– quality, consistency, choice, etc customer had no choice
– in 60-70s .. 2% GDP growth rate…Hindu growth rate
– Historically, a couple of hundred years ago, we were growing at 20% china grew at 30%

– Soon, India will be the single largest, in population
– we need to find an employment for 12-15 million people year on year for next 20 years
– We run a school in Ludhiana, for children of industrial workers, all come from UP, Bihar
– we are encouraging people to bring families, so that children get educated
– in the last year 12 in the top 50 of the state, last to last year state topper
– I am sharing this coz, if not for such opportunities, these would have never been benefitted

– if one of you becomes an entrepreneur, you will create jobs; imagine what one can do
– Now 8 year olds, 11-12 year olds are becoming entrepreneurs
– education gives added advantage

– We are trying to build a university that will be nursery for world leaders
– We bring in leaders and corporates to create learning experiences

– A large part of our economy comes from services
– Manufacturing is 16%
– Agriculture creates less and less jobs, we need tech, systems and process to make it better
– We are the largest producer of veg, milk, ….
– We are low on yield
– 54% of population still dependent on agriculture

– Every manufacturing job creates, 6 services jobs… Whole host of activities get created
– If we are to grow in every sense, it is expected that in real terms 3rd largest economy in 13 years
– Opportunities are immense
– there are areas within manufacturing that are large multipliers
– the policies on infrastructure creation can make a huge difference
– You create industrial complexes, suppliers, institutions…..entrepreneurs..
– Auto motive complex attracts ancillaries, suppliers
– In the US – steel, auto motives, home were in the order…..
– Example – 107 companies produces stuff for home infra
– Lack of infra, red tape, corruption are putting India down

– One of the recommendations made is to change interfaces between govt and industry, govt and people
– Get rid off all human human interaction. Get technology for interface…
– Please only looks at the best and better it; look at the country and better it …
– starting the companies..let us better Singapore; Law, better than Malaysia..
– you should be able to go and settle anywhere in the country

– plan your work, work your plan
– have passion, you can cover all the handicaps
– if you are driven by passion, no time limits
– today ministers are working overtime
– ‘why should not we be a 20 trillion dollar economy’ – Modi said; very inspiring, a profound statement
– biggest problems gives best opportunities

– infra is the biggest problems…..largest conceived Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor
– high speed rail network corridor….100 Kim’s of industrial belt, smart cities
– smart cities are planned cities
– we have created only 5 cities in 60 years, china has built Over 100
– these cities will have tech, energy, food, logistics, places and work close, efficient mass transport system; water management systems… Clusters
– 7 seven smart cities have been signed
– modeled after Tokyo-Osaka corridor
– kol- Amritsar, Bangalore-chennai
– airports, highways
– waterways

– find opportunity for yourselves
– Abraham Lincoln failed so many times before becoming the President of the US
– Sunil Mittal failed seven times,….look at their perseverance,
– Sunil changed every model to become the best model in the world..

– You experiment with life..take sensible risks
– do not take wild gamble, take smart gamble
– opportunities in the new economy are new
– ecommerce companies valued higher than retail companies
– tech and communication is breaking all the barriers
– we are servicing the world
– we have opportunities; are literally all around us
– food processing, transportation; water, education, financial education
– SIP – saving and investment plan is an interesting

– 16% of world’s gold is in India lying idle??? if we can convert an instrument in making this financial opportunity
– world class companies have huge percentage of Indians
– never teach any one the answers, always ask them questions, so they go to find answers

– widen your horizons.. Learn about liberal arts, humanities
– Work towards lateral thinking, well balanced and well-rounded personality.

Wishing you all the very best.

‘Skilling India is a national imperative’ – Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite and sweet 16 too.

Matchless Sanjay, always sweet 16. An Inspiring Leader.

Matchless Sanjay, always sweet 16. An Inspiring Leader.

Dear Sanjay, The last couple of months, ever since I got to know about your decision of exploring new challenges and pastures beyond Career Launcher, I have been having a feeling of losing one of my vital organs and being incapacitated. I could not reconcile to the fact that you will not be there shoulder to shoulder in the endeavours, every day. But, I am sure, you will be a CL-ite in spirit and letter for life time.

I still recall the early days, 1998, when we used to meet at the gate of Balwant Rai Mehta school, GK-II, for taking CAT prep-classes. We used to share jokes and had a good laugh, as well as having intense interactions about how to go about in a particular session, and we swapped classes in between too at times. Your contribution to expanding the CL horizons geographically, strategically and spiritually is beyond compare. You have left indelible marks in the journey and an enviable benchmarks, very few can match. I salute you and your steadfastness.

All the memories of this long journey together, are very cherished ones for me, and will be there for life. I am sharing here your parting note, that came into my mail box, talking about future of India and our responsibility. Thanks Sanjay for everything and being there. Love you Sanjay.

The captures of Sanjay’s farewell at CL HO, Greater Noida.

Srijan 2012 - Seventy nodal locations, entire CL FamilySanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite
Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite
Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite
Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions capturedSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions capturedSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions capturedSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions captured

———Sanjay’s note in first person – Skilling India is a national imperative —–

Last week I took some personal time out to visit rural skill development centers in two backward districts of Orissa. Besides the obvious, I was glad to note the not so obvious. Entrepreneurship, specially in challenging circumstances must depend on creativity and out of the box thinking and in such circumstances one must look, figuratively speaking, in the dark corners of the room rather than in the areas that are well lit.

While the obvious is, well, so obvious; rural youth learning computers, gaining skills to become household electricians or car engine mechanics or training to work in hotel kitchens, etc. I was glad to note the other emerging story. The trainers or faculty were young men and women who were themselves degree or diploma holders from local engineering colleges and polytechnics. It was heart warming to meet with a BE Electrical graduate of 2008 who is now contributing to the skill effort in general but more importantly he has procured gainful and sustainable employment for himself.

It leads me to think of all the upsides that this small yet powerful example has displayed. Think of the great multiplier effect that can be impacted by such initiatives. The just graduated engineer may have never found gainful employment upon graduating from a, so called, Tier III engineering college. However, he chanced upon this teaching opportunity and is earning a livelihood and heartily participating in India’s growing consumerism, we hope not conspicuous, adding wealth to those below and above him. The great Indian smorgasbord of consumer durable, non-durable and FMCG companies are all benefitiing from this young person’s propensity and opportunity to earn and spend. It sounds like a perfect win-win for atleast these two stakeholders.

The point that I am trying to drive home here is plain and simple; such skilling/training initiatives right at the bottom of the pyramid across india’s length & breadth can have a tsunami effect on India’s economy and GDP growth rates. The micro can help build the macro picture convincingly, surely and far more robustly than some tweaks to CRR, PLR, etc, etc.

If I owned a biscuit manufacturing company, besides the traditional approach to business viz building the brand, stocking the channel, ensuring pull & push, connecting with consumers and ensuring that all the functions of a normal business are working full steam, I’d also take time out and invest in skill training initiatives that will probably ensure a lifetime pipeline of future customers who will have the needs & wants and more importantly the means to consume my biscuits. Doesn’t this make sense, if not today then atleast for the day after?

India stands at the threshold of a great opportunity; amidst a sea of nations and economies that are growing old our country is ‘young’; about 700 million young. This is more than adequate human capital  to run all the factories, banks, clinics and malls in the entire western world and with all the energy and resources of bounding youth. This is more than just ‘manpower’; it is human capital and it can be harnessed and deployed to generate large amounts of benefits for all stakeholders. This mass movement can fundamentally alter the future of this country.

 

Much like parliament aggressively discusses the Lokpal issue or for that matter any other political or economic issue the skilling agenda for India must be the single most important agenda for discussion and action.

While the government and our so called ‘leadership’ takes its time to figure out what is really important and what is not, private industry must take up the mantle and do what it needs to do. If corporate India can become the center of gravity for a large, universal skill training & education movement it can ignite the economy.

From this perspective, NSDC is doing seminal work in catalyzing the disparate & strewn components of this national agenda to come together and put a logical picture in place. It’s working as a matchmaker to bring various beneficiaries together and help them align and stay that way. NSDC is a government initiative at the very highest level and that is probably good thinking and a great beginning. But this is also akin to the proverbial “water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink” . The system needs to nurture the skilling agenda by correcting or putting in place some very basis structural systems in place such as Financial Inclusion, Banking services reach, Employment generation, Micro Financing, Entrepreneurship development.

So while one can espouse what the establishment or administration should do one has to simultaneously address the learners’ dogma of going back to school, skepticism of yet another pre-poll promise and overarching low RoE (Return on Education).

Finally, programs & initiatives like MNREGA & social security may need to be revisited. Are these in direct conflict with the skilling India agenda?

..with gratitude…learn how to dance in the rain?

The following story came to me from a keen learner, Rashmi….. talking about ‘Attitude for gratitude’. I have my own experience to share about my inspirations in life… go through this story before I narrate my experience…
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The date was July 16, 2008. It was late in the afternoon and I was sitting in my hotel room in Louisville, Kentucky. I was scheduled to speak that evening for the Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA).

I was a little “down in the dumps.” I hadn’t gotten to exercise lately because of my traveling schedule and recently I’d experienced some mild bouts of vertigo (that inner ear condition that can cause the room to start spinning.) You got it…speaking and “spinning” are not good partners!

My keynote presentation was scheduled for 7:00 PM, but I had been invited to show up at 6:00 to see a performance they said I’d enjoy. Little did I know that I was about to see something I would never forget.

They introduced the young musician. Welcome…Mr. Patrick Henry Hughes. He was rolled onto the stage in his wheelchair, and began to play the piano. His fingers danced across the keys as he made beautiful music.

He then began to sing as he played, and it was even more beautiful. For some reason, however, I knew that I was seeing something special. There was this aura about him that I really can’t explain and the smile…his smile was magic!

About ten minutes into Patrick’s performance, someone came on the stage and said…”I’d like to share a 7-minute video titled, The Patrick Henry Hughes story.” And the lights went dim.

Patrick Henry Hughes was born with no eyes, and a tightening of the joints which left him crippled for life. However, as a child, he was fitted with artificial eyes and placed in a wheelchair. Before his first birthday, he discovered the piano. His mom said, “I could hit any note on the piano, and within one or two tries, he’d get it.” By his second birthday, he was playing requests (You Are My Sunshine, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star). His father was ecstatic. “We might not play baseball, but we can play music together.”

Today, Patrick is a junior at the University of Louisville. His father attends classes with him and he’s made nearly all A’s, with the exception of 3 B’s He’s also a part of the 214 member marching band. You read it right…the marching band! He’s a blind, wheelchair-bound trumpet player; and he and his father do it together. They attend all the band practices and the half-time performance in front of thousands. His father rolls and rotates his son around the field to the cheers of Patrick’s fans. In order to attend Patrick’s classes and every band practice, his father works the graveyard shift at UPS. Patrick said…”My dad’s my hero.”

But even more than his unbelievable musical talent, it was Patrick’s “attitude of gratitude” that touched my soul. On stage, between songs, he would talk to the audience about his life and about how blessed he was. He said, “God made me blind and unable to walk. BIG DEAL! He gave me the ability…the musical gifts I have…the great opportunity to meet new people.”

When his performance was over, Patrick and his father were on the stage together. The crowd rose to their feet and cheered for over five minutes. It gave me giant goose bumps!

My life was ready to meet Patrick Henry Hughes. I needed a hero, and I found one for the ages. If I live to be a hundred, I’ll never forget that night, that smile, that music, but most importantly, that wonderful “attitude of gratitude.”

I returned to Chicago and shared Patrick’s story with my wife, my friends. About two weeks later, I received a letter from a friend. He said, “Mac, I don’t know who said it, but I think you’ll love this quote.”

“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…
it’s about learning how to dance in the rain!”

I thought…that’s it! We all face adversity in our life. However, it’s not the adversity, but how we react to it that will determine the joy and happiness in our life. During tough times, do we spend too much time feeling sorry for ourselves, or, can we, with gratitude…learn how to dance in the rain?

It almost sounds too simple to feel important, but one word…gratitude, can change your attitude, thus, your life, forever. Sarah Breathnack said it best…

“When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present….we experience heaven on earth.”

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I have been enjoying creating interesting learning environments and facilitating learning for over a decade now. There have been many outstanding learners in my classrooms, but One person who stands out is Pranav Lal. Every mentor in the classroom would have heard his familiar words, “Can you repeat it”, “Explain me a little slowly”, “Can you give some time to discuss”… Pranav used to sit in the first row of the class with a dictaphone in hand, recording every utterances and discussions. He would not let the class progress until the concept is clear to him. He is an extraordinary human being… visually challenged and also physically with one hand.

Pranav was then preparing for CAT, the Indian management school entrance examination. The effort that he put was beyond imagination. One of my colleagues and another inspiration, Shivku, who is a passionate and compassionate human being, and a great teacher, used to spend extraordinary number of hours every day late into the nights to help Pranav catch up with the competition. The interactions and lessons new know boundaries in those six months of preparation.

Shivku and Pranav, applied to the CAT organizers, requesting them to give additional time to Pranav, because of the unusual situation the aspirant is in. The CAT organizers in that year gave a word that they would give Pranav an hour more for his extraordinary situation. Unfortunately on the D-day when the CAT happened, the examination centre officials denied any knowledge of the promise of giving extra time to Pranav. Like all other aspirants, Pranav was asked to surrender his answer sheets at the end of the two hours. It came as a shock to all. But Pranav, proved that he is a great character, inspite of all the travails, he ended up getting an admission in one of the top 10 B-schools of the country, though could not get into an IIM.

Pranav, became a colleague of ours for a couple of years after finishing his B-School, when he joined Career Launcher and took care of MIS and decision support systems. As he was interested in consulting, he moved to Mahindra Group. Today he is one of the very few consultants internationally in demand in the area of internet security for corporates, working with the Special Services Group in Mahindra, where he is an Associate Consultant now with a focus on internet securities. Apart from his regular office, Pranav Lal is an executive member of the National Association for the Blind, Delhi, and a member of the Managing Committee of the Volunteers for the Blind. Over the years he has represented India in the Abilympics many a times. Even in those days of preparing, he used to be so proficient with computing and internet technologies that he used to read very proficiently using speech recognition and synthesis tools. His contribution to the world of visually impaired in our country has been enormous even though he is still in his early 30s.

He has always been very independent ever since I have known him. His parents shared that he has been so since his childhood. His dedication towards whatever he does has been a great source of inspiration, since he goes all the way and make things happen. ……

This journey of Pranav’s I have been part of since a decade ago in 1999…Recently, I got to know about another visually challenged girl from one of our classrooms, who made it to one of the IIMs…

I am sure there are many such characters like Pranav out there… who enjoy dancing in the rain, even though the almighty has not been kind. They make their world a place to revel in… I salute each one…

sreeni@iwsb.in

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