Several years ago, Disha Chabra had reached out to us to write a blog for us. At that time, she was fresh out of her IIMC-PGPEX course and had just published her first book. Since then, Disha has worked as Product Manager at Yatra Online, Paytm and now Amazon. In due course, she has also successfully run a parallel career as a book author.
In this 4-part series, Disha talks about her journey as an author, as a product manager and about her time at IIM Calcutta.
Disha, welcome back to MBA Decoder. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am a corporate professional by profession and a writer by passion. I work as a senior leader with Amazon India and have over 12 years of experience with companies like Paytm, Yatra.com and Mentor Graphics. I have authored three books: Corporate Avatars, Because Life Is A Gift, My Beloved’s MBA Plans.
What is your journey as an author like?
I started writing blogs and poetry at an early age. I aspired to be a writer at some stage of my life but did not know when. I met real-life couples at the IIM-Calcutta campus while doing my one year MBA. Their love stories were practical and spoke a lot about relationships when it comes to balancing professional commitments and personal responsibilities. I decided to write a book on them. That’s how My Beloved’s MBA Plans was born.
On campus, I also met a blind boy who graduated from of IIM-C. His determination overpowered the odds of his disability. When I met a man who was on bed for 28 years of his life, crippled throughout his body with movement only in one hand, paralyzed neck down and yet smiling and giving back to the society, it changed my perspective towards life. When I met a woman without arms who paints through her feet, when I met a guy who cannot walk but sky-dived 15000 feet, when I met an army man who was declared dead but who now runs on artificial legs, life changed its meaning. Because Life Is A Gift was my second baby.
Over 12 years of corporate life, I met many difficult personalities at the workplace. Working with these people drained and took more energy than the actual work itself. I decided to bring together my learnings on this journey and share with the world my experiences of working with different personality types. Corporate Avatars is my third child.
What has inspired each of your books?
Each of my books has been inspired by real people and events that have touched, moved and inspired me. They are based on my learnings in life and experiences which I felt were worth sharing with the world.
How has an MBA been helpful in your writing career?
An MBA at IIM-Calcutta teaches you great time management skills. This has been my biggest asset because of which I have been able to strike balance between my professional commitments and passion for writing.
What do you do when you face the writer’s block?
I don’t stress too much. I just let it pass.
What writing tips can you leave for people who have to write essays?
Being an IIM-C alumna, I have reviewed many essays and I am sharing insider’s view. As a reviewer, we get so many applications that we end up spending not more than 5 minutes per application. In those 5 minutes, we look for:
A). Clarity of thought, especially on “Why MBA?” ;
B). How is this profile different from the thousand other similar profiles;
C). Structured thinking. The first line of every paragraph should be strong enough for the reviewer to read it. The story should come out. Put yourself in a reviewer’s shoes. Would you select this candidate (yourself) if the application came your way