While everyone thinks of doing something big in life, very few actually go the extra mile to fulfill their hearts’ desire. And the going is even tougher when you are settled in life, have a wife and kids whose life is intertwined with yours. But some people do take time out in life to follow their passions. Disha is one such person who went on her MBA journey from IIM-Calcutta, moved out of her comfort zone to fulfill her career ambitions. ‘My Beloved’s MBA Plans’ is a book about 16 such people who believed in themselves and balanced their career ambitions with other responsibilities to attain the pinnacles of successes through higher education.
Disha took out time from her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us. Following is our interview with her:
MBA Decoder: Disha, what is the book about and what led you to write it?
Disha: Every year more than 3000 people apply for MBA post a certain experience level in the corporate. As an IIM-C alumnus, I receive a lot of questions from these applicants right from career related to asking on how would life be on campus for their spouses, how they would manage, how the facilities are for kids and so on. All these questions spell the decision making process for people with so many responsibilities in life. And that’s why I felt the need to write this book, so people can get a sneak peak of what they are getting into and make informed decisions.
“My Beloved’s MBA Plans” is meant to answer all such questions from the perspective of real people, who have been there, done that. It is a collection of short stories set in the backdrop of one year MBA programs across the country. It’s a story of people like you and me, closely connected and grounded to reality. Through these stories, I have made an honest attempt to bring out various aspects of balancing career and priorities in personal lives. The uniqueness of the book is the fact that it is a completely non-fictional retelling of the events in the lives of real people from IIM-Calcutta and other top-notch B-schools across the world.
MBA Decoder: Interesting! Could you give us some glimpses of what the stories are like?
Disha: Sure. There is Vivek whose MBA turns out to be quite an adventurous journey with his wife Divya and their two kids. For Arpita, it is a second chance at love. Payal and Nitin make the campus their home while Geet faces a tragic loss. You join Suraj and Priya as they break away from the family business to carve out a path for themselves, and discover how Rahul and Dimple spend an unusual honeymoon. These are just a few stories from this colorful collection set against the backdrop of life on campus and aspirations for an MBA degree.
MBA Decoder: What were the highlights of your time at IIM Calcutta?
Disha: IIM Calcutta has been a great learning experience for me. Right from studies to competitions to a bright peer group and world class faculty, the one year program at IIM-C is conducive for an overall personality development of an individual. Some key highlights have been interaction with top-notch CEOs, engaging class discussions and an open environment where everyone finds a space to grow. The best part was that being one of the student Brand ambassadors for the program, I interacted with prospective applicants, which in itself was a great experience.
MBA Decoder: What did you gain from the program from a career, as well as personal development perspective?
Disha: As I mentioned above, the program provides tremendous learning opportunities to everyone. Thanks to that one year at IIM-C, I can now strategize in a more holistic manner and make sound business decisions; keeping in mind all the aspects of management right from finances to marketing to people related issues. On a personal note, staying at hostel with such a diverse group has broadened my thinking horizons and made me a better organized person. Also, I am a much more confident and logical person now.
MBA Decoder: IIMC PGPEX candidates are mid career professional, who have made quite a few adjustments to their lives. This is also the theme of your book. What aspects of a full-time, residential program such as the PGPEX will you tell future applicants to watch out for, when making their MBA decision?
Disha: Yes, that’s the central theme of the book. As a mid career professionals, taking such unconventional decision impacts one’s personal life, family and finances among other things. In all such cases the support of your immediate family, be it your wife/husband or parents, becomes extremely important. The couples in the book have shared their experiences in a much more lucid and honest manner and I would recommend anyone who wishes to go for a full time, residential program to spend that extra 100 bucks and grab a copy of the book. It will provide a lot many real insights into lives at one year MBAs.
MBA Decoder: Where all is the book available to be picked up?
Lastly, what advice will you give to future applicants who want to apply in 2014?
Disha: My advice would be to be clear about one’s expectations from one year MBAs and then focus on preparing well for the interviews. One’s essays form a crucial component of evaluation and also are the best opportunity to tell the evaluator what you are bringing to the table. And lastly, be confident of your own abilities before convincing someone else about it.