Making the Switch: The Journey from Engineering to an MBA, Ft. Subhadip D From IIT Jodhpur

This is the story of Subhadip D, a recent MBA graduate (class of ’22) with a specialisation in Marketing & Strategy from IIT Jodhpur’s School of Management & Entrepreneurship. He worked as a Consultant in the Telecommunications business for five and a half years post obtaining his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the West Bengal University of Technology. He subsequently opted to devote his efforts to management studies.

 He formerly worked as an associate for well-known organisations such as Samsung Electronics India Limited and Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (JIO). Throughout his MBA programme, he maintained touch with prominent firms. As part of his Summer Internship Program, he was engaged as a Market Research Intern by Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), a Maharatna firm in India (SIP). He also worked as an Advisory Services Intern with Colliers International (India), one of the top five global businesses offering Real Estate Management services.

Currently employed as a Management Consultant in the Digital Business & Technology function at Cognizant Technology Services Private Limited, we interviewed Subhadip about his journey from engineering to completing his management studies post-graduation.

Here are the top takeaways:

How did you prepare for the big questions we assumed you were asked – Why MBA?

I consider myself an orderly, efficient, and detail-oriented individual with a keen focus on learning business-critical and transformational skills. Having developed a keen eye for detail whilst working as a consultant in a global firm, I always embraced challenges as the building blocks of my personal and professional growth and leveraged organisational and leadership skills in building resilience and a positive outlook. Towards the end of my professional stint, I experienced stagnancy in my career growth before joining an MBA program. This plateau was due to a lack of challenges in my work assignments. Being a firm believer in challenging myself, my next logical step was to look for opportunities which would help me grow professionally. In the process of identifying the same, I realised that while engineering was forward-corporate, MBA was backwards-corporate. Especially for someone like me, with 5+ years of work experience. It crossed my mind that an MBA was an apparent next destination when you know a few things about the corporate world. An MBA had always been a dream left unfulfilled due to personal commitments and responsibilities. I realised that going for a regular MBA with 5-odd years of experience was a challenge in itself that seemed worth exploring. When I talked to my friends and other acquaintances who had completed their MBA, the most common sentiment was that the program equips you with essential skills for a career transformation. It exposes you to multidimensional thought processes. Having worked in the corporate sector for quite some time as a Consultant, I learned to work with people from diverse backgrounds, ages, and cultures. I pride myself on being someone who thrives on working together as a team to achieve greatness in a work setting. I love to collaborate, share thoughts and ideas and contribute. I saw B-schools as one of the most competitive learning environments which would fulfil my career goal of becoming a skilled management professional and honing my innate abilities simultaneously.

My experience going through the MBA journey at IIT J from an engineer’s perspective.

Engineering gives you the technical skills required for problem-solving and MBA for developing managerial competency. When these two are combined, it enables one to envision innovative solutions to new-age business problems. IIT Jodhpur, a fast-growing technical institute with state-of-the-art facilities, has created a holistic learning environment that allowed my pursuit of the same. A perfect amalgamation of management and technology and a quintessentially effective pedagogy championed a perfect learning roadmap for a student to follow. Being an engineer, I did not face much difficulty putting myself in the horizontal flow of technology across different functions of an IIT. I was able to relate to the technical concepts with the classroom learnings of a management school. With the option of choosing from a gamut of traditional MBA and MBA-Technology electives, it was a no-brainer for me to pick up courses from the latter. The MBA-Technology electives tap into the prevalent technical advancements in today’s industry and give students a hands-on learning experience. Courses in the areas of Industry 4.0, E-commerce, Privacy and Data Governance, Digital Marketing Analytics & Optimization, Ethical Issues with AI, Minds & Machines, and Digital Platform Economy are a few relevant courses to name in this regard. In my opinion, it gives an engineer an added advantage and helps in navigating through the technology-rich curriculum of the IIT Jodhpur MBA program. Having read similar concepts in engineering, some courses like Business Statistics, Decision Sciences, and Operations Management did not seem too difficult to relate to. I consider my experience in studying engineering as a journey that helped me build a never-give-up attitude and a positive character, which helped me collaborate with peers from diverse backgrounds during the MBA coursework and brainstorming sessions. Being the Secretary of Embrace-the Admission Committee of the School of Management & Entrepreneurship (SME), I spearheaded the MBA admissions process (2021-2022). In the admissions process of the junior MBA batch, I had to work with officials and academicians of different verticals and establish an open communication channel for better functionality. During the first semester, I served as the founding member of the Class Representative Body, whose sole responsibility was to address and resolve the queries or concerns raised by my peers to ensure a positive experience as and in the first batch of the MBA program at SME, IIT Jodhpur. The collaborative and engaging learning experience during engineering helped me academically, professionally and personally throughout my MBA journey.

The top 3 advantages of an MBA for an engineer from an employment perspective.

In my view, the top 3 advantages would be

  1. I was already well-versed with a few concepts and theories that were quintessentially vital for MBA and could further hone them for future professional practices.
  2. Post-MBA, one’s career is mostly oriented toward “People Management”. Having already mentioned the collaborative abilities that an engineer possesses, the immense benefits become very obvious during professional engagements.
  3. Resilience and working under pressure are two of the most common and essential characteristics that help an engineer cope with complex and demanding situations as an employee post MBA.

Advice from our users looking to explore MBA post-engineering.

Going for an MBA post-engineering is one of the most sought-after career path, both for a fresher and an experienced individual, and it has been this way for quite some time. From my own experience, I can only advise that the enforceability of the learning during engineering in MBA is spontaneous; one does not need to put effort into doing so; it comes as and when required. And although the engineering learnings help a lot during MBA, they focus on two different goals, i.e., building character and building business-critical thinking ability. This often overlaps with each other, which makes it important for aspirants to understand that living the life of an engineer during an MBA is the last thing that should be done. I reckon that practising professional etiquette, which I learned during my prior work experience, helped a little in MBA peer collaborations, be it group assignments or committee PORs; however, it did not help as much as I expected. Later, toning it down on the same did wonders. Keep faith in your intuitions and believe in yourself, and you’ll achieve great heights in your career. All the best!

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