Great Lakes Alumni Speak 2: Saurabh Singh of HCL shares his Experience

Having completed his PGPM in 2013 from Great Lakes, Gurgaon, Saurabh Singh is currently working as the Business Development manager at HCL in Johannesburg, South Africa. We got time to catch up during his recent visit back to the country and discussed the impact of Great Lakes on his career. Here are some excerpts from the conversation.

Q1. Tell me a little bit about your professional background before Great Lakes and what made you pursue an MBA?

Before Great Lakes, I was working in the IT industry for about four and half years. I used to work as a Network Engineer, first with Dell and then I moved to HCL. It was there I started feeling that I am not being able to maximise my potential and wanted to switch from the technical role to a managerial role. That is when I realised that in order to move forward in my career an MBA degree was imperative.

With tremendous amount of hard work, both on and off the job, I got selected in Great Lakes’ Gurgaon campus and their one-year PGPM program offered me an amazing platform to make the desired change in my career.

Q2. So, how do you think pursuing a PGPM course from Great Lakes helped you? Tell me about your current organization and job role.

I got absorbed by HCL again after completing my PGPM, albeit in an entirely different job role. I’ve come a long way from being a back-end techie to working as the Business Development manager for HCL in Johannesburg, South Africa and the knowledge that I gained at Great Lakes is the reason I was able to make such a transition in my career. My core function here is to provide IT led business solutions across various industry verticals like mining, manufacturing, retail etc. I am tasked with developing this market for my organization and selling the new age disruptive technologies to anyone and everyone who has a use for them.

Q3. How did the one year at Great Lakes help you transform?

To be honest, a lot of learning and unlearning happened in the one year that I spent at Great Lakes. The institute was tasked with an extremely heavy burden of transforming a seasoned techie (and many others like me) into a dynamic business professional and the faculty at Great Lakes did their job with utmost perfection. The curriculum of the one-year PGPM program at Great Lakes is specifically designed to facilitate these kinds of transformations and turbocharge a student’s career.

Q4. Mention 3 key highlights of your Great Lakes experience.

  • Flexibility in course selection
  • World class faculty
  • Peer learning

Q5. Which faculty members/industry guests inspired you the most or had the most impact on your learning?

That’s quite a tricky question as I feel every professor had something unique to offer and they all added some value to my overall learning experience without which I would not have been where I am today. However, if I have to mention a few, Professor Bappa’s teachings have been quite instrumental in developing an analytical thought process and I don’t think there ever was a student who wasn’t inspired by the motivational words of our Director, Dr. Himadri Das and Mohan Sir.

The numerous guest lectures conducted by various industry leaders were immensely insightful and helped us in thoroughly understanding the business world and various profiles we could opt for, where our true potential can be realised, post our graduation.

Q6. Describe the peer learning experience in and beyond the classroom at Great Lakes.

The best part about studying at Great Lakes was that the entire batch was made up of people from diverse industry backgrounds like marketing, tech, sales, finance, advertising, operations etc. For example, you have two baskets filled with chocolates in front of you. One of them contains just Dairy Milks, whereas the other basket has an assortment of Bournville, Bounty, Kit Kat, Hershey’s, Toblerone etc. Given a choice, you would definitely grab the second basket. Likewise, a typical PGPM batch of Great Lakes is like that second basket.

The peer learning allowed me to interact with professionals from various industrial backgrounds and helped me in understanding the aspects of different business domains. The group projects and assignments also paved way for enhanced interaction among the peers that created a holistic learning environment across all the functional domains of business.

Q7. What advice would you like to give to the future Great Lakers?

The advice that I’d like to give to my fellow Great Lakers is that they must have a clear vision of what they want to become and never lose focus. This is your chance to evaluate all your options and acknowledge your core strengths and overcome the weaknesses. Work on your strengths and try to leverage each and every opportunity provided by the college. Great Lakes provides an ecosystem where you can reinvent yourself into someone what you’ve always wanted to be, so utilize that ecosystem to the fullest.

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