Work at being better, not just at working harder – Akshay Choudhary, IIM Lucknow

The months of the constant hustle of the entrance exams are here. There’s a constant nudging thought in every MBA aspirant’s mind with a gazillion questions about the results, the interview process and getting into their dream college and premier b-schools of the country. Amidst this, it becomes slippery and easy to forget about the end goal and enter into an unending loop of self-doubts and the what-ifs.

In an interview with Akshay Choudhary, from the sixth batch of the Postgraduate Programme in Sustainable Management from IIM Lucknow, passed out in 2022, he tells us about his journey towards and his life at IIM Lucknow.

Akshay was born and brought up in Jaipur, Rajasthan and did his Mechanical engineering at VIT Vellore. After that, he joined Tata Technologies as a design engineer and later worked for Tata Motors and Jaguar Land Rover. To prepare for CAT ’19, he left his core job and switched to teaching. He joined as a QA & LR-DI Faculty at career launcher Jaipur and taught CAT aspirants there. This helped him prepare for CAT solely, and he converted IIM – Lucknow along with other premier B schools.

On being asked about his time at IIM Lucknow and the learning culture prevalent, he says “I have seen all the facets, and it was a – Breathtaking, exhilarating, frustrating, heartbreaking journey for me. From 0 to 100 I have seen it all. It was a roller coaster ride where every person contributed to my learning curve.”

He tells us that he ensured that he learned something every day, be it from the curriculum, placements, sports, case comps, etc.

When asked why he chose IIM Lucknow, Akshay stated that he wanted to learn as much as he could from the people around him on campus (whether they were batchmates, seniors, juniors, professors, or others), build an intense business network, and gain the knowledge he needed to start his company from the ground up, which he wished to do from the beginning.

“You will be surprised at the knowledge and experiences others have to offer.” he said.

Studying in one of the top B Schools in the country, you’re bound to be gravely involved in various processes and learn a lot from them, most of which is ineffably valuable and lays the foundation for your core beliefs before stepping out into the real world. Akshay’s learnings from IIM – Lucknow are precisely that precious.

“Be a doer, not just an active listener, Group Work with conflict management is a must, and Not everyone will believe in you, so make sure that you believe in yourself.” These were the top 3 takeaways from his MBA journey.

On reminiscing his days at IIM Lucknow, Akshay recalls his favourite memory: the innumerable days on the placement committee and the day when all the students got placed with astounding numbers.

On being asked about the campus life at IIM Lucknow, Akshay talks about how being a close-knit community, IIM Lucknow provides a conducive setting for the faculties and the teachers to concentrate on their personal and intellectual development. The IIM-L campus has a state-of-the-art teaching facility and academic buildings that are continuously improved to support learning.

“Our business school has never had to make concessions to build these great facilities- thanks to their supportive alumni.” he said.

The campus cultivates a community of cooperation, respect, stewardship, and responsibility in every aspect. It is also the place where lifelong relationships are created, perhaps the most lasting legacy of the IIM Lucknow experience.

After completing his MBA from IIM Lucknow, Akshay got his campus placement in Flipkart in the Corporate Strategy division. Having the vision to start something of his own from the very start, he started his entrepreneurship journey with Olitia, a venture to bridge the gap between a farmer and the market. Olitia means ‘Olive World’.

“We firmly believe in the healing powers of nature and aim to serve all aspects of society through our natural and organic products. Olitia has emerged as one of those who believe in creating a value chain for everyone with the help of innovation and technological advancements. We are the world’s first manufacturers of Olive Tea, made from the olive leaves, which not only caters to the wellbeing of the end customer but enhances the farmer’s income to two fold as well.” Olitia dreams of doubling the income of a Kisan with zero environmental pollution.

This was the beautiful journey of Akshay Chaudhary towards his vision of starting his own business with his advice to IIM Aspirants being, “Work at being better, not just working harder”. His story is an example of how the journey is always more thrilling than the end destination sometimes and as long as you put your all in and absolve yourself in the process completely, the end destination becomes worth it.

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