Postgrad Immediately After Undergrad?

Postgrad Immediately After Undergrad?

by Gyan Gupta December 17, 2020

I am currently working in our family business, which is into wheat flour milling. The business, as such, is shared among the family, and various verticals like cables and conductors, flour milling, food and FMCG, real estate and education (with an MBA college, engineering college), and skill development are established. I ended up joining the flour milling space, as this is what my father has been managing in Hyderabad, where I am currently based, and have seen him grow and operate this. Intrinsically, I am able to relate to manufacturing and marketing. I currently work on business expansion, onboarding new vendors and customers, and product development and product launches, not limited to identifying products, but end to end management of supply chain, logistics, packaging and other aspects. Also, I am working on a dairy based start-up, where I am trying to provide farm fresh milk and milk-based products to the consumers.

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras, and have completed my Post Graduation from IIM Ahmedabad. I have 3 years of work experience with Amazon, where I dabbled between a couple of roles, category management for precious jewellery, and product development and sourcing management for consumables under Amazon House Brands.

One might think why I ended up with a family run business after getting an Engineering degree, and one might also wonder why I left a job with one of the top companies in the world, but the answer to both is, business was something that I had seen all around me as I grew up, and just felt that to be the right move. The other way of looking at the same thing is, for my family, I was an outlier, having completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s, as the generation before me have completed schooling, before joining the business!

What we asked him … and What he had to say …

Masters/MBA/post graduation is a very natural next step once students complete their under-graduate degree. Given your stellar IIT, IIM background, our student community would love to hear from you –

Do you think it is essential for students to do their post grad immediately after their undergrad?

This is a personal choice for the student, and a lot of variables, like experience of family, friends, school, choice of B School and what one wants to do in the future comes into play. While I always advise students to not overthink the problem statement of what I should be doing 5 years down the line, but one should definitely be cognizant of where one is headed, and it’s ok if plans change along the way. Hence, this plays an important role. While I had this notion of me wanting to join the family business eventually, it became an easy choice for me to complete my education at one shot, and then start my career. But I was definitely contemplating to have gained some experience before MBA, and joining a B School abroad. While it’s not essential, as a singular question, it’s advisable. But is it the right choice? That’s entirely up to the student’s plans and aspirations.

What value does real life work experience have before an MBA?

Real life experience definitely has a lot of value before an MBA. If you have an experience for 18-24 months on the lower side, you’re able to relate better to what’s taught in the classes, and opportunities for you post MBA are also different. For me, what I learnt in MBA was theory, and I didn’t have any practical experience. As a result, maybe some of the learnings just remained as learnings, without practical application.

For someone with practical experience, it becomes second nature to be able to read P&L statements, Balance Sheets, Cash Flows, relate better in Organisation Behaviour classes, understand marketing better!

What would your advice students who are choosing between multiple options in their final year?

In short, my advice – weigh out your options based on experience of peers and family, what you finally want to end up doing, financial implications, and most importantly, do you have a natural instinctive feeling that it’s the right thing for you to do, and go for it. If you want to take up a job, take up and give it your best. If you want to study further, go for it. If you want to take a break and travel the world, by all means! Do that. That will also teach you lots of lessons. But do give it some thought and mind of your own, before choosing what you want to do.

Take inputs from peers and family, decide for yourself.

Would you have done anything differently?

There is a very famous quote – “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

As a result, I always try to regret less on my decisions that have gone by, but always try to look at what I can do differently now!

If I hadn’t joined an IIM, and ended up working with the company that chose me from my undergrad, maybe I would have been someplace else, or maybe, I would’ve ended up exactly where I am. But in hindsight, I value the choices then, and have been able to gain a lot of experience and learnings from IIM, and made a set of friends who I value and cherish all my life.