My Transformational Journey – Ashish Poddar Class of 2016

Prior to joining the PGP program at ISB, I had worked in a fintech startup for several years eventually leading its India operations based in Gurgaon and later on started an online tea store called Kadambri Teas. I joined ISB to understand the recent developments in the technology sector and to deep dive into the nuances of strategy and marketing, preparing myself for my next venture.

However, the PGP program was much more than what I expected. There was a lot to unlearn, as they say it. The several courses on leadership, business communication and organizational behavior helped me look back and realize how one’s strength can manifest into weakness if not managed and upgraded with time. The several case studies demonstrated the changing needs of an organization through various phases of growth – and I could relate it precisely with my experience at Nirvana Solutions, while it grew from a small startup of 4 people to about 100 people across the globe.

Personally, I can summarize the PGP program as a game-changing experience, both in terms of learning and building a long term network, which I believe will help me thrive over the years to come.

Make the best of your ISB experience

Being outliers in terms of experience brings with it the challenge of finding the right roles and right jobs after ISB. Eventually, it’s not only about your talent, it is also about what the market is looking for – and MBA hiring, in general, is geared towards 2 to 6 years of experience.

So how does a person with 8 to 15 years of experience make the best out of the ISB experience?

Here are three things that come to my mind:

1. Leverage your past experience – Any recruiter that hires someone with 8+ years of experience is doing so primarily because of his experience and maturity. Hence it is extremely important to target jobs that leverage the skills and expertise you have gained over the past years.

2. Be focused and know what you want to do – There will be a lot to do during your year at ISB. It’s important to know what you want and focus your energies towards it. Recognize your strengths and skills and map them to the industry and roles that you want to target. In case you are planning for a significant shift in industry/role, make sure you understand the role so that you are not surprised. And always have a Plan B.

3. Be Prepared – The ISB PGP program is a 1 year fast paced program and time flies by pretty quickly. Start early and speak to ISB alumni and find out how they succeeded in finding their dream jobs. Resume and cover letters play a critical role in getting the shortlists that you so desperately want. Trust me preparation matters much more than anything else in this part of the process. As the popular saying goes – Nothing beats luck like preparation!

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About the Author

Ashish Poddar is an alum of Indian School of Business, Class of 2016. He was the president of the  Senior Executives Club at ISB Hyderabad – a club with membership open to students with 8+ years of experience. Ashish has around 10 years of experience in the startup ecosystem; after working for a startup building products in the Financial Technology domain, he ventured  out on his own and setup an online platform for delivering quality teas. He is passionate about startups, likes reading and discussing history, philosophy and human behavior. Reach out to him on Linkedin, or on Twitter @ashishpoddar13