Perspectives from ISB

Kannav Goyal, PGPMAX Co’24, is the Vice President of Technology at NatWest. He handles a large-scale portfolio and is responsible for scaling up agile practices, nurturing innovation, and steering digital transformation initiatives.

The experience of the numerous roles while navigating through several organisational landscapes got him connections and developed a penchant for lifelong learning. Every challenge was a step upward that shaped him into the person he is today.

Why PGPMAX and why ISB?

“Even though my professional commitments temporarily drew me away from an MBA I craved for, I finally got the chance 14 years later.”

While he toyed with several options, Kannav was focused on a meaningful offline course from a global institute that offered practical knowledge that he could apply while working. Doing a full-time course wasn’t an option because he wanted to continue with his job. In a now or never situation, it was a difficult decision, what with aging parents and two children in tow.

PGPMAX programme resonated deeply with my search criteria. The extensive alumni network and the school’s emphasis on research-based learning set it apart from others that follow a more conventional, textbook-oriented approach. I expressed to my Leadership that if I had to take up a bigger role that they expect me to, I needed an edge over others, I needed learning, I needed to get a varying perspective on solving problems.”

A leap of one role above can happen only when you compete and study with people one level above you, Kannav believed. PGPMAX offered that advantage. Interaction with senior folks has begun to change the way he thinks and the way he expresses himself.

ISB Experience

“ISB is a perpetual source of energy, where each day—be it late-night assignments or early classes—is unique. PGPMAX isn’t solely about learning; it’s a platform that shapes us into effective leaders, a continuous journey of personal growth. Witnessing others’ problem-solving prowess fuels my drive to improve daily.”

Kannav came to PGPMAX with an air of superiority, but his outlook has changed radically. Sitting in a cohort of 65 exceptionally diverse industry leaders, he now understands the areas he lacks in.

“Being a techie, before joining the programme, I had pictured myself as head of technology or head of programme management and finally be the CXO. But that narrow perspective has now given way to a vast number of choices.”

As each term unfolds, Kannav finds himself more deeply absorbed in soaking in the knowledge and applying the insights at work. The cohort’s diverse inputs have been invaluable. During group assignments, every single problem is explored through multiple lenses. The diversity of the cohort and the variety of solutions they generate for the same challenge enriches decision-making.

The faculty’s brilliance lies in their ability to deliver impactful lessons while simplifying complex concepts rooted in up-to-date research and real-world relevance. “Finance and accountancy have never been my forte. But the way these were taught made them appear easy. I can now understand the numbers, the interdependencies; the nature of data required to make certain decisions. I came face to face with opportunities in entrepreneurship and suddenly I see choices for my career I hadn’t imagined earlier.”

Return On Investment

Changing business landscapes has made continuous learning essential. India’s position in the world is changing and so are geopolitical scenarios. Earlier, Kannav’s understanding was just in technology but now he knows where technology will enable other functions of the society.

“Even though PGPMAX is severely demanding, opportunities to expand the learning horizon is phenomenal. The free hand we get in organising, for example, events such as the leadership summit and the encouragement we are provided to take independent decisions to solve our own problems presents an opportunity to exhibit our potential. I am getting to know myself better. All that personal growth is my ROI.”

Leadership Lessons Learnt

“Leadership to me is helping others grow, putting my team ahead of me. Autonomy is another skill of leadership. Autonomy is essential for innovation. Freedom to make mistakes is essential to let my team take their own decisions.”

Impact of the ISB Community

The tag of ISB makes it easy for anyone graduating from the school to connect with another ISBian whether through WhatsApp or social media channels like LinkedIn.

“An enormous benefit I have observed is that the tone of my leaders towards me has changed. Earlier they were directing me, but now they are seeking my opinion.”

Within this vibrant community, Kannav has experienced unparalleled support. In a particular instant of illness far from home, his cohort not only ensured care and essentials but also helped him cover missed lectures and assignments. It was a gesture that epitomised his cohort’s incredible camaraderie.

Buoyancy and Relevance

Kannav is given to continuous learning by exploring new areas of knowledge. He has a passion for automating simple things and has his own electronic kit. Driving his Jeep is a passion he cherishes, and he is a part of the Jeep community that takes him places on long drives.

“I am involved in blood donation and am in the practice of giving back. My parents have been star blood donors and were felicitated by the Haryana government. I spend substantial time with my twin daughters. I enjoy conversing with people, especially face-to-face, and getting to know them.”

Kannav is fascinated by the case study approach to problem solving. To him, it’s a good way to learn what he would have done had he been in the situation. “It’s going to be my spare time activity on how I can I solve problems efficiently. ISB hosts frequent sessions on emerging technologies, offering a great opportunity to stay updated on current trends.”

Advice to Prospects

PGPMAX is not just an MBA programme. It’s a transformative journey that begins to deliver its impact early in the programme, he says. People quickly begin to notice the gradual change in you, he says.

“Come with an open mind to learn, and your way of seeing things will change. Whatever you have learnt will undergo a change. ISB is a platform to play on the ground without restrictions. Leave back your fancy titles at home as they may become a barrier with the cohort.”

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