Life After MBA – A look at non traditional career choices

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For those interested in pursuing a career in management, as well as those already studying at B Schools, this is generally an extremely stressful period. For prospective students, it’s the various entrance exams followed by rounds of personal interviews, essays and group discussions till the coveted admission letter is received.

For students, this is the time they realise that getting admission was probably the easy part, as they struggle to cope with the exacting academic schedules while simultaneously appearing for aptitude tests, group discussions, and multiple rounds of personal interviews for getting their summer internships or final placements.

But what happens once the students have graduated?

Everyone has heard and read about Chetan Bhagat and his journey through engineering and then management and then into writing, so are there others who have stepped off the beaten track to follow their passion and interest?

XIMB is the highest rated B School in Odisha and among the best in the country, with more than 8,000 alumni spread over more than 30 batches and it is a matter of pride as well as a strong indicator of the quality of education imparted here that alumni from XIMB are present in very senior levels at almost every major company.

Sanket Ray, the incoming President for India and South East Asia for Coca Cola, Mohit Kampani, CEO More Retail, Sameer Satpathy Chief Executive- Personal Care at ITC – these are just a tip of the iceberg – there are too many such alumni to mention here.

Similarly, there are many there are so many highly successful alumni who have been bitten by the entrepreneurship bug like Srikumar and Rashima Mishra who have founded Milk Mantra here in Odisha, not just in India but across the globe across domains ranging from Ed-tech, to Fintech, Jewellery, High Fashion, Construction etc. etc.

We also have a healthy representation in the public sector as well as in government – the current IT Secretary to the Govt. of Odisha, Manoj Mishra, is an alumnus of XIMB too. Similarly, there are alumni (currently or formerly) at various levels in the Indian Information Services, Indian Accounts & Audit Services, Indian Revenue Service, Railways as well as in PSUs like SAIL, Port Authority etc.

But right from the early batches, there have been those who have found their calling away from the corporate/business/administrative world, and I would like to cite a few of them here.

Amitabh Shukla from the batch of 1991 is one such alumnus. Bitten by the filmmaking and video editing bug, he graduated from FTII Pune in 1998. Starting from his first major film, Chalte Chalte starring Shah Rukh Khan which released in 2003, he has edited more than 20 major Bollywood films like Chakh De! India, Krrish, Holiday etc. His work in Chakh De! India fetched him the Filmfare Award, Guild Award, IIFA Award and Zee Cine Award for Best Editing. He has also won the National Film Award for Best Promotional Film for his 2010 film Lost and Found. He has worked as head of the technical editing department at Red Chillies Entertainment and is a visiting faculty at the Film and Television Institute of India. He is currently with Netflix and is the unseen hand behind the spectacular rise in Indian content on the OTT platform.

From films to the world of music which Kannan Mohan from the batch of 1999 formally entered into in 2005, quitting his cushy job as an AVP at Deutsche Bank, India, to form the band Agnee in 2007 with Coco (composer and lead guitarist, Agnee). As lead vocalist of the band, he has delivered a number of successful albums. His first step into Bollywood was with the Salman Khan, Ajay Devgan starrer, London Dreams. He also worked on the playback for the song, Khaanabadosh. Since then, his journey has seen an upward graph with Chaandaniyan from 2 States, and Yaariyan from Cocktail, to name a few hits.Whether it is the mystical, philosophical songs such as Saadho re and Kabira to the light, soulful ballads such as Shaam tanha and Kehlene do, Agnee’s unique sound, an organic blend of rock, Indian classical and folk, caught the fancy of an audience seeking the best of both worlds. Also a major hit was the wonderful MTV Splitsvilla Theme song, and the official theme song Hello andheron for the Hindi version of Avengers (2012). Among his latest works is the soulful Wahi Hain Raaste from the movie Panga released in 2020.

And then there is Rajesh Pandey, from the batch of 2003, who has spent the last ten years crafting Bollywood level wedding stories for his clients across the world through his photography. He describes himself as an author, award winning photographer and educator for whom every single wedding has been an experience of a lifetime. His work has been featured in newspapers and magazines like Times of India, YourStory, Shaadi Malaysia etc. and he has travelled extensively across India and South East Asia to photograph weddings big and small. Some of the awards he has won include Best Wedding Photographer in India 2019 (India Business Service Awards), Top 30 Wedding Photographers in India by Sony Better Photography Wedding Photographer of Year 2018-19, 1st Prize Galleria Di Lux (Fashion Brand from Milan, Italy) 2020, and 2nd Prize Global Award by International Agency for Prevention of Blindness, London 2019. But as he says, more than any award, the appreciation that he gets from his delighted clients is the greatest reward!

I would like to end with someone who brings spiritual solace to thousands of people across the world who is now known as Swami Sarvapriyananda. An alumnus of the batch of 1994, he joined the Ramakrishna Math and Mission in 1994 and received Sannyas in 2004. He served as an acharya (teacher) of the monastic probationers’ training center at Belur Math. He has also served the Ramakrishna Math and Mission in various capacities including being the Vice Principal of the Deoghar Vidyapith Higher Secondary School, Principal of the Shikshana Mandira Teacher Education College at Belur Math, and the first Registrar of the Vivekananda University at Belur Math. A Nagral Fellow for 2019-20 at Harvard Divinity School, he is currently the Minister and Spiritual Leader of the Vedanta Society of New York, and assumed his duties here on January 6, 2017. Prior to this, he served as assistant minister of the Vedanta Society of Southern California for 13 months, beginning on December 3, 2015.

These are but a few examples of how B School students have ventured into fields that are far from the traditional avenues and have achieved great success.

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