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‘Some relevant work experience before an MBA helps in understanding concepts better’

Akshay Raina from Delhi, an alumnus of Apeejay School, Saket, talks about his “fulfilling” journey, from being confused about his career to finding his goal

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Apeejay Saket alumnus Akshay Raina, Principal, Acuvon Consulting Pvt Ltd, fondly remembers the time he spent at school, from leading the basketball team in various competitions to becoming the Head Boy. In an interview, Raina, who is based in Delhi, recounts how the experiences at school nurtured him, why he quit his job as an engineer, tips for MBA, and more. Edited excerpts:

Share with us your experience at Apeejay School, Saket. What memories do you have?

I was in Apeejay School, Saket from kindergarten to class 12. At that time, the school had two sections in every class, which made it easier for us to know each other more closely. I made a lot of great friends, some of whom continue to be my closest buddies. At school, I found a lot of opportunities to explore my skills as I moved up from one class to another. In class 8, I started playing basketball which was one of the important milestones for me in school. Eventually, I became the team captain. I also joined the cricket team later. I would say sports were an integral part of being able to consolidate my place in school. The confidence that I developed motivated me to apply for the position of Vice Sports Captain. But with the encouragement of my teachers, I applied for that of the Vice Head Boy and got selected. That was a very good feeling. I became the Head Boy as well in class 12. The same year, I topped the school in the board exam.

You did an MBA after engineering. How important do you think it is for professionals to pursue the degree?

Back when I was in school, everyone was either an engineer or a doctor. Now, everyone has an MBA degree. But I think the real difference comes with the quality of the institution you are pursuing it from. However, I believe, one should not pursue MBA just for the sake of it. You can grow in a company with or without an MBA. Personally, I pursued an MBA because I went for a career change.

You started your professional career as an electrical engineer and then moved to consulting. What inspired this career change?

By the time I had graduated, it had become a trend among engineers to opt for non-engineering jobs or go for an MBA directly. I followed suit after working for three-and-a-half years in a very technical field. I opted for consulting because it offers you the chance to contribute to different industries.

Would you recommend pursuing an MBA as a fresher or after gaining work experience?

I pursued an MBA after working as an engineer for a while. From my personal experience, I think that helps. Some MBA colleges offer good placements for freshers while others prefer those with some work experience. During MBA, I noticed that those with relevant work experience were able to contribute more or understand concepts better, owing to their practical knowledge. That said, there are enough successful people I personally know who completed MBA before going for a job.

Can you share some tips for those planning to pursue MBA?

Be sure why you want to do an MBA and apply accordingly to the set of schools that meet your requirements. I would recommend some work experience before applying for an MBA, preferably in a startup or a consulting firm, which would help you understand the curriculum a lot better.

After nearly a decade of work experience, how do you see your overall journey?

I think it takes a while before people realise what they exactly want from their career. Even when I was doing my MBA, I was in a dilemma about what my goals were. Looking back, I think as I have grown professionally, I have also achieved more clarity about what I like or dislike; it took me about seven to eight years to get there. But I think it is fine if you do not have that kind of clarity in the beginning. It is perfectly okay if you embark on exploring options before finding your suitable career path. I covered a long journey, from being an associate to now handling multiple projects and mentoring talent. So, I would say my journey has been very fulfilling. 

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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