Believing in grabbing every opportunity that life offers, and making the most out of every second, Rajat Mangla graduated from IITD in 2012. After a year with Flipkart, he joined IIM in 2014, and from there to Carlyle Group. A student of the Civil Engineering Department, he was from the Jwalamukhi Hostel.
How would you describe your days at IIT?
IIT life was one of the most beautiful phases of my life. Friends made here are like friends for life. I am still in touch with many of them. No complaints regarding the professors, I found them very helpful. Even though a bit of bitching here and there is a part of IIT life, looking at it now, it all feels very nostalgic. I did not focus much on academics though, as I was more inclined towards extracurriculars, in particular entrepreneurship, sports, and hostel activities.
Skills learned in IIT are more about personal development more than anything. The analytical skill set of how do you look at things, how do you analyze things, they ultimately make you naturally sharp at understanding great complexities. The relationship development that you learn, being friends with different kinds of people, gilds your persona.
Where do you work currently?
I am working at a Private Equity Firm called Carlyle Group, the world’s second-largest Private Equity and Financial Services Corporation. It is fairly active in India, has made an investment in India of more than 2.5 billion dollars. I have been working here as an Associate for three years. This is my first real experience of working in a corporate environment. A first glimpse of what a company looks like and how life is different from the fun at IIT. All in all, it’s a delightful exposure.
What made you choose the Financial Services industry over any other job? Did you plan/ were you attracted to this field from the start, at IIT?
The field ensures a meaningful job with a lot of financial stability. However, it’s a very heavy responsibility-demanding profession. You have to look at a wide array of things to understand about business, go into a deep level of details regarding financial rights, commercial rights, industrial rights and have to understand all the moving parts of the market in an industry before you make a decision regarding investment. Personal stake is on the line. You have that level of responsibility, so you have to go into extreme depths to understand things. Overall, it is an excellent learning experience that makes you self-reliant.
I did a minor degree in management from DMS. I enjoyed the courses very much. I also did a couple of economics courses. You must choose electives quite wisely. Whatever you learn at IIT, stays with you for a long time, so it’s good to make effective use of the facilities available.
If not for Carlyle, where would you have landed up?
Probably a startup of my own. I worked on my startup before joining Carlyle.
How would you describe your placements experience?
My focus was mainly on not wasting time, as there’s a lot to do depending upon what you’re aiming for. Microsoft and Google will look for pure coding skills, whereas McKinsey and BCG will look more for interpersonal skills. Likewise, Flipkart and Amazon will look for entrepreneurial skills where you will have to take up a lot of initiatives from day one itself, in contrast, companies like Morgan Stanley will look for financial and analytical skills.
The process is not as rigorous as the hype makes it out to be. Your resume should lucidly reflect the storyline of what you want to project yourself as in front of others.
So, there was this fortunate coincidence that happened. During my placement interview with Flipkart, the interviewer was a senior of IITD from the same hostel and the same branch. So, we had discussions about life here, the professors, the facilities apart from other things and I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. For the interview prep, it’s more about what you have achieved as being part of IIT.
What is the one message you would like to give to students?
Don’t waste time and get out of your comfort zone. Everyone has 24 hours in a day and it depends on how much you are able to derive out of it. Enjoy this process, you would later realize that this is ‘the best time’ of life. Make friends and learn along the way.
Journalist Priyanshi Gupta