Adwait Singhai, the former BSA Gen Secy with a lanky frame and curly hair, is now an employee at the much acclaimed and sought-after Boston Consulting Group (BCG). It might be all hunky dory for him now, but every success story involves an immense level of dedication and hardwork. And Adwait’s case is no different. Here is an account of his experiences and the invaluable lessons he has gained during his college and job life.
Most people don’t know what they want to do in life in their first two years in college. Some eventually gain enlightenment while others have to rely on decision-making through the option-elimination strategy. I am an example of the latter. I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to pursue an MBA or a MS, primarily because I don’t think I had perspective of where and how was I supposed to apply the things I was studying in classes. After looking at the trajectories of seniors who had been at similar cross roads, consulting became an obvious choice for me. Consulting involves a lot of structuring, planning, scheduling, cross -functionality – things which I had seen glimpses of during my four years at college. Moreover, consulting is a profession that permits loads of exit options along with short exposures in diverse sectors ranging from IT to healthcare. The above two factors were pivotal to my decision of taking up consultancy as my first profession.
All of you know how a typical day in IITD is spent. But a consultancy life is pretty different I must say. Our day starts at 8 in the morning. Then we reach the client office by 9 and then work till 7-8 pm in the evening. During the work hours we are mostly interacting with clients, gathering data, discussing hypothesis and evaluating possible solutions with cross functional teams. We also have to work post 8 after dinner. The bottom line is that we need get our work done by the end of the day. So, procrastination is not a word in a consultant’s dictionary. In addition, we also have to travel a lot.
We also asked Adwait how much life had changed for him, as compared to the college days. Amusing answers but absolutely true to the core. Quoting him,
The food is definitely better. I am never out of pocket money. And I use my own toothpaste. Also, there is no concept of proxy here (Old habits better die quickly in this case!). Naturally, I don’t get to play much now or hang out with friends during weekdays. In a nutshell, now life is different in all aspects. Luckil,y during weekend get-togethers with friends, everyone is back to their good old college days. The only difference is that now we all have money for exotic non-alcoholic drinks and food, a privilege only very few can boast of during the college years. Another aspect of a job is the maturity it inculcates in a person. A lot of responsibility sets in. You are solely responsible for delivering value to the client who is paying a heck lot of money for it. You can no longer hide behind the class performance. And interestingly, their grading scheme is reminiscent of our IIT’s NIN’s and NEN’s - either Pass or Fail. And you better not fail. Who knows how many chances you get to pass such a heavy-credit course again?
When asked if the core courses were helpful in any way during the job, he gave us an answer that is bound to astonish many of us. He answered,
ABSOLUTELY. In-fact all the courses I pursued in IIT, core/non-core have helped at some point. I have been working in the Consumer Goods industry and I have emailed all my professors, called up PhDs, enquiring about the manufacturing processes I had studied, software we were introduced to in college etc. Also, now I have developed a strong context for what I had studied in college.” Adwait also advised that core-courses must be taken seriously even if there might be a meager chance of you ending up in a core job. It is more important to understand the concepts, and the What, Why, How and When of the content.
And lastly, we asked him to impart some fundae for his juniors and future consultancy aspirants and reflect on the one thing he misses the most. His message is a true embodiment of the culture that IITD strives to inculcate within its students.
Spend some time on your courses; if not score good try to grasp the concept at least. IIT gives you a lot of facilities, try and explore as many as you can. You will cherish this experience after college. Make the most of your college life while you can.
I knew this question would come. And even though IIT Delhi gives you so many things, if there is one thing that supercedes all, that is friendship. According to me college friends are the biggest asset and it is the memories, they help you in creating, that ultimately stay with you.
And if a BCG consultant is saying so, you better listen!