FROM GUARDING NATION’S COASTLINE TO MANAGING OPERATIONS IN CORPORATE
I believe two factors determine success. First is the determination and will to ‘make it happen’ and second is the support from the immediate ecosystem. Are you willing to make sacrifices to achieve your goals? Are you prepared to recover after a failure and charge at your goal again? Without the “fire within” it is nearly impossible to be successful.
Early Life & College: Realising what I want
I hail from Kanpur & feel a unique connection to the city unbiased and un-parallel. My parents were middle-class individuals who had to strive for everything we made. Growing up, I had a keen interest in literature and dreamed of being a journalist when I grew up. I wanted to lead, inspire, talk and raise a breed of empathetic women leaders. But as fate would have it, I succumbed to the social biases of our society and decided to pursue engineering.
My college days were very fruitful and made a lasting impression. The thirst for knowledge is still lit inside and I feel I can never stop studying. Learning new things was at its peak during the engineering days. I was ECE student with a .NET certification and a Microsoft Student Partner. I wrote a couple of papers during my graduating year and a few of them even got published in journals.
Upon graduating, I was campus-placed as a program analyst in an organisation in Pune. Though the opportunity was great, the mundane activities sunk me. I felt that even after I had traced the entire path planned by my parents, software was not my calling. I did not want to get ‘lost in the crowd’. As they say, “If you desire something in life, the whole universe conspires to make it happen.” My desire led me to join the “Indian Naval Academy.” I got inducted as Assistant Commandant in the Indian Coast Guard, the fourth armed force of the union. I never had a preference on the cadre of force to join. All I wanted was to spread my wings and soar high. With my infectious positivity, I believed I could fit in anywhere.
Life as a Maritime Officer: Serving the nation
The journey in the Indian Coast Guard is not easy and comes with its bottlenecks, roadblocks, and a complete system breakdown at times. Undergoing military training was probably the best thing that happened to me. It instilled the principles of “right time, right rig, right place” and the pedigree of integrity, curiosity & ownership. I had the privilege to serve the nation in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. The eight years in the forces taught me the significance of life. I got a chance to work under the current Director General of Coast Guard and other high magneto leaders.
Life beyond Forces: Motherhood & Transition
While I was still serving in the forces, I was blessed with a baby boy. His advent changed my perspective completely. The empathy and synergy all doubled up and “lead by example" became a mission of my life. After a glorious eight-year stint with services, I retired in 2019 and headed to my next goal post. During the transition, I decided to take a step-by-step approach while remain open to opportunities. Since I bet on myself for plotting my own life and breaking biases, I promised myself to follow my passion.
I joined as a Senior Manager at Genpact in January of 2020. It was also the year pandemic hit the world, making my induction a little difficult. I have spent close to two years in the function and have armed myself with learnings in all ways possible. I realised that having the tools and skills was not enough and it was important I learnt how to use them. I started at the core, deep diving into education and profession at the same time. I was able to get lean six sigma green belt certified within a year of my job. The following year, I decided to clear the PMP certification and by the end of October, I was certified. The journey from conception to inception is the key. Once you reach your destination, a new journey begins. Give yourself short-term landmarks and rejoice when you capture them.
My PGPpro Journey: Why EMBA
Towards the early part of second year of my corporate life, I realised that formal education & training is important. Afterall, a fool with a tool is still a fool. My foremost preference was the Executive MBA programme offered by Indian School of Business. I had heard about it from peers and had received positive feedback. I decided to take my journey ahead with ISB, filled in the application, made it to ISB & the rest is history.
PGPpro is best for high-octane professionals. It is flexible enough to give you time for work deliverables, family life, and even hobbies! This course not only gave me a vector but also introduced me to new avenues in life. After two years and several transformations enabling functions, I set a course to operations in my current organisation. I am now working as a Business Analyst in the CGRLH vertical.
During PGPpro, two things never left my side. One was my books and the other was gardening. Seeing a seed germinate into a plant and yield flowers is therapeutic. It is in my nature to nurture. I firmly practice this routine and it makes me more productive. I am the club lead for “Women in Leadership PGPpro22” which is formed to connect, address & unite women leaders of all cohorts. It is important to take the time off and do what you love. Positivity is infectious. Once you have set yourself on a course, be positive and take a pounce. You will surely succeed.
With this, I sign off, hoping that my story will tickle a few and motivate the others. Feel free to reach out to me. Let us raise an army of empathetic individuals and #breakthebias.