Meet the Indian School of Business’ MBA Class of 2017

Vivek Desai

Indian School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less:  Engineer | Marketer | Tech Enthusiast | Music Lover | Foodie| Passionate

Hometown: Mumbai, Maharashtra

Fun Fact About Yourself: Music is my caffeine. It always keeps going, be it while working, studying or just relaxing. Thus, it won’t be surprising if somebody thinks that earphones are a part of my body.

Undergraduate School and Major: Bachelor of Engineering (Telecommunications), D. J. Sanghvi College of Engineering (University of Mumbai)

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Associate Manager – Marketing, Endurance International Group India (formerly part of Directi)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest achievement is the positive impact I had on my business unit in the four years that I was there. I achieved this through innovation, collaboration and going beyond what was expected of me.

As a self-taught marketer, I initiated a change in strategy by shifting focus to inbound marketing. I conceptualized high-impact marketing activities for lead generation that contributed to over 50% of sales deal value via marketing activities. Adding to our outbound marketing efforts, I proposed the introduction of online advertising. The result was a 2x increase in sales inquiries. Owing to my success, I was entrusted with increasingly bigger responsibilities. I spearheaded launches of six business solutions and six products coordinating across functional teams and departments. The successful launches of the solutions and the subsequent marketing activities made us the default provider of the solutions in the industry.

This entire experience is pivotal for my career. It provided immense learning, professional growth, and leadership training. It taught me that the drive to achieve success fuels creative thinking and makes problem solving easy. A constant urge to learn something new helps one, not only to specialize in a function, but also to develop into a well-rounded business leader.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Don’t consider to ISB your goal. Rather, consider it a pit-stop in your career that will accelerate your career trajectory. Be clear about why you want to do an MBA and when it is the right time for you to make that investment. I strongly believe that having some good amount of experience under your belt will greatly help you make the most of your MBA. So whatever work (function and industry) you are doing right now, make sure you strive to become as proficient in it as possible. This will not only enable you to become a subject-matter expert in your class, but also allow you to grasp concepts well by making references with your previous experience.

For application preparation, reach out to alumni and current students. Try and learn as much as you can about the ISB course and other aspects. This will help you judge ISB’s fit for you and vice-versa. Take enough time to prepare your application and essays.

The ISB Programme is a 2 year MBA compressed into 1 year. So be prepared for a grueling year of academics and extra-curricular activities. It is a like an unlimited buffet; how much you take on your plate depends on your capacity. So make sure to prioritize and not to lose focus. Also, don’t just network, but make friends here; there is a lot of out-of-the-class learning that takes place. To conclude, don’t restrict yourself from exploring different opportunities at ISB. Be open to change and get ready to be transformed.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? As I grew in my organization and gained more responsibilities, I realized that there were several hard skills that I didn’t possess and it was time for a formal education in business management. Having already worked with several ISB alums, I was well aware of the quality of education and life-changing experience that the ISB PGP programme offers.

Also, as I intend to settle in India, ISB was the best option for me in terms of return on investment. The ISB admissions process is pretty rigorous and this shows in the class quality and diversity. We have professionals from the armed forces, architects, doctors, CAs, bankers, engineers and from other fields. This greatly enhances the class and peer-to-peer learning experience. Also, I strongly believe that ISB hosts among the best teaching faculty in the world. We are taught by our resident and visiting faculties from various institutes around the world, some of whom are among the top 10 influencers globally in their fields. There are also several other learning experiences such as alumni mentoring sessions, industry-leaders speaker sessions, workshops, industry treks and other activities. All of these, accompanied with the state-of-the-art facilities, packed together, offer a life-transformative experience.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? In line with my goal of being an intermediary between technology and business, my short-term goal was to become a product manager in a technology company. My engineering background enables me to easily understand technical aspects, while my professional experience empowers me with a host of transferable skills. After gaining sufficient experience, I aim to progress to a business head position, leading an entire business unit, driving its vision and strategy at a major technology powerhouse such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.

Post ISB, I will be joining Paytm – a FinTech and ecommerce company in a product leadership role. With the rapid expansion of online payments adoption in India and the introduction of payment banks, it is an exciting time to be working in this space.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.