“I am a serial entrepreneur, an organic farmer, a loving husband and a loyal friend!”
Hometown: Ahmedabad/ Mumbai
Fun Fact About Yourself: I co-hold a Limca World Record (India’s Guinness Record) for “The longest plastic-refill chain” made by interlocking plastic refill chains to a length of 120m comprising 3600 refills.
Undergraduate School and Major: VIT University, Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Co-founder at The Baker’s Dozen – one of India’s largest artisan bread companies
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2014 almost two years into business, my start-up The Baker’s Dozen (manufacturer and retailer of artisan breads) was facing financial difficulty. My co-founders and I decided to redirect the strategy from establishing more own-brand retail locations to expand in modern-trade instead (supplying to supermarkets). Translating this thought into action required me to re-engineer the 40-member 3-shift production unit and gear towards scaling up to 5x capacity within three months. This required me to increase the workforce by 50%. Achieving this transformation in a tight start-up budget and time-constraints helped the business achieve profitability and chart a new trajectory of growth! All of this while retaining the deliciousness taste of our breads!
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Versatile, because they are equally comfortable networking in large crowds and going on a solo trip; Achievers, because they don’t rest on laurels; and Limitless because they introspect, distill insights, and put them into action.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? INSEAD’s goal to leverage diversity as a source of learning in a rigorous 10-month program resonated with me. The fact that it is a stand-alone institution and not part of a larger university helps INSEAD continuously reevaluate their purpose, leading to continuous improvement in their offerings.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school?
Technology in Business, Business in Asia/ Europe, Travelling, Diving,
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?
I started my business when I was 22. After five years of a steep learning curve, both personally and professionally, I could sense my growth plateau. Through these years I found my scope of work narrowing and becoming less challenging. In order to make an orbital jump in my thinking and career, I decided to pursue the INSEAD MBA.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment?
Initially, since I didn’t wish to take a long break from work, I had pursued a short management program at IIMA. But after finding it less impactful, I learnt something about myself: I can emerge as an improved version (of myself) only by completely immersing myself into a long-term management program.
What other MBA programs did you apply to?
IIMA, ISB, SBS- Oxford, LBS
How did you determine your fit at various schools? As I received admits from the other schools I applied to, I visited their faculty, students, and alumni, to have an open discussion to help me with my choice. I could clearly see that they held INSEAD in high regard and this helped vet the pedigree of the school in the global professional world.
The application process of INSEAD helped me dig deep into my subconscious and discover my truer self. The interviews with alumni were delightful conversations and the fine balance of an interview interwoven into a conversation impressed me.
Lastly, the flexibility offered in the INSEAD program to study with peers across continents and explore multiple career paths in an efficient 10-months sealed the deal for me.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are?
In my second year of undergraduate studies, I partnered with a few colleagues to participate in SAE Baja – an automotive competition in which 100 international teams participate. I was excited to design and build a car with my own hands! For this year long project, as a team we maintained our grades by day and toiled in the garage by night.
Strategically pitching to companies and raising $30,000 in sponsorship helped me understand the commercial aspects of the process.
We were up against teams from universities better funded and more experienced. Making the final presentation to the audience and winning 1st prize in India and outperforming many better-equipped teams at a global level was a defining moment for me. It instilled in me the confidence that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. And frankly, how many friends could bring up ‘building their own car’ when meeting new people at a bar!
What do you plan to do after you graduate? Post-INSEAD, I would like to take a young ambitious company from ‘zero to one’ and instill a culture to inspire and innovate.
Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I see myself as CEO of a billion dollar tech start-up, and as a happy dad.