Meet IMD’s MBA Class Of 2019

Vivekanand Pandey

IMD Business School

“A high-energy, auto-enthusiast, who is passionate about digital disruption and enjoys learning about new cultures.”

Hometown: Motihari, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: My parents enrolled me in the pre-medical stream in my high school in India. Given my love for mathematics the very next day I switched to pre-engineering and waited until graduation to inform them. Eventually they supported my decision.

Undergraduate School and Major: Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi, India; Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Tata Motors Limited, Deputy General Manager (Marketing)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While leading the marketing projects of the medium and heavy commercial vehicles business at Tata Motors, I oversaw the daily activities of approximately 10,000 frontline sales executives. I observed in great detail the flow of product pitches, discount negotiations, sales pipeline tracking and sales force onboarding.

I saw an opportunity to improve these processes by creating a digital platform (e-Guru) to facilitate sales force interactions with our customers. It would support them in product pitches and allow for competitor comparisons on technical and commercial aspects. In addition, e-Guru did live-tracking of the sales pipeline and expedited new hire onboarding. Moreover, to save costs and increase efficiencies I led the project with the in-house IT team.

Developing a solution is one challenge, implementing it is quite another. For implementation, I achieved buy-in of over 200 CEOs of dealerships and rolled out e-Guru in nine months and enabled it to be self-sustainable. E-Guru revolutionized the way that Tata Motors Commercial Vehicle Business unit sells vehicles and has resulted in a stronger team with better capabilities. I consider this project as my biggest accomplishment.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Our batch is known as Magic 90, and I do believe that each one of us has at least one magical quality. “Goal-oriented” however, would describe all of us, and what brought us here to IMD.

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? One of the major key factors that led me to choose this program was the unique leadership stream. I believe that a good leader first learns how to manage oneself well and then manages people effectively. Our Leadership stream focuses on self-awareness, reflection, improvement of oneself, and overcoming behaviors rooted in past experiences.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am part of the social media marketing team for the IMD MBA program. I have always been a firm believer of power of social media and this is a great way for us to share our experiences as MBA students.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After working for over 9 years at a leading automobile company across operations, sales, marketing, and project management roles, I was ready for a professional change. I aspired to transition from a corporate Indian manager to a global leader. In order to achieve this, an international MBA with a diverse peer group was the right choice. IMD Business School offers one of the most prestigious one-year MBA programs globally with extensive emphasis on honing leadership skills, individual development, and real-life learning. This MBA program was a right fit for me, and the timing was perfect.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? IMD was the only school that I applied to for MBA programs.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? My top criteria were class size, course duration, academic rigor, pedagogy, and career offerings. I used a very MBA specific tool – Options-Criteria matrix – to determine my fit at various schools. Through online research and speaking with alumni of various schools I got a birds-eye-view of the culture and fit, and this heavily influence my ultimate choice.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are?Making the decision to join Tata Motors from my post-graduation job options changed my life. I grew from a graduate engineering trainee to managing cross-functional teams of over 100 people. It made me who I am today.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In an international role leading product development for a company making a positive impact in our world.

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