Manish Kumar Pandey
“Three words that describe me: Disciplined, Motivated and Focused.”
Hometown: Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Fun Fact About Yourself: Had the privilege of donning on two uniforms for my Nation: Indian Air Force & Indian Army).
Undergraduate School and Major: Indira Gandhi National Open University – Bachelor of Arts (Public Administration).
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Indian Army (Major).
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of IIM Ahmedabad’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school, and why was it so important to you? I think the Case-based pedagogy followed by IIMA to impart the learnings while analyzing a business problem attracted me to the PGPX program. Case-Based pedagogy helps in developing critical thinking and transforms the managers into true leaders. Another thing which attracted me towards this program was the emphasis that it puts on handling of various initiatives by the students. This not only enables students to share their learnings among their peers, but also helps them develop necessary skills in leading and managing team members.
What has been your favorite course or extracurricular activity at IIM Ahmedabad? What has been the most important lesson that you have learned from it? The course in Business Strategy has been the most exciting for me until now; it has helped me to develop the ability to examine a business problem from a macro level. It has also made me use the learnings derived from other business subjects to attack any particular problem from multiple dimensions. I would say that the most important lesson that I have learnt until now from the classes in Business Strategy is that business problems seldom come in absolute black and white. It is the grey areas in between that will always challenge any business person to come up with a most rational solution given the amount of data visibility.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I come to IIMA after starting my career as a technician in Indian Air Force and then going on to command my troops while serving as an officer in Indian Army. I was able move my career from being a technician in Indian Air Force to an officer in the Indian Army and now a student of management in the best B-school in India for three reasons: sheer passion for growth, the ability to use the resources available in an efficient manner to maximize results, and an indomitable spirit to never to give up.
While I took leaps in my career, I also ensured that I offered my full support to many more like me who had that hunger for success in their belly but just lacked the direction to make it happen. I worked with these amazing people and ensured that they are able to meet their expectations. There is nothing more pleasing to know that I could make a positive contribution to the life of other human beings and that I would call is the most significant accomplishment in my career.
Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: IIMA is known for its academic rigor, and sometimes this means that participants must do some tradeoffs with respect to how they want to use the 24 hours. While everyone understands that academics do play an important role, an important part of the MBA is networking. To pursue a lifetime connection with my batch mates and to work on something other than academics, I stood for the elections of the Placement Committee at IIMA.
Since IIMA places more emphasis on students-driven initiatives, placement being one of them, I thought it would be the best opportunity for me to work along with my batch to ensure that we not only have an MBA degree after completing our academic work but also have good job opportunities to utilize our learnings from the classrooms at IIMA. Winning the trust of my batchmates in my ability to lead the placement drive has been a milestone for me. I would say that the biggest achievement for me is yet to come, and that would be when I would be able to meet the aspirations of all the 135 batchmates with the job opportunities that they are looking forward to enjoying.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? After completing a professionally challenging and personally satisfying tenure with the armed forces, I was looking for opportunities to further my career by taking up responsibilities in the corporate world. To take up these responsibilities and to discharge them in an efficient manner, I had to develop my abilities and knowledge about the various facets of business and how they interact with each other to enable a business unit to work efficiently. To fulfill these requirements, I planned to take up this one-year full time MBA program at IIMA so as to equip myself educationally and place my first foot on the corporate ladder in the best way possible.
Immediately after MBA from IIMA, I hope to take up the role of an Operations and Supply Chain Manager. In the long run. I want to use my experience from the military and combine it with the learnings gained from IIMA to move up to the leadership roles in the domain of Operations and Supply Chain.
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into IIM Ahmedabad? I think the biggest advice to the incoming candidates would be to be confident about their abilities and tell the absolute truth; that way, they will be more confident while pitching themselves. Along with this, I think a clear answer to the question as to how this MBA would help them reach from point A (where they are at present) to point B (where they want to be) would allow the candidates to refine their thought process and they would be in a much better shape to project their candidature.