2022 Best & Brightest MBA: Kaumudi Tiwari, IIM Ahmedabad

Kaumudi Tiwari

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

“A marketing professional with 5 years of experience in marketing, brands, communications, and program management.”

Hometown: New Delhi, India

Fun fact about yourself: I am a soliloquist!

Undergraduate School and Degree: I hold a Post-Graduate Diploma in Advertising & Public Relations from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in New Delhi; and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree from Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I was working as a Manager of Business-to-Consumer Marketing at Lufthansa Group Airlines. In this role, I was responsible for strategizing and executing the consumer marketing activities for the Group’s carriers in India.

Prior to that I have worked with the global communications firm Edelman on the Public Relations mandates of brands like Royal Dutch Shell and British Council.

Where have you interned during business school? Being a one-year programme, IIMA PGPX encourages students to take up as many academic and non-academic activities as possible. As a result, I took up things like: holding the position of Secretary for the IIMA PGPX Alumni Committee; being part of a series of events meant aimed at smooth onboarding of the class of 2022; and participating in the Global Management Challenge.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will soon be joining Google as a Search Specialist. In this role, I will own the end-to-end Search Strategy for key business clients of Google. It will be my responsibility to pitch and activate new Google products and search solutions, and act as the client advocate within the organization.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I was the Secretary for Alumni Relations Committee for the PGPX Programme of IIM Ahmedabad. As part of this role, I led an 8-member team to strengthen and leverage the institution’s relations with its alumni across programmes. The idea was to ensure focused and meaningful interactions between alumni and students across the year. As part of the initiative, our team worked to ensure the highest attendance figures for the annual programme-specific alumni meet, Xpressions 2021. We have also ensured onboarding of the current batch on formal and informal alumni channels across media platforms. Even as we graduate, we will continue working with the institution to onboard the Alumni Committee of Class of 2023.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am rather proud of the clarity of thought with which I came to business school, and with which I etched my path here. In management schools like IIM Ahmedabad, there are innumerable career trajectories that one can take. It is easy to be influenced by your peers and follow the bandwagon without fully dissecting which job roles work for you, and which are outside your area of interest. I came knowing I wanted to sharpen my skills in domains of marketing and business strategy and enter job roles in this area, and that is what I will be doing next. It is my work experience in the domain of marketing and my learnings of business strategy from IIMA that will pave my way to my new role at Google.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am proud of having been the youngest person in all of Lufthansa German Airlines Marketing team entrusted to be the Social Media Lead for a dynamic market like India.

Why did you choose this business school? For a student coming from a social sciences and marketing background, an MBA programme can seem to be a daunting and intimidating experience. When I got my offer letter from IIMA, I spoke to many alumni from similar domains and shared my anxiety about the coursework. And that is when I understood one of the key characteristics of the programme – the coursework here is designed in a way to ensure that each candidate can make the best of her own skillset to navigate the various course modules. For instance, a course in Finance Reporting and Analysis is taught without presupposing any understanding of the domain on part of the participants. This kind of awareness of the students’ learning needs was a big motivator for me to join the IIMA PGPX cohort. The programme’s academic rigor is hard no matter where you come from, but it does equip everyone with the tools needed to ensure all participants derive value from the experience. This became a big reason for me choosing this school and this programme.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I would like to use this space to give a shout out to Prof Chinmay Tumbe’s course on Business History. Quirkily titled as ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to Business and Economies across Five Centuries’, this course by Prof. Tumbe provided a deep insight into the Indian and international socio-political events that influenced trade and commerce. Prof. Chinmay teaches the course with lots of passion, facts and on-ground projects and helps students explore an area that management graduates rarely look at but can learn so much from.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favourite tradition has been the one of taking multiple walks to ‘BB’, the local café at IIMA campus, colloquially named so after its proprietor and grilled cheese sandwich legend, Bhavesh Bhai. Snack hunts at BB have been the starting point and closing ceremony of many study sessions, committee and club meetings, game nights, dinner plans and dates for students and staff alike.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you would do differently and why? I would interact a lot more with students of different programmes at IIMA. One of the biggest advantages of IIM Ahmedabad is the openness and accessibility it provides to its inhabitants in interacting with one another – across programmes, courses, geographies, and areas of expertise. I would have loved to have capitalized on that to further strengthen my professional network. The great thing is that there are several formal and informal channels IIMA students and alumni have formed over the years, and I am sure I’ll be able to make up for the above via these channels in the years to come.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the business school you chose? I made a very comprehensive list of my career highlights with appropriate data points/facts backing each of them. Not only did this give me a bird’s eye view of my own career trajectory, but it also made the process of filling applications much more streamlined. IIMA PGPX values the profiles and interviews of candidates to a great extent. With the said list with me, it became easier to present my candidature to the IIMA panel and explain clearly what value I seek to derive from the programme.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business as a student? For me, an education in management was a very personal decision driven by my own research and introspection of where I was professionally and where I wanted to go. I had peers giving me the pros and cons of the same, but the drive to go for it came from within myself. I knew I will reach my professional goals eventually, this experience at IIMA PGPX ensured the process was fast-tracked and I was skill-ready for newer challenges.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

I would like to develop, drive, and own the global strategy development and consumer engagement aspects of brands spread across cultures and markets.

Additionally, I would like to reconnect with my educational background in academic research and develop a book concept on India’s first set of female constitution makers.

What made Kaumudi such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“As a person with a background in advertising and mass communication, and work experience at Lufthansa, Kaumudi adds to the diversity of the cohort. As the head of the alumni committee at IIMA, she contributed significantly to strengthening the relationship of the cohort with the alumni. Going forward, she intends to work with Google as a search specialist.”

Ankur Sinha
Chairperson of the Placement Process

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