Aman Mohan Sharma
Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
“A student at heart, I aim to make India’s Education-Technology ecosystem accessible to all.”
Hometown: Chandigarh, India
Fun Fact About Yourself: Do you remember the scene Platform 9 3/4 from Philosopher’s Stone when Fred and George play a prank on their mother by taking each other’s name as their own? After reading the Harry Potter collection, my twin and I would do the same to everyone around us. Funny part? It always worked!
Undergraduate School and Major: Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Bachelors of Technology in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Senior Manager, Business Intelligence at Vidyamandir Classes Pvt. Ltd.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of IIM Calcutta’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? IIM Calcutta is the first management institute in the country to be Triple Crowned – to be accredited by AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS. It is also one of the most reputed management institutes globally. This brand value certainly played a role in my decision-making. I understood that the case-based pedagogy will definitely help me to understand real-life scenario. I will be able to contribute to problem-solving and gain diverse perspectives from teammates.
Additionally, interactions with alums made me reaffirm that programs like Lattice are very exciting where I will get first-hand interaction with the best minds in industry and academia and discuss trends and opportunities in the Indian business environment. Having struggled to raise commensurate Institutional-funding, I wanted to immerse myself in various events and multi-diversified skill-sharpening clubs to identify new ideas and get added bonus of networking opportunities. Thus, the one-year MBA programme of IIM Calcutta with a focus on experiential learning seemed to be the enriched learning platform that would catalyze my transformation from a seasoned working professional to an ethical leader as I aspire to be.
What has been your favourite course or extracurricular activity at IIM Calcutta? What has been the most important lesson that you have learned from it? I would pick up the course on Information Technology. Coming from a non-tech background, I had a fear of not being able to perform in the course. However, the comprehensive content, meticulous design, and ‘creative’ delivery of the course helped me look at the subject from a very different lens and the case-based classroom discussions made me develop a more holistic attitude towards solving IT related business problems.
What has been the best part of studying business in Calcutta? Being a nature geek, I find myself at home in the flourishing campus with the seven lakes and picturesque flora. In the past three months, I find myself a part of a close-knit community of ever-accessible and supportive world-class academicians and future leaders who have pushed me to think to my limits and hence, helped in my personal and intellectual growth and have helped hone my sense of stewardship and responsibility.
Further, Calcutta has been a pre-emptive economic centre known for its manufacturing industries, financial and trade activities, and one of the cultural centres of India. This combination stimulates my interest wherein my interactions with different stakeholders have added to my sui-generic perspectives. Also, if I want solitude or want to be close to nature away from the campus then I can easily visit the Ganges or the Zoological/Botanic Gardens.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: A penchant for new initiatives and driving them through my persuasive skills has been a theme throughout my life. At one of my previous firms, I learned that there is no initiative for EWS of society. I persuaded the director to conduct a screening test for thousands of students in government schools for free coaching at the firm and took on the responsibility to get the government on-board for monetary help. I led a group of 50 parents to present my proposal to the government, which was negated at first due to the risks involved. However, after several rounds of discussions, I was able to convince senior bureaucrats about the benefits of the initiative. 150 students finally enrolled at the firm.
I value this accomplishment because it led to the firm starting a regular program for underserved students. The hardships faced in dealing with diverse stakeholders taught me important lessons that I have leveraged in my future professional and personal stints.
Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: Nearly three months into the MBAEx programme, I find myself as a much better version – a more resilient individual with a never-give-up attitude, hungry to be even better each passing day. Balancing between the rigorous curriculum, extra-curricular activities, and personal and professional relations has pushed me and challenged me. It has also has instilled a sense of ownership around my choices and decisions that are more well-thought and optimal now. As a result, I find myself to be more self-astute/self-aware.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I aspire to position myself as an influential leader in the general management/business strategy domain of the education sector. Teaching children of blue-collar workers at IIT-Roorkee’s NSS Association, I discovered first-hand the glaring unavailability of quality teaching, mentoring, and resources for talented students at the bottom-of-the-pyramid to fulfil their full potential. Inspired to engender significant impact (to serve the underserved), I chose my work firms such that I learn the inner workings of the coaching industry.
My interactions with various stakeholders for Industrial partnerships and promotion development helped sharpen my intrinsic soft skills and imbibed a strong functional skill set in operations management and business development. However, I have also aspired to move towards more strategic roles. India’s unorganised coaching industry is valued at tens of billions (USD) and has had a growth rate of 35%, but suffers from outreach problems. In this regard, I have had an overarching ambition to start a venture that will provide quality coaching to underprivileged children. Towards this ultimate goal, in the short term, I want to join a firm as a strategic head where my goal will be to create a roadmap for the organisational growth of the firm. I will do this by identifying opportunities and giving it the strategic depth of vision and thought leadership, thus, leveraging the learnings/experiences towards my ambition.
To take my career to the next level, I needed to imbibe more structured decision-making frameworks and garner more exposure. I was confident, from my interactions with peers, senior, alums that one-year MBA would provide the perfect platform that would equip me with the required knowledge and skills with an emphasis on Strategy, Marketing and Operations. Having read numerous student and alumni blogs, I was convinced that my stint as a MBA student will propel me toward my overarching goals.
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into IIM Calcutta? It is critical, to be honest with one’s self and ask the questions: Where do I want to be and how will doing MBA from IIM Calcutta will help me in the same? It is a fast-paced course that demands a lot and also rewards a lot, so, it is essential to have tremendous self-belief and the hunger to unlearn and learn.
Once you feel confident and have made an informed decision about wanting to be in IIM Calcutta, leave no stone unturned to achieve it but that doesn’t mean that you lose out on your job and other personal responsibilities. For this, it is important to start early and not take hasty calls. Try to enjoy the entire application process. This includes writing GMAT to preparing essays, applications, and SOPs (give a lot of self-reflection and help in identifying/understanding strengths and weaknesses). Each step is a great learning curve in itself. Be honest and transparent, put in a lot of hard work and soon you will find yourself in the world of Jokars!