Meet the MBAEx Class of 2023: Jignesh Panchal, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta

Jignesh Panchal 

Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta  

“I am an adventure-loving curious person who is always looking for intellectual learning, interesting conversations, good food, and unique places to travel.” 

Hometown: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Fun Fact About Yourself:  Even though I am afraid of heights, I have trekked many mountain peaks in India and UAE including the highest in UAE – Jebel Jais & Jebel Yibir, and have ziplined from 5 different mountains in Mauritius.

Also, photos clicked by me (depicting symmetry & cultural reflections in Omani Monuments) have been featured multiple times in The Week – Oman’s Weekly Paper.

Undergraduate School and Major: Post-Graduate Diploma in Advanced Construction Management (PGPACM) from NICMAR; Bachelors of Engineering in Civil Engineering from Mumbai University

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: ABM Group, Dubai (UAE) – Senior Quantity Surveyor / Project Coordinator

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? Since my experience has been in a core industry (Construction), I was looking for a business school, which offered 1 year MBA with rigorous exposure in areas that fit with my career interests (Finance, Strategy, Information Technology & Legal) with top-notch faculty and IIM Calcutta sufficed this need perfectly. The faculty here make you unlearn your past experiences, deconstruct various scenarios during class discussions, and effectively pave the entire MBA experience to get us closer to our ‘why question’. IIM Calcutta also has many opportunities for students to get hands-on experience outside of the classroom with vibrant clubs and communities and the intimate batch size ensures that we all have sufficient access to those resources.

What has been your favorite course or extracurricular activity at IIM Calcutta? What has been the most important lesson that you have learned from it? I had always wanted to polish my public speaking skills, especially in front of large audiences and that’s the reason I joined the Toastmasters club at IIM Calcutta. It is an extremely supportive group of people encouraging every participant to express themselves without feeling any sense of discomfort, especially stressing on delivering interesting monologues fearlessly. These Toastmasters’ sessions have been exceedingly helpful in experimental engagement with audiences using different MacGuffins for solidifying my interest in effective public speaking and holding strategic argumentation for conveying my point of view.

What has been the best part of studying business in Calcutta? There are three aspects that make studying at IIM Calcutta a unique experience – Diversity, Industry Exposure, and the Joka culture. Diversity is one of the key factors of our class of 2023 with people from different domains giving varied perspectives on the same problem at hand and having focused discussions with some of the best faculty in the country making it even more special. Also, weekly speaker series and frequent interactions with Industry stalwarts give us a cohesive all-rounded learning experience within a short duration. The cherry on the cake is the Joka camaraderie and motto of “Leave no Jokar behind” – which is unique to this campus assuring that everyone looks after each other with empathy.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: There are multiple accomplishments that I have achieved while managing huge multicultural teams and tedious government regulations. However, the biggest highlight has been completing Turnkey Construction of a 400,000 Sq. Ft. School Project in Dubai. I did this within a difficult deadline of 13 months while limiting it within the project budget assigned and making it profitable for my Organization as the Project head.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: It is adapting to the time commitment required for being an MBA student especially after having worked in the industry and re-entering the academic environment after 12+ years – along with maintaining paternal commitments towards my 10-month-old baby. In other words, finding the correct balance between school, networking, maintaining physical and mental health, participating in extracurricular activities, and family life has taken some trial-and-error but I have enjoyed every minute of it.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? During my past experiences, while leading multicultural teams (especially during the pandemic), I realized the need for understanding the motivations of people and adapting leadership styles to inspire and drive them in the face of difficulties. So, I decided to pursue an MBA for refreshing my mindset, prepare my business foundation, and complement my technical skills with sufficient leadership training for managing C-suite positions. Post-MBA, I look forward to working in leadership roles in the domain of the Construction industry handling General Management roles across varied geographies.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into IIM Calcutta?  Before applying to the program, apprehend the importance of the school’s strategic advantage in your career. Explore your purpose and how IIM Calcutta fits into that by meticulously understanding the school’s culture, academic prowess, faculty, and various clubs being operated on the campus. You can find data from the website, but a more insightful understanding can be achieved through attending admission-related webinars and interacting with the alumni through social media platforms. Lastly, let your uniqueness shine through your application by being authentic and persistent.


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