Meet the PGP-BL Class of 2024: Ameya Agrawal, IIM Kozhikode

Ameya Agrawal

IIM Kozhikode

“Social impact trailblazer, Scribbling Wordsmith, MBA-bound dream-chaser, empathetic leader and aspiring global change-maker.”

Hometown: Pune, Maharashtra

Fun Fact About Yourself: Despite being a shy soul, I absolutely adore the limelight when it comes to skit performances! Since back in school, I played a kaleidoscope of roles and taken on various personas. So, if anyone ever needs an impromptu actor for some theatrical fun, I’m the go-to performer!

I started a personal initiative, ‘Lyrics of Success’ where I dedicated over 4000 hours writing about each reflection of my life experiences. It’s a bit like sending messages in a bottle out to the universe.

I also have a fondness for stringing words together and have written over 1800 quotes, all based on my learnings throughout my journey.

At the age of 21, I made my debut as a published author with a self-help book titled A Leap Within.

Undergraduate School and Major: MIT College of Engineering, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune | Electronics and Telecommunication

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Mahatma Gandhi Seva Sangh | CEO

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of IIM Kozhikode’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? In choosing a business school, it’s essential to find a place where you can not only grow academically but also personally. For me, the unique culture of IIM Kozhikode, embodied in its core values of Satyam, Nityam, and Purnam, which translate to Truth, Sustainability, and Wholeness, resonated deeply with my goal of developing an impactful leadership style that harmonizes profit with purpose.

The personal connection I felt with the alumni and the supportive community they described was a testament to this culture. Their dedication to guiding me even before my journey began showed me that at IIM Kozhikode, I would be part of a community that values mutual growth and support. This was critical for me because I believe that the best learning happens in a collaborative environment.

What has been your favorite course or extracurricular activity at IIM Kozhikode? What has been the most important lesson that you have learned from it?

One course that truly left an imprint on my experience at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Kozhikode was Organizational Behavior. Under the guidance of Professor Roopak Gupta, this course became more than just a series of lectures. It provided insightful lessons into understanding and managing human behavior within professional environments.

What set Organizational Behavior apart for me was not only its interesting content but also how it was taught. Professor Gupta created an engaging classroom experience that encouraged discussion and participation. We were prompted to share our thoughts, analyze varied scenarios, and delve deeper into the complexity of human behavior in organizations. This open dialogue enriched our understanding and made the course truly interactive.

Through this course, I gained a better understanding of my behavior and how to manage different personalities effectively. One important lesson was the realization that people’s behavior might be influenced by factors beyond their control. This understanding helped me develop empathy and patience, critical attributes in any organizational setting.

I realized that it is important to be flexible and dynamic when working in a team as we encounter a wide range of personalities and needs. It is not possible to achieve our goals without effectively managing these different personalities and this course equipped us with the necessary tools to balance these complexities.

Looking back, the most significant takeaway for me personally would be to avoid rushing to judgment about ourselves and people around us. It’s crucial to understand that human behavior is complex and often influenced by various underlying factors. Everyone has a different interpersonal need and being able to understand and somehow fulfill that is a sign of effective leadership. This combined knowledge underscores the importance of being patient, mindful, empathetic, and flexible in our interactions and also provide actionable points about ourselves.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As the CEO of Mahatma Gandhi Seva Sangh, an NGO working for rehabilitation of persons with disabilities, I had the privilege of leading my team to conceptualize and implement the first-ever large-scale socio-economic mapping of persons with disabilities. This covered their entire lifecycle by home-to-home survey, which involved more than 1.5 million participants in the Akola district of Maharashtra. Our mission was to analyze the needs and challenges faced by individuals with disabilities and to create a comprehensive action plan and report that could guide Government and administrative bodies in crafting effective policies and schemes.

This groundbreaking initiative, which was later termed as ‘Akola Pattern’, put persons with disabilities on the map, dramatically changing how policies and measures were implemented to improve their lives. Our efforts gained widespread appreciation across India, and the project was adopted at the State Level, earning the prestigious National Award from the President of India for the District. The success of the Akola Pattern caught the attention of the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, who announced the implementation of the project throughout the state. Discussions are also underway to replicate this initiative in other states as well.

During my tenure as CEO of MGSS, I also spearheaded various other innovative state-level initiatives, including establishing 11 District Disability Rehabilitation Centers across 11 districts in Maharashtra and Goa. These centers provided rehabilitation services that benefitted over 100,000 disabled individuals through counseling, mentoring, distribution of assistive devices, and implementation of government schemes. This contributed to our organization also receiving a National Award from the Hon’ble President of India for its work on the entire lifecycle of persons with disabilities from counseling and prevention to socio-economic rehabilitation of even the senior citizens with disability.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: With a demanding past working in an NGO and traveling extensively for work, stepping back into the structured world of lectures, assignments, and deadlines initially felt overwhelming.

In the beginning, they told us a joke that felt more like a prophecy as time wore on. They said, during your stay here, you could either “sleep, study, or enjoy,” but the catch was, you could only pick two. This wasn’t far from the truth, as I dived head-first into the relentless current of the one-year program with the rigour of two year program compressed in one.

Tackling this sea of challenges wasn’t a cakewalk, but it brought out a side of me I’m incredibly proud of. I learned to strike a balance between keeping up with the academic rigor and my personal development. I not only managed to navigate through the fast-paced academic environment, engaging actively in class discussions and meeting assignment deadlines, but also succeeded in applying the acquired knowledge to real-world scenarios.

But that’s not all. I also found a way to keep my love for storytelling alive amidst the academic whirlwind. I kick-started a personal initiative – the #IIMKaleidoscope series. This was my window to the diverse experiences of my peers. I got to interview fellow students, giving voice to their unique journeys of struggle, triumph, and resilience.

So, when asked about my biggest accomplishment as an MBA student, I don’t point to a particular medal or certificate. Instead, I talk about this entire journey. It’s the story of how I managed to readjust to student life, stay on top of a rigorous curriculum, and give life to an initiative that reflects the vibrant tapestry of my peers’ experiences. It’s a journey that has prepared me to embrace the forthcoming challenges and opportunities with open arms. And trust me, it’s been nothing short of an adventure!

What has been your most memorable experience at IIM Kozhikode? Why was it so special? One of the unique and cherished aspects has been experiencing the MBA journey alongside my wife, Vrushali Agrawal. Both of us hitting the pause button on our careers to pursue our dreams at the same time felt like a very bold move but it turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

There’s something incredibly special about navigating the ups-and-downs during the rigorous program together. Each day, we would share our learnings, brainstorm solutions, and broaden our perspectives based on each other’s experiences. It led to a newfound respect for each other and deepened our relationship.

Having Vrushali by my side also provided an exceptional level of comfort. In the whirlwind of the rigorous MBA life, knowing that we had each other’s backs provided a sense of calm.

Furthermore, the majestic campus, nestled amidst rolling hills, provided a serene backdrop to our academic pursuit. It’s hard to put into words the tranquility that engulfs me each time I gaze out the window.

Lastly, the love, camaraderie and empathy extended by our cohort have been nothing short of heartwarming. To be part of such a talented, intelligent, and supportive group of individuals has enriched my experience beyond academics.

In short, my most cherished memory at IIM Kozhikode is this shared academic voyage with my wife, set against a picturesque backdrop and accompanied by a vibrant community—an unforgettable blend of personal and academic growth.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I have decided to pursue an MBA for several reasons. First, my aspirations lie in taking up management consulting roles in organizations working in the social impact domain that would allow me to gain insights into driving change, implementing global solutions in a structured manner, and ensuring that they reach even the remotest parts of society.

In the long term, I plan to use my past experiences to start my own social enterprise and collaborate with international organizations like the World Bank and United Nations. I vision is to build a system that would ensure that the social and corporate sectors work hand in hand to empower marginalized communities.

Having learned a lot while working as CEO at my last organization, MGSS, I feel that I had reached a ceiling in terms of growth. With two National Awards to our credit, I aspired to take on leadership roles in larger organizations, which would present bigger challenges and opportunities for impact at the national level.

I believe an MBA program would be highly beneficial to tackle these increased responsibilities and bridge any gaps in my skillset. With six years of experience under my belt, I believe I am in a prime position to learn, experiment, utilize my past experiment and use that to propel my career forward.

I aim to strengthen my skills at the intersection of strategy, management, and social impact and align them with my broader interest in brand-building. I realized that a structured classroom learning approach, a balanced theory framework, and practical knowledge would enable me to learn essential skills quickly and apply them to real-life scenarios.

Peer learning is a big reason for the MBA because it opens you up for different perspective and broaden your horizon of thinking. You understand how your past experience fits in certain frameworks and you learn about things you don’t even know existed. I was confident that the MBA program at IIMK would offer the perfect balance of speed and rigor to expand my academic horizons and advance my career in line with my aspirations.

DON’T MISS: MEET IIM KOZHIKODE’S PGP-BL CLASS OF 2024

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