Meet the PGP-BL Class of 2024: Dharan Chakravarthi, IIM Kozhikode

Dharan Chakravarthi

IIM Kozhikode

“A passionate, empathetic and resilient individual who learnt to never back off from following his dreams.”

Hometown: Coonoor, The Nilgiris, TamilNadu

Fun Fact About Yourself: I used to enjoy taking the cattle to graze as a kid at my grandparents’ farm house and at times I keep grooving for no reason.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Cognizant Technology Solutions – Senior Associate

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? I’ve heard a lot about IIM Kozhikode earlier, as one of the most prestigious business schools in the country. When I saw an MBA program on it’s website with the name “Business Leadership” while I was deciding to apply to a one-year MBA program, it instantly grabbed my attention. The name showed how progressive and unique the Institution is by not just creating MBA graduates but “Business Leaders”, which was the key aspect I was looking for. I was very particular about the fact that pursuing an MBA after quitting my job after 7 years and not being able to support my family for a year should be worth the time and effort. To have these expectations met was very important to me and I strongly believed the MBA (PGP Business Leadership) program at IIM Kozhikode had everything to offer.

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? IIM Kozhikode exposed to me a variety of amazing courses from which I learnt so much. My favorite one would be Managing People and Performance in Organizations by Prof. Dr. Rupak Kumar Gupta.

The concepts that were taught in class were so relatable that I found each concept resonating with the experiences from my previous organization. We were asked to take up a variety of psychometric tests as part of the course and the outcome of which cannot be experienced elsewhere. It showed me who I am and helped me identify the qualities of mine that I never knew I possessed. The group projects were very unique and the professor gave us the freedom to be as creative as possible to present the topics in class. Each group went above-and-beyond to make their presentation outstanding by organizing interesting group activities for the entire class, making short films, enacting skits, and much more. For our final project, we interviewed a business leader who inspired me about navigating the path of leadership by understanding his skills, experiences, and success stories that was very informative and was appreciated by everyone. After the course, the most important lesson I learned was how important self-awareness is for one’s success as a future business leader, without which we might miss the best within us when left unexplored.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2017, due to work tasks that were time-consuming, I wanted to simplify the process. I wrote a simple automation script that reduced my manual effort to a great extent that I started liking the process. Being excited and happy, I shared it with the rest of my team. On seeing the script, a few of my colleagues laughed at me in front of the whole team, telling it was very simple in a very demotivating way. The worst part was, I let it affect me. I never worked on any automation projects going forward thinking I wasn’t good enough.

After a couple of years, I was approached to provide an automation solution for a tedious process used by team of twenty people, who worked all weekdays and weekends not being able to spend time for themselves. However, I was not confident enough to even look into the process. When I had to, I hesitantly gave a suggestion. That suggestion was liked by all the members of the senior management of that team for which I was well appreciated. I went ahead to work on the project and we successfully reduced approximately 10,000 hours of manual effort for the team that brought great recognition. Having completed the project was a success. However, working my way through realizing that I should not let anyone decide who I am or what I am capable of, was a wholesome accomplishment – and a lesson that I am carrying forward till today and will for the rest of my life.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: My biggest accomplishment as an MBA student is how I manage time and resources efficiently. I became more mindful of what I do, how I do it, and when I do it. This, I feel, is much needed for an MBA student who is going to be a future business leader and something that was there in me earlier but my thoughts and approach for it were not structured. I also made so many connections here which I wouldn’t have otherwise, which is also an accomplishment because the network is what that makes the difference.

What has been your most memorable experience at IIM Kozhikode? Why was it so special? Every day is a unique experience, but the most memorable experience was the first month of our stay here at the campus during our induction. We were all allotted guest rooms with cozy bed and all necessary amenities like in a 3-star hotel and the block was for both men and women. After dinner we used to randomly gather at a huge sit out area for the mesmerizing night view IIM Kozhikode had to offer. This gave an opportunity to interact with many of my peers right from the first day. The number of us who spent time there every night increased day-by-day and it became a regular spot for us. The interactions began with basic introduction and then it was all about hobbies, unique talents, world happenings, technology, fashion, work experiences, and memories. After a month, when we moved to our respective hostels. We did not get the time or the opportunity to visit our spot like before but the experience that it gave is so memorable that will stay etched forever.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? When I became a team lead and had people reporting to me, my very first thought was this: “Will people listen to you as you don’t have that commanding voice?”. I thought this was required to handle a team effectively. Well, what happened later proved the question wrong.

My reports always enjoyed working with me. Every task I assigned to them was completed on time. It was not out fear, but the way I approached. They used to give me positive feedback even when not asked for. This made me realize I was a good lead and that commanding tone was not required to be a good leader. This made me want to become a business leader, while I also enjoyed the management work assigned to me by my supervisor. I was bound to the technical role more than the management side of it, which made me want to get into a top business school that offers a one-year MBA for people with a decent amount of work experience.

“Leaders are not made but are born” some might say, but I feel people with leadership skills can be groomed to become great leaders and that is why I’m here doing an MBA at this prestigious institution.

After my graduation I am looking forward to work in a role in the field of technology where I can use the managerial experience I gain through the course and the technical expertise I gained over the years at my previous organization. I’m looking forward to become a leader who inspires others.

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

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