Meet the MBAEx Class of 2024: Ashwini Chavan, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta

Ashwini Chavan

IIM Calcutta

School: Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School, Nagpur

“Compassionate, honest, humble, cheerful with a million-dollar smile, patient listener, and always a learner.”

Hometown: Nagpur, Maharashtra

Fun Fact About Yourself: I get high with dance. Mad for dance!

Undergraduate School and Major: BTech,Electrical and Electronics, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (2016-2023): Worked as a public servant to serve the people at grassroots level and got the opportunity to perform diverse leadership roles like Section Head (led a team of 13+ members), Head of Meter Testing Unit (led a team of 4+ members) and then in a Procurement role and EA to the Executive Engineer.

Larsen and Toubro (2013-2015): Worked as a Senior Electrical Design Engineer in Medium Voltage Switchgear Industry

Skills acquired: Business Process Improvement, Change Management, Customer Relationship Management, Procurement, Vendor Management, Revenue Generation, Operations Excellence, Digitalisation initiatives and Strategic Implementation.

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? After speaking to Alumni from IIM C, I found that the curriculum is structured such that almost everyone was able to tailor their MBA experience with a mix blend of academics, competitions, sports, clubs, and committees. Having worked for 9 years, I felt it an important criterion to get a multidimensional learning experience.

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?  Every course taught here has surprised me with the content and application in real life. But my favorite course at IIM Calcutta has been Managerial Communication-I. I have extensively worked with people at grassroots levels and interacted with multiple stakeholders like corporators and officials from different government departments. I believe communication strategy plays a very important role to negotiate and to influence decisions. So, this course gave me a clear framework to analyze the audience and restructure my communication accordingly. The way it was delivered by Professor Pragyan with real life examples gave immense clarity. In fact, the batch was given a scenario to deliver a pitch, the recording of which was given for analysis and improvement.

What has been the best part of studying business in Kolkata? The best part of studying business here at IIM Calcutta is learning concepts from the best faculty of the country. The Professors are clear that the cohort has industry experience. Hence, they keep their content updated with the current scenario globally. In fact, one of the Professors included a news clip in the slides which was published the same day! Also, the notions which I had acquired through industrial experience are slowly being debunked by the faculty. Example: One of the underlying principles of Strategy is deterrence.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My previous organization, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited, gave me important opportunities to work in the field and interact with people. It gave a valuable experience of working with people from different strata of society and made me realize the power of a consumer. It helped me stretch my physical and mental limits whether being available for consumers on duty at 2 am or available on field during COVID-19 pandemic.

One time, I devised and successfully implemented a comprehensive strategy to restore power supply during the Tauktae Cyclone in 2021. The Tauktae Cyclone was supposed to make landfall on 17/5/2021 at 3:30 pm. Prior to that day, I immediately communicated with my network of vendors and internal departments to arrange and procure material which could be required for restoration of power supply post-landfall, leveraging SAP and our digitalised “procure to pay” process. This ensured material & budget availability and payments to vendors within a short period of time. I communicated the critical situation to every empanelled agency and convinced them to deploy excess labour, vehicles and maintenance material at strategic locations. I ensured information dissemination to our team and consumers through our NDM system that kept consumers informed with timely updates. The power supply was restored within 4 hours of landfall due to availability of manpower and material at nearest locations.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: IIM Calcutta follows a case-based learning approach. The course on Information Technology had some brainstorming case studies. I, along with my team, presented and cracked one of those difficult cases. It was one of the best presentations of the batch and our team was awarded the highest grade for it.

What is your class’s favorite hangout away from school? Why do you gather there? Park Street is the best place to hang out if you are a party animal.

What do you hope to do after graduation? I aim to transition to Strategy and Marketing roles after graduating from IIM Calcutta. I would keep upskilling to harness the power of data analytics and artificial intelligence to shape the future of brands. On personal front, I would learn a new dance form.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into IIM Calcutta? For essays, please jot down all your experiences including the ones which you feel are irrelevant. Sometimes the experiences you feel are irrelevant turn out to be really valuable. The interviewers from IIM Calcutta genuinely want to know you better. So “Be You” in the interview. Also be updated with relevant current affairs for interview.


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