Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Md Irshadullah Gharbi, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

Md Irshadullah Gharbi

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

“Passionate about motorcycles, telling beautiful stories and shaping a brighter world through technology and creativity.”

Hometown: Bihar Sharif, Bihar

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a certified Basic Mountaineer, in which I learnt rock climbing, camping and snow crafts in subzero temperatures at an altitude of more than 10,000 feet in North Sikkim, despite being cold-averse. I am also a motorcycle enthusiast and take my motorcycle wherever I go because I love doing long motorcycle rides. And lastly, I am an occasional satirical cartoonist.

Undergraduate School and Major: Delhi Technological University, B. Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering (Class of 2016)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Intelligence Bureau (Under Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India), Assistant Central Intelligence Officer

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of IIM Ahmedabad’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? At the heart of IIM Ahmedabad’s MBA program lies a potent fusion: case-based pedagogy and its distinguished professors. This deadly combination was a decisive factor for me in choosing IIMA over any other institute. I plan to start my venture a few years down the line post-MBA. But I come from a family where all my close relatives are in service or jobs. My education and upbringing have all been around getting a good job to be considered successful. It indeed calls for a fundamental shift in mindset and sowing a seed for thinking like a business leader. The best solution is to immerse yourself in an experience where you get to solve real business cases left, right and centre, and you have outstanding instructors to guide you through.

What has been your favorite course or extracurricular activity at IIM Ahmedabad? What has been the most important lesson that you have learned from it? I am still getting over the sheer awe of the outstanding academics at IIM Ahmedabad. The course I enjoyed the most was the Strategic Management Course taught by Prof. Sunil Sharma and Prof. Amit Karna. Prof. Amit Karna’s light-hearted approach and ability to transform complex problems into easily digestible concepts helped me develop an immense interest in the subject. Prof. Sunil Sharma’s calm and confident demeanour and story-telling approach would blow my mind as he navigates through a case. I still remember Prof. Amit Karna praising his colleague Prof. Sunil Sharma: “Whenever Prof. Sunil Sharma enters a classroom, its temperature drops by ten degrees.” This course gave me insight into how a CXO thinks, and I will never forget the concepts of strategic tradeoffs, the importance of synergy and strategic fit, and the 4Cs of Strategy.

I cannot do justice to my favorite faculties If I do not mention Prof. Bala and Prof. Debjit Roy for their catalytic way of teaching. They transformed a completely non-finance, non-operation technology professional like me into someone with a reasonably good understanding of finance and operations.

What makes Ahmedabad such a great place to earn an MBA? MBA is all about business – not just about theoretical expertise but also getting a feel of it. Being physically closer to company headquarters, factory sites, and business hubs increases access to those physical infrastructures, business leaders, and entrepreneurs running those businesses successfully. Business is there in the air of Gujarat. Many companies, such as Adani Group, Reliance Jio, Zydus Life Sciences and Gujarat Gas Limited, have headquarters or big offices in Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad, being the largest city of Gujarat, is not only one of the business hubs in Western India itself, but also physically closer to a large number of factory sites and industry townships. It is also closer to other business cities such as Surat and Vadodara. Last but not least, it is just 500 km away from Mumbai, the financial capital of India. I still remember the protagonist of one of the cases by Prof. Debojit Roy – Vasant Farm Fresh – who came to our campus to discuss his business and operations because he is running his business around Ahmedabad. It was mind-blowing as you saw things working which were discussed in class.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Before I talk about my biggest accomplishment in my career, I would first talk about my definition of the biggest accomplishment. I will not discuss those accomplishments where I just brought a million-dollar profit to my employer. Instead, I will talk about those accomplishments where the impact of my contribution was huge. This is not just in terms of profits or our relationships with the client, but also in terms of team bonding by overcoming a crisis situation.

During my tenure at PwC as an associate, my manager told me about a client asking us to work on a tool whose team lacked expertise in the area at the moment. The failure to commit would have undermined our client’s confidence in our team’s ability. My manager reached out to me for help. I had a healthy relationship with my manager, who was also my mentor at work. I took it as an opportunity not just to fight the crisis together with her, but also to showcase my abilities to deal with crisis and unforeseen situations. I learned the tool in two weeks along with one other team member and we took another month to complete the project, helping the client save eight million dollars. Ultimately, we also got the client’s appreciation for our work, which also helped us win the proposal for another upcoming project. Above all, I got a lifelong mentor in the form of my manager.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: My biggest accomplishment as an MBA student has been becoming a transformed “me” in the last five months at IIMA. I started as a professional with little business knowledge and almost no experience in finance and business operations. Now, I am becoming a student with a reasonably good understanding of all facets of business. It has not been an easy path. We have been made to eat, sleep, and breathe business cases to the extent that it has almost become muscle memory now. The sheer grind of the academics made me ultimately come out shining in terms of business thinking and exponential learning, which I wished for while deciding to join the MBA program at IIM Ahmedabad. I have also placed among the top five finalists in a Case Study Competition organised at the National level. This radical transformation in such a short time span is my biggest accomplishment as an MBA student.

What is your class’s favorite hangout away from school? Why do you gather there? Away from school, my favorite hangout is where I go for singing practice or a casual group singing. We have a group of around ten people who often meet to have a musical or jam session. We have a music room in the IIMA campus where all sorts of musical instruments are there. We either meet in the music room or one of the common rooms in our dorms. The musical session is like a stress buster for me, and I look forward to our music sessions to release the stress after weeks of heavy-loaded academics.

What do you hope to do after graduation? Post-MBA, I hope to land a role where my responsibility lies around developing or transforming a business. Based on this, my ideal role would be strategy office roles or management consulting roles. Having said that, I always want to be close to technology. Therefore, I would like to enter the technology industry post-MBA. However, after a few years of work, I plan to start a technology-based venture to solve a societal problem and bring a positive impact on society.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into IIM Ahmedabad? To help potential applicants gain admission into IIM Ahmedabad, I want to tell them always start with a positive mindset and never self-reject yourself. Needless to say, applicants need to have a decent GMAT score. But before starting your preparation, be crystal clear on why you want to do an MBA. Connect to alums of your target schools through LinkedIn and learn about different aspects of the program you want to join. Last but not least, do an extensive introspection on your journey and reflect on what you want from life and how an MBA can be a step ahead in that direction. IIMA gives you just five days to complete three to four essays; therefore, doing these things beforehand will make your life much easier and help you write a compelling essay in case you get shortlisted.


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