02 the instinct: Secret diary of a Businesswoman
After completing my Bachelors in Business Economics, I went on to pursue my Masters in Business Economics if you are wondering why I never went for an MBA is because I had no intent to be a manager but to have knowledge of how business, economics, and global trade works. Through the course, I wanted to gain insights into the economics of the business, tricks of the trade, and global business policies. Business Economics opened my mind towards global organizations which facilitate industries and businesses. While completing my MBE I wanted to start a small business and had a business plan in mind, all that was left to do was set it in motion which is when I decided to share the idea with my parents.
Since my father has served in the army, he is quite practical when it comes to making decisions. This is why it was understandable when he sat me down and explained to me that if I got married in any other city, I might have to shut down my business and restart it. It was a time where we still worked on computers, had physical office spaces and not very mobile and tech-driven world. Even after explaining my side of the story, my parents, though understanding, were not ready to let me go ahead with my decision. To show that they understood where I was coming from, they insisted that I take up a job I like or go for higher education, Ph.D. to be precise. When I consulted some of my professors I truly admired, they also said, I should gain more corporate experience before starting the business. I was having zero knowledge about the start-up support system at that point in time. All I had was myself with my idea and aspirations.
For keeping things simpler, I first thought of doing a Ph.D. and working on my idea and research. When I visited this particular University for Ph.D. I didn’t much like ongoing conversations among the group of people I interacted with. It seemed like they were all forced to do stuff they didn’t like by their guides and University mandates. One of them in fact candidly said, “why don’t you teach and do a Ph.D. later” so I decided to become a lecturer and take up my plan side by side. While I started my career as a junior faculty in one of the leading Universities in India, my heart broke the moment I saw the ground realities, expectations, and behavior of senior most people there. I literally ran away in 8 months from an academic role which was less academic and more sales. Luckily I received an opportunity with CII and immediately took it up. This job helped me in building my confidence and see things in a larger perspective. I was able to implement what I had learned during my course, and in turn, gain a lot of experience working in a corporate environment. There was no looking back after it. Although I changed 6 jobs in 8 years (will tell that story later J). There was always a sense of security and happiness that my work brought me, In 8 years of working with the organizations like CII, FICCI, Srei Infrastructure Finance, I became financially strong, enjoyed the good position and acquired great inspiration from who’s who of the business world.
And never for a moment have I regretted the decision of taking the job because I loved being a part of the workplace. The way I see it, working with a multitude of companies has helped me become a leader and a human being. From some bosses, I acquired more knowledge, and learned to be more organized and from some, what not to be. Some of the things that have made me an entrepreneur, I have learned through my career and various experiences in the workplace. And believe me when I say, walking away from a promising, steady opportunity so you can venture on your own may seem scary at first, but it is a risk worth taking at any point in life. Despite a great career getting great opportunities and finding more wisdom, I never enjoyed working for others. What I didn’t realize that time was that it had to do with my own entrepreneurial streaks and mindset rather than any other challenge I would have felt that time.
Today if I reflect back, it would have been much better to start when I was 20. At the same time, I wouldn’t have developed the resilience to failures and ups and downs which came with the package of the corporate career. Will tell you about the turning point and my experience with Govt. which helped me find my calling… next time.