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'Don't just study hard, you also have to play hard'


...says, Piyush Punewar, a First Year MBA student at NITIE. In conversation with Kalyani Majumdar, Piyush talks about his decision to pursue an MBA in Operations and how mock GD-PIs  can give you that extra boost to get into a top B-School.


Q. How did you decide that you wanted to do an MBA?
I did graduation in Chemical Engineering from TSEC, Mumbai.  While I was in college I participated in many committees. I used to meet lot of peer groups who made me think beyond my known realm. It was then that I decided to do an MBA.  After graduation I worked for three years with VVF India Pvt Ltd as an Executive Engineer and it was during this job that I realised that I wanted to pursue MBA in Operations.  Also, I never really had much of an inclination towards marketing or finance. Thus, it was a very well planned decision for me to pursue MBA in Operations.

Q. Why did you choose NITIE as your MBA destination?
Right from the beginning my focus was very clear that I wanted to work in supply chain in the future. Thus, although I had a 99 percentile in IIFT, when I had to choose between NITIE and IIFT, I knew very clearly that I wanted to pursue Operations and IIFT is good for Finance, and we all know that NITIE is one of the best B-Schools for Operations, so it had to be NITIE. Apart from that with my work experience and aptitude I knew NITIE was the best-fit for me.  At present, I am in the First Year of PGDIM.

Q. How did you prepare for CAT?
Since I worked in a plant so I had morning and evening shifts, thus I could not join regular classes to prepare for CAT. So, I decided to take IMS test series. Since I only had five months to prepare, so initially I gave one hour to DLIR and one hour to Quant and kept vocabulary for later. I was consistently giving mock tests and I could see my scores increasing steadily. While preparing for CAT you need to be disciplined. I took around 25 to 30 mock tests. And, I would definitely recommend anyone who wants to crack CAT to give as many mock tests as possible.

Q. Tell us about your group discussion and personal interview experiences at NITIE.
For the GD there were around 10 students in the group. Everything happened very smoothly for me. The topic was ‘advertising is a waste of resource’. It was a topic that was also covered by IMS. So, I was well prepared for the discussion. In my PI they asked me, why I want to pursue an MBA. Apart from that they asked me about my work experience and why do I think Operations suits me. For me it was very easy to connect the dots between my work experience, my interests and my plan to pursue operations as I was already working in a manufacturing plant and I wanted to go into supply chain management. So being a part of manufacturing, I told them I want to work in procurement and then logistics and hence I will be working and learning for 2 to 3 years in each department, and thus I can then become the head of supply chain management in 10 to15 years.

Q. How did you prepare yourself on the day of the CAT test?
 I had a word with my mentor the day before and watched a bit of TV, a documentary and then went to bed early. I had afternoon slot so I had a good breakfast and went to the venue. I saw hordes of anxious students waiting outside the centre. I spent some time alone in a park nearby, listening to music and simply relax.

Q. What is your take on group study?
I feel group study helps a lot. I always suggest other students to study in a group as there are questions that you might not know how to solve and someone else in the group might  know how to solve the same, and vice versa. Also, you can motivate each other.

Q. What is your plan after MBA?
I have got an internship that starts in May 2019, with Exide Batteries. They have offered me a role in Operations Management, so I am aiming to do very well in the internship and then I will try to get a pre-placement interview with them.

Q. How is life at NITIE? As part of the campus life, what should one look forward to, at NITIE?
Although the campus is in the middle of Mumbai, it is so green.  It has a beautiful campus. It is extremely relaxing with a lovely lake and forest view. It feels like you are in a resort. Apart from the greenery, academically as well the Operations faculty is amazing. The faculty is extremely dedicated and they make sure that the students get A to Z of Operations. Now, I know it is because of their continuous effort that NITIE is known for Operations. Campus life at NITIE is fantastic for self growth as the students get enough breathing space in between their assignments to concentrate on other extra-curricular activities that would help the students to concentrate on self growth.  You can participate in many case studies. NITIE is known for doing a lot of case studies. So, NITIE gives you enough opportunity to develop yourself and that of course helps you in the long run.

Q. What are your personal learning after joining a top B School?
You learn a lot from your peer group. I have learned that there is so much knowledge to gain from each and everyone.  Also, being in a B-School has taught me the importance of teamwork and you have to help each other out. Being in a group and understanding the group dynamics is a great thing to learn. I also learned that it is not just about studying hard; you also have to play hard. And yes, alumni matters a lot. I only understood this after coming to NITIE.

Q. What are the important points one must remember before going for a GD or PI?
Regarding PI, my most important suggestion would be to not take the PI lightly. You must practise mock PIs just like you give mock tests.  You have to prepare well and know how to drive the interview. It is taught during the mock interviews. I have seen cases wherein despite getting low percentiles in their tests, some students get selected because of their performance in GD and PI rounds. Also, one must read about the values of the B School before going for the interview.  To clear the CAT, you must have a lot of discipline and you must be ready to work really hard. And also give a lot of mock GD-PIs.

Q. Anything you would like to share with future MBA aspirants?
First of all, you must do a thorough research about the B School you are getting into and understand the ground reality of being in that B School. Also, be mentally prepared to face rejection. Don’t feel disappointed even if you face rejection as that might affect your performance in the next interview or the next round. Also, don’t worry if you can’t decide immediately regarding what specialisation you want to pursue. You have the entire first year to choose the elective, so you have enough time to test the water before making that decision.  

Q. What is Supply-chain management?
Supply-chain management (SCM) is the management of the flow of goods and services, that involves the movement and storage of raw materials, of work-in-process inventory, and of finished goods from point of origin to point of consumption. Interconnected or interlinked networks, channels and node businesses combine in the provision of products and services required by end customers in a supply chain. It entails, design, planning, execution, control, and monitoring of supply-chain activities with the objective of creating net value, building a competitive infrastructure, leveraging worldwide logistics, synchronizing supply with demand and measuring performance globally.