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Can an MBA help you change careers?
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April 12, 2007

Have you often thought of changing your career but don't know how to go about it? Have you regretted certain decisions in your career that left you straddled with a job your heart is not in?

Maybe a masters in business administration can help, says Girish Bakhru.

And he should know, because he went from being a qualified doctor to an equity research analyst, analysing data on companies to take calls on investing in their stocks.  

How, you ask?

Well, after working for two years with a leading hospital in Delhi, Bakhru joined the Faculty of Management Studies, where he completed his MBA.

During campus placements, he was one of the most successful candidates, and accepted an offer from Lehman Brothers.

In an interview with Neelima Chimnani, Bakhru shares this piece of advice: "Most important, know yourself." 

Did you have more than one offer?

Yes, I had another offer previously through campus lateral placements, from Cognizant Technologies.

What were the factors that influenced your decision? How important was the money?

When it came to deciding out of the two, I was mainly influenced by what my area of work would be. I figured the job profile with Lehman would give me exposure in the financial domain, which was of more interest to me.

Money was not the deciding factor, because as per my understanding, growth in any sector depends on one's performance -- one can make money anywhere.

Was the selection process tough? How many rounds of interviews did you undergo?

The selection process was grilling. There were, in all, four rounds of interviews. The first one was the telephonic round, the second the human resource round; the third was two case analyses and in the end we had the director's interview.

The selection process was set to judge the candidate on each and every aspect. I enjoyed it.

What was your basic preparation?

My basic preparation involved brushing up of fundamentals with regard to stock markets, corporate finance, security analysis and portfolio management techniques.

I had already prepared my answers to why I want to join this particular sector and this profile. Preparation on one's strengths and weaknesses and other personal information is part of the basic preparation for any campus placement.

What were the things you kept in mind for the group discussion?

There was no GD in the selection process of this company.

What were the tips you followed for the interview?

There were no special tips for the interviews. I just knew my answers to why I want this job profile and had to substantiate that with my interests in financial research and stocks.

Since the process wasn't known beforehand, my preparation wasn't that customised and dwelt more on basic preparation.

I had a fair understanding of the functioning of stock markets and had been taking interests in a few sectors, which proved handy in the process.

What helped you score over your fellow students?

I think coming from a medical background was one aspect that made my profile unique for certain sector-specific research, which could have made my candidature strong for this job.

However, since there is an equal and fair chance of rejection in case of nonperformance at any stage of this whole well-structured selection process, I think my strength lay more in my understanding of corporate finance and stocks.

This aspect was judged very thoroughly in the process and perhaps formed the basis of selection.

What were your weaknesses and how did you prevent them from surfacing during the interview?

One prime weakness that I could identify was lack of experience in this domain before my MBA, which I had to justify with my understanding of the health sector.

In addition to being a doctor, I had to prove my study in finance and ease with numbers -- which I did fairly well.

What were the projects you worked on and how did they influence the selection process?

There were many academic and industry projects that I had worked on earlier.

Many of the projects in the field of finance were in the area of financial management and corporate finance, though there were a few in marketing and strategy.

It is more important to get in-depth knowledge of the industry you are working in, for this particular profile.

The right kind of projects for this profile would involve lot of financial research and valuation techniques, in addition to strategic recommendations that follow.

Tell us of three things you would tell people to keep in mind about placement interviews.

The three basic things that I would tell to aspirants would be:

Is the competition fierce between classmates? How do you handle the pressure?

Well, it varies from job-to-job. The competition is indeed fierce between classmates for high-paying jobs. I handle pressure by keeping my calm and making sure that I have done my preparation.

I usually try to enjoy the process than get stressed by it.

Did any of your classmates ditch job offers to turn entrepreneur?


What books/newspapers/magazines did you read to keep abreast of things?

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