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Go for it! This is only the
beginning in the long run.
Rajiv Gurnani Sr. VP-.inancial Institutions Group,
Kotak Mahindra Bank in conversation with Vibha Iyer
purchase in Can Finance. For
Could you throw some light on Do you feel that pursuing a
simple things like pricing of the
your educational background, management education is a
products or how to tinker around
the jobs and companies you prerequisite for corporate
various variables so that it makes
have worked with? success?
I was born and brought up in I feel a management degree is sense to both you and the lender
Mumbai entirely except for the two important from two points of view. or borrower, we had to constantly
years I spent in IIM-Bangalore. I One, from the perspective of the use concepts such as pre-tax and
am a Mechanical Engineer from requirements of the job market post-tax return, which I learnt only
Sardar Patel College of itself, where there are so many from the MBA curriculum. And, of
Engineering. In IIM-B, I specialised graduates from different streams course, an MBA degree from IIM-
in Finance and Marketing in 1990. an MBA, as an additional degree, B has definitely helped me enhance
This is my third job— I have been helps you get ahead of them. my career.
with Kotak since 1993, more than Secondly, an MBA does equip you
11 years now. My first job was with with some knowledge in managing As a student did you also
Can Bank Financials where I various aspects of your work participate in extracurricular
worked for two years. profile in an organisational setup. activities at school? How
Being from an engineering important do you think the latter
background, I wasn’t familiar with
How and why did you decide to is for personality development?
finance and marketing but learnt I was a serious student, but I
pursue management as a
about them in my MBA. You do think the seriousness leaves you
career? Could you elaborate on
not have graduate courses in once you get into one of the IIMs.
the admission process then?
Today, with the opening up of subjects such as marketing, hence, There is the feeling that once you
several sectors in the Indian an MBA helps you learn and apply get admission, you will hopefully
economy particularly the service these concepts in your day-to-day get a job. I think it’s far more
sector, there are a lot of life and develop a better difficult to get admission into the
opportunities for graduates from understanding of the market IIMs than to clear the course. I
any stream. In my time, however, around you. think the best two years in my
there were typically two broad career were the ones I spent at IIM-
options after engineering— either B. We had people coming from all
Could you briefly describe how
to opt for an MS or go in for a parts of the country, each bringing
management education has
management education. I opted for his own way of life and perspective
helped you build your career?
the latter; as I felt that it had wider to the group. So the seriousness at
Have you been able to
scope and application in several IIM was coupled with pleasure.
implement the theories you
areas. I feel that a degree in I think extra-curricular activities
learnt at IIM-B? If yes, could you
management gives an edge over are very important in every
relate one instance?
others in the early stages of one’s The education I acquired at IIM- management graduate’s life,
career. I was lucky to get B has been very helpful to my day- because they help you explore
admission in the first attempt itself. to-day life as well as in my career. other facets of your personality and
I was in corporate leasing and hire bring out hidden talents, which
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you will definitely find useful at ability to interact in a group and changed dramatically. When I
some later point of time. should be taken into consideration passed out of the IIM, we had only
I used to participate pretty before a student is selected for a public sector banks ruling the roost
actively in some of the team management course. and a few private sector banks
activities of IIM- B. I was more attempting an entry. Today we
involved in the organisational have a private sector bank
Could you tell us something
aspects, such as working with the operating as the second largest
about your life at IIM- B?
placement team and helping to Sixty percent of our batch was bank in the country. Even
organise lectures by faculty and comprised of engineers. We were customer expectations from banks
experts from outside. quite a fun batch. (Laughs). I was have changed. The entire market
part of the 20 percent band who has undergone a transformation
did not have work experience. and this is only the beginning of
Do you feel that management
Besides having a fair balance the future. There is also
entrance examinations (CAT and
between non-engineers and considerable talk of consolidation
the like) aptly judge the
engineers, typically IIM- B is with public sector banks as is
prerequisites or innate skills that
known to attach more value to bound to happen. These are few of
management aspirants should
work experience, unlike IIM-A, the exciting trends in the financial
Although I am not too familiar which took in more freshers. economy that promise
with the pattern followed by innumerable avenues for
competitive exams nowadays, management graduates. At Kotak
Financial Services industry in
going by the examination in my itself, we are into almost all areas
India is all set to boom. As an
times, I feel that the focus was more of banking such as securities,
industry expert, what in your
on quantitative skills. Thus we had mergers and acquisitions,
opinion is the potential for
a lot of engineers performing well investment banking, retail
at these exams, due to their The scope for management financing.
quantitative abilities. A lot of graduates in financial services is
weightage was given to the written huge. The service industry in Where do you see yourself ten
exam, as it is the most objective general has grown by leaps and years from now?
way to select students. But bounds. Over the last fifteen years I really don’t know. I had never
processes such as the Group of my tenure in financial services, planned to stay on in Kotak for
Discussions and Interviews are I have seen the sector evolving eleven years. I take each day as it
equally important in assessing the through the most exciting phases. comes.
other important skills of the I think this will continue to move
student as they help determine his forward. The entire landscape has What would be your advice to
our readers who have decided
on a career in management?
I would say: Go for it! This is
only the beginning in the long run.
And even for all those who do not
get into a management course,
don’t lose hope, there are plenty of
opportunities opening up. With
opportunities and some luck you
will definitely be able to make a
place for yourself. A few tentative
steps come at the beginning of any