A Chance Encounter: Rutwik Rath
“The couches in the visitors’ room would be a suitable place, won’t they?” we asked him as he entered the Guest House. “They’re perfectly agreeable, yes. But not really necessary when we can just have our discussion in my room upstairs, isn’t it?” came forth a cordial but friendly reply as one would expect from a familiar, beloved senior. And so we walked up the winding staircase, brief introductions lining the ascent, past the flickering lights in the corridor, until we reached his snug room, and settled ourselves for the next twenty minutes.
A 2011 graduate of NITR from the department of Electrical Engineering, Rutwik Rath is currently working as an energy consultant under the Advisory-GRID at PwC India, before which he was an Assistant Manager at NTPC. Coming back as a recruiter to a place which, he believes, granted him the best four years of his life - nostalgia was a sentiment rife within him. As soon as we asked him what it felt like being back after so many days, he gushed,
"The tables have been turned. Not long ago, I was sitting on the other side of the table in crisp formals. Watching nervous final year students sitting in their ironed shirts, sweating and jittery opens a floodgate of memories - I was like them, too!"
We started right from the beginning when he was the pampered youngest child of his family. “Hostel life has made me an independent individual capable of making significant decisions and being able to foresee their impact on my career – it has shaped me in a way nothing else could have,” he says. Though shy, he managed to make friends, without whom the entire charm of those memorable four years of his life would be certainly diminished. Despite missing out on being actively involved in extra-curricular activities while at NITR, he has no regrets – as people have their own set of priorities, and he stuck to his. Of course, he confesses with a sheepish grin that he made up for the same by participating in singing, dancing, fashion parades, football matches, and many more activities while pursuing his masters, later.
“My decision to pursue MBA was a sudden one”, he says when asked about the turning point in his career when he shifted his line of work from engineering to consultancy. By 2014, he had left NTPC for a degree in management from Xavier Institute of Business Management, Bhubaneswar. Being the branch topper in his batch, he faced no hindrances in getting into a PSU like NTPC, who recruited him, outright from his campus interview. Satisfaction, however, was not something that the job offered to this ingenious mind. He attributes his very experience at NTPC for his choice to switch vocations and go for a job at PricewaterhouseCoopers as a consultant.
“I wasn’t very impressed with the work culture at NTPC. They have you posted in remote locations, which tends to frustrate you after a year or two. My decision to go for an MBA was solely from a career point of view”, he elucidates.
He admits openly about not being very passionate about his branch of study. Funnily enough, though he switched over to business studies, MBA doesn't seem to interest him much either. “I was a free rider. I just knew how to score marks,” he confesses with a laugh when asked about his constant streak of success in whichever field he has ventured into. Though it wasn’t evident during his college days, now, working as a consultant for energy firms, he thinks that he holds the upper hand in few situations because of his background as an Electrical engineer.
Not a very active member of the Alumni association, he comments that organizing regular meetings of the alumni is not a very feasible option, since most of them are scattered all over the country, and hence may not be always available at the same time.
“However, the establishment of an online network for mass communication will definitely boost the relationship between the students and the alumni.”
When asked to address the readers as well as the NITR populace in general, he speaks about the lack of impressive communication skills among the students, which is extremely harmful from the career perspective, and how improving the same is the urgent need of the hour. The private sector in the industries definitely prefers undergraduates with better communication abilities, he mentions.
"I suggest the placement team and as well as the student body should work in tandem to tackle these issues and help improve the students’ articulation by organising workshops, and making them aware from the very first year of their college life that these are necessary qualities to inculcate."
Anxious about his return journey, yet still immersed in overwhelming thoughts - he looks at his watch and at us helplessly not sure if he's fulfilled the role that he had been assigned. As smiles ease understanding and we realize that such opportunities come by rarely, we ask him for what message he has for his juniors. A little surprised, he takes a minute to think and condense his personal anecdotes into pearls of wisdom,
Students, according to me, ought to learn and play at once; enjoy the few years of your life that you’ll always pine for when you realize that you can no longer relive them, while not hampering your studies of course. Despite numerous beliefs, ones CGPA does matter in his/her future career, especially when he wants to opt for further studies. So live your life to the fullest.
A few words of advice spared for the future flag-bearers, he bade us goodbye, and we left the ever-busy inspiration to catch his bus in a few minutes, glad to have procured a few minutes of genuinely enriching conversation with him.