- 10 September 2012
It’s never easy to get on to the top and not-at-all easy to stay there, on the pinnacle. Having made this not-so-easy task easier Mr. Anand Balakrishnan, an alumni of NITR, Department of Ceramic Engineering (2000 batch), presently working as a delivery partner of Capegemini, speaks to MM on his pre, in, and post college life elaborating on his experiences and inspiring to FLY HIGH!
- 20 August 2012
It may have been a long way to the top but it definitely wasn’t an impossible one for Mr. Satyaswaroop Pradhan, Assistant Vice President of GENPACT LLC, a business process management company. After his transition from a sporty student to a dignified alumnus of NITR in 2001, for him, it has been a steady rise to the highest echelons of achievements. Hailing MM’s efforts as laudatory, he spared a few moments from his busy schedule to give insightful answers to the questions posed for him. Excerpts:
MM: Please throw some light on your life before joining NITR.
SSP: I spent my childhood in the Steel City of Rourkela. I did my schooling from the much renowned Ispat English Medium School, Rourkela. I have been always fond of outdoor sports. I was a book lover and a quizzer too.
MM: When did you decide to become an engineer? Mechanical engineering and NIT-R was a matter of choice or chance?
SSP: Seeing as I grew up in the Steel City of Orissa, engineering is a choice that came by default. Mechanical Engineering was a self-decided selection. NIT-R has a fantastic reputation so I will definitely rate it as my choice. In retrospect, it was a good thing to happen.
MM: Which was your best year at NITR? Elucidate on your campus life and all the fun and frolic you had during your times at NITR. Were you involved in any clubs?
SSP: My second year was certainly the most memorable. I was not involved in any club but I did actively participate in the organization team of the Mech Fest. Then there were the strikingly unforgettable cultural nights. The talent showcased in the Fests was amazing. It is all very inclusive and you truly realize the value of the diverse brilliance that troops in from across India. The experience has stayed with me till now, long after I have passed out of the college.
MM: How was your academic performance? Mention any favourite professors.
SSP: I tend to believe I did reasonably well much to my surprise! I looked up to a lot of professors who had guided me throughout my college life. Some guidance has managed to filter through and have an influence beyond my campus life too.
MM: How was the senior-junior rapport during your time? Do you notice any changes now?
SSP: It was a very friendly and warm rapport between the seniors and juniors. The seniors were very helpful and were always present during needful times. Senior-junior relationship is one very important aspect of those years and something which I fondly look back at.
MM: How was the placement experience? How long had the celebrations lasted when you got placed?
SSP: The placement experience was refreshingly exhilarating. It was very well managed by the Placement committee. I still remember the interviews which went well past midnight.
MM: Elaborate on your experiences at your first job.
SSP: My first placement from NITR was at Infosys. The best part was the training which we received for the initial 3 months. Coming from a Mechanical background I found it quite rigorous and comprehensive. Some of the things which you learn in different jobs and especially in your first job goes much beyond the deliverables of project engagements. I got exposed to corporate culture for the first time and learnt a lot of soft skills.
MM: Then you had opted for an MBA. Was it an impulsive or pre-planned idea?
SSP: It was a very decisive plan. I think career decisions should not be impulsive. It needs to be well orchestrated. After all you will spend a lot of time and effort accomplishing that and therefore it should make sense.
MM: How were your preparations for MBA? It would have been difficult to juggle between work and your preps for MBA entrances. How did you cope?
SSP: MBA preparations were stringent and exhaustive. I had a group of friends, all aspiring for similar goals. We blended work, studies and play quite well I think.
MM: You have worked in various positions in different companies. How did your career pan out after NITR? Which company has been your best experience till now?
SSP: I should say a career is a long journey and you are always motivated by different aspirations; so it is a bit difficult to view your career through a single prism but so far it has been good. No organization is good or bad; it is what you make out of it. I have been lucky that I have had fantastic colleagues, managers and friends in all organizations I have been associated with.
MM: When did you last visit your alma mater? Any significant changes that has caught your eye?
SSP: It is unfortunate that I have not been able to visit so far but I keep track through the online website and news/media reports. I am happy to see NITR progressing so much in the last decade. There are numerous upcoming branches that were absent during my time. The infrastructure has undergone much development too.
MM: Which part of a student’s life do you think affects his future endeavours the most – academics or extra-curricular?
SSP: It should always be a honed combination of both. That’s a balanced personality.
MM: MBA is one of the most sought after degree these days. In what ways does an engineer with an MBA stand out in the crowd?
SSP: As I said before, career decisions should be personal and driven by individual wants and needs, aspirations and ambitions. I somehow disagree with the ‘sought after’ tag. MBA definitely gives you a much more holistic knowledge and equips you to deals with organizational challenges but someone could definitely want to be a ‘technocrat’. They equally stand out in the crowd if they do well. What is more important is to understand what drives you and spot that thing which you will never get bored of doing.
MM: Do you wish to convey any message to the present NITians?
SSP: I have already said a lot. The only thing I will like to add is that you are privileged to be a part of such an illustrious institute. Make the most of it. I wish you all great success.