- In Alumni
- Last Updated on 10 September 2012
- By Pratyusha
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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!
MM: Tell us something about your childhood. Were you a naughty kid or a silent mama’s boy?
AB: I have always been a naughty kid in school. Typical last bencher – that it got so ingrained that even today in gatherings last row (or the first row) is my preferred seat! We were frequently pulled up by teachers for some mischief or the other.
MM: How was your school life? Do you have any memorable incident that you would like to share?
AB: School days were lots of fun. Since my Dad was in a transferable job I moved few cities – and made friends across cities. We used to play cricket as if addicted to it, even the day before exams. Several memorable incidents – mention worthy includes our group of friends winning over our seniors in a cricket series.
MM: Was engineering your first choice?
AB: Chess was my passion. But a career in chess was not heard of then (not greatly lucrative today as well unless playing at higher levels). A decade and a half back career choices were really limited and the information availability/ bombardment was limited. So Engineering was really the choice left when you filter out other usual options, if I have to be honest!
MM: How does it feel to be a part of this elite institute?
AB: NITR (then RECR) is one of the best things that have happened for me. The 4 years spent there were all instrumental in shaping me up as a person, in the way helping forge long lasting friendships – people one can count on under any circumstance, apart from being the launch pad for my career.
MM: How was the hostel life? Is there any funny incident that sometimes resurfaces in your mind and puts a smile on your face?
AB: Hostel life was absolutely fabulous. Internet and Emails barely penetrated RECR then. It was time of no cell phones, no ATMs, no Facebook and no Google and we people met face to face and we knew the name and spoke with mostly all 300+ folks in our batch. Hostel feasts and Movie times in AV hall were regular schedules week on week. Saturdays were primarily spent on movies + dinner outside – week over week – exploring the length and breadth of Rourkela and this trend caught up big time in due course. I was the Secretary of the Social Service Guild (SSG) in our pre-final year and winning the elections (also with almost all of LH support!) was really a high point. Memories of time spent in hostels, kesto canteen, back post, side post and AV Halls are still very fresh after more than a decade.
MM: How was it, academically? Were you a GMAT? Which was your favourite subject and do you have any favourite professor?
AB: We used to call them “Fundoo”. I was nowhere a GMAT per the current terms, though I took the GMAT exam itself and topped our batch. I have always managed to be in Top 5 throughout my school and college with barely being #1 sometimes so there was no undue pressure to retain. My favourite subject in RECR was Physical Ceramics. My most favourite Instructor was Dr. Rakesh Sinha – undoubtedly the best teacher I have ever had. He used to have the attention of the entire class (which is very rare) and his 90 minute lectures just go by - you just don’t realize it. He had the ability to drive concepts hard into our brains with minimal effort. He is an inspiration to me even today – for when I want to present my ideas at work I just make sure it is succinct and packed with the right content.
MM: Were you involved in any clubs? How was it during the fests?
AB: I was a part time Leo club member – Cricket and other playing schedules made me skip several (almost all) club activities. Spring fests were real fun – with the college day/hostel day activities. We had about 10-15 colleges in the vicinity come by during then. There was only 1 fest in an academic year back then – the Spring fest in March!
MM: What was the placement scenario back then?
AB: Placements were near fabulous. Though we got placed towards the end of the dot com boom in 1999 the offers were never in dearth and almost the entire batch either had an offer/pursuing higher studies post their GMAT/GATE/CAT – if you want to really consider from a numbers perspective. The number of core engineering placements was really few as compared to what I have heard these days.
MM: What was the experience of your first job like? How did it feel to get the first salary? And how is present job like? Elaborate on this.
AB: My first job was with Infosys through campus placement. It was wonderful for we had significant number of people from our college and the ‘college atmosphere’ well existed for the first year or so when we all then started travelling abroad on work or people started pursuing higher studies. The First salary was awesome obviously – for when you looked back a few months then you were still waiting for that DD/Cheque to come from home (Oh Electronic transfers from other banks were unavailable then which means you get a cheque/DD from home, deposit in bank an wait in queue to collect cash from bank unlike the ATM/Online banking today) and the first salary put some ‘real cash’ in your hand. You just grow yourself on the job and so was in my case. I love what I do today which is what keeps me going!
MM: Did you go for higher studies? If not, after 12 years of school and 4 years of college, how was it to enter into the as-they-say the “real world”? How would you put this as?
AB: I did not go for higher studies eventually. The real world transition was kind of just smooth I should say. Although the college atmosphere still existed at work experiences, outside work were not always pleasant where you meet people across spectrums and jobs. You are not protected anymore in the realms of the college and you have to start facing the larger world slowly. Hostel experiences really preps people than if attending college as a day scholar.
MM: How would you describe yourself?
AB: I am someone who looks for simple solutions in most things I do as I believe not all solutioning is complicated. I bring in loads of positive attitude in the things I do which well rubs into others I come across. While still running the rat race, I nurse entrepreneurial ambitions so I can make a difference to my personal life and the society-at-large.
MM: Tell something about your family and marital life. Is going back to home-sweet-home the ultimate thing after the day’s work?
AB: My wife and son are the best things that have happened to me. Priya is an awesome woman – balancing between working full time making a career and managing our home donning a lot of hats. Rahul is such a curious, out spoken five year old who is very mischievous and loves making lots of friends and thus knows more people in our society than Priya or me! Indeed getting home after a long day of work is one cherished feeling!
MM: Tour us on the places you have been to. Is there any place in particular, you would like to be in?
AB: Our travel has spanned 3 continents – Asia, North America and Africa. One place that Priya and I like the most is New York City having spent a good part of our life working there. If there is any other place we would want to be it is NYC!
MM: What are your hobbies? Do you like to read books? And is it ‘dal- roti’ or ‘bread and bacon’ for you? Is there any favourite movie or song?
AB: I seldom read fiction books as a hobby until it comes recommended by Priya! I do read books on Capital markets and Finance in general – ‘The Intelligent Investor’ by Benjamin Graham being my all-time favourite. Having lived across 8 cities for at least 2 years each I always try various local flavours. Rajnikanth and Tom Hanks movies and Elvis/Hariharan’s songs are my favourites.
MM: On a final note, anything you would like to say to the present NITRians?
AB: NITR is a wonderful place and your college time will stay as one of the most cherished in your life forever. Enjoy this period to the fullest extent possible, responsibly. With every passing year competition only gets tougher in the outer world. You Gen Y folks should make yourselves ‘market ready’ by the time you get out of NITR – which means building solid networks with the students and developing soft skills, and connecting with Alumni . You must pursue careers you like and not use the safety net jobs like IT when stepping out of college. I am wishing all the students and especially the current outgoing batch (2013) good luck in all your endeavours. You have to leep the NITR flag flying high.