After serving for 12 years in the Indian Navy as a technical officer, Dhananjay Kumar Prasad got an offer from Amazon. An offer from the tech giant is the dream for many, but the 34-year-old put the job on hold to pursue his MBA dream. “Although I found myself suitable for roles in IT and operations for which I had got calls from Amazon, I made up my mind to take the new role only after completion of an MBA," said Prasad who is now pursuing an MBAEx program of IIM Calcutta.
For admission to an MBA at the prestigious B-school, Prasad started preparing for 2019 while he was still on duty. “I decided to pursue MBA in December 2019 while I was posted at the Defence Satellite Control Centre, Bhopal. I spoke to my peers and colleagues who had pursued an MBA from various colleges and one of my course mates who was undergoing the course from IIM Calcutta in the class of 2021. I realized it takes a lot of effort and dedicated classroom or online studies to achieve good marks for getting admission in the IIMs. There are no institutes in Bhopal for GMAT preparation so I decided to do self-study."
Most of his studies took place online and via social media groups. “I ordered the study material online and joined GMAT Club for preparation guidance. YouTube and GMAT Club were instrumental in interview preparation. I started with 4-5 hours of study after my office hours. The toughest part of the preparation was time management. I could not keep the routine because other than the daily office hours, I had to help my wife in her business which was at the budding stage in 2019. I used to go to the market, travel to various locations in the country to establish the supply chain for the business."
The COVID-19 led lockdown, however, proved beneficial for Prasad as it offered him the needed time for preparation of IIM-entrance. “In March 2020 when the lockdown was announced, I got the time to devote for studies when all the markets got closed. Although I struggled to keep the time as my Office never stopped working, rather the workload increased due to issues at Doklam. In November 2020 when I got decent scores in the mock tests, I booked my exam and applied at various IIMs with the score. I got admission in two IIMs and I chose to join IIM Calcutta for the course," he told news18.com.
During his interview, he was asked questions that varied from why an MBA to the world economy, future prospects of Indian Economy, BRICS, then to basic mathematical equations on lines and graphs. Born at Military Hospital Jabalpur, Prasad grew up in a traditional farming family of Bihar. His father was a soldier in the Indian Army. Due to the transferable job, Prasad had schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya at various locations including KV 1STC Jabalpur, where I completed my high school. The family is now settled at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. It was his father’s job and schooling across different locations that inspired him to work for the country.
During his tenure at the Indian Navy, Prasad claims he was responsible for the maintenance of various weapons, sensors, and equipment. As an IT officer, he also leads a team of software and hardware engineers for network management, project management, and procurement. While pursuing MBA, it was not only about learning new skills but also unlearning. “It’s a complete cycle of unlearning and learning experience as I unlearn the management techniques that were taught in the Navy and learn the new ways of management which I need for the corporate style of management," he said.
Months into his online education, the former Navy officer already claims to have gained experience. “Every day I feel more learned than yesterday. The subjects like finance and economics which seemed off-limits to me, were taught with such an art that now I feel quite confident about these subjects. I have never seen such methods of teaching where you make the toughest part of the subject appear to be so easy that anyone can learn it very fast. The teaching platform, be it online or blended, doesn’t matter when you have such highly experienced faculty to guide you at every step. I am inspired to learn every day and thrilled to increase my learning experience during the course."