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Rotterdam School of Management Q&A

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Asansol. It's a small town in eastern India in the state of West Bengal. The town is surrounded by around 17 coal mines. My family owned coal mines in the region. Asansol is a large place but it’s not very well-developed. I lived there till I was 18 and then I moved to southern India for my undergraduate degree. I studied computer science in a small town called Hassan in the state of Karnataka.

You used to work for Oracle in Hyderabad. What was that like?

It was good. It was a really large organization. I joined their e-business team and started as a programmer, but gradually I got into commercial real estate leasing. As someone who’s freshly graduated it's a good place to train. I got connected to a lot of people from good undergraduate schools. But I really wanted to get into IT consulting and how products are actually used by customers. I wanted to help customers with the products suitable for their businesses.

How did you end up working for Canon in the Netherlands?

I had a friend who was doing consulting for Canon but he was moving to the UK. He wanted someone to keep up the relationship, so I joined as a lease consultant. There were only 50 consultants working on this type of product for Oracle, and it was through that network that I became an independent consultant in the Netherlands.

How long have you been blogging?

I’ve been blogging since before I started my MBA. I read MBA students' blogs for the schools I wanted to go to, and I thought I wanted to do that myself.

Why did you choose Rotterdam School of Management?

I had no intention of doing an MBA longer than 18 months and that really narrowed down my choices. I built a model in Excel where I included each school’s ranking, tuition, the duration of the program and the proportion of international students. I used my own formula and RSM came top.

What's the best thing about Rotterdam the town?

There’s a lot of industry and a few large corporates. Robeco, which is a Dutch asset management firm, has its headquarters here. The night life is pretty good. There are a lot of large clubs. And it's very well-connected to other cities in Europe.

Which class taught you the most?

Organization behaviour made me more aware of how to think about the effect others have on me and the effect I have on others. We analyzed what behaviour really means and I enjoyed it a lot.

How has the financial crisis affected your class?

Our expectations are really realistic in terms of what we expect post-MBA. Having internships made us very, very happy.

Has the downturn changed the way you think about business?

Well, probably there will be collective quality measures which will make it less likely to happen next time, but for sure it'll happen again.

You said you are very happy to have got an internship in your pocket, so what's been the best and hardest part of your internship in VC so far?

I working for a venture capital group called DSM Venturing, which is one of the largest chemical and biological manufacturers in Europe with a €200 million fund investing in bio-tech, clean-tech and materials. VC is one of the toughest careers to get into so I was very, very fortunate. The hardest part is to establish relationships and build a network. We often have to make phone calls – basically calling up anybody! - and that's something I’m not used to: randomly calling people and taking 30 seconds of their time to generate enough information to continue the call for another a few minutes before eventually meeting them for business.

Are you self-funded?

Yes. I took a loan from ING to cover tuition, and my living expenses are out of my own savings.

Are loans a big worry for your classmates?

Yes. But RSM is one of the cheapest highly-ranked schools internationally, so it’s one of the best options.

Have you had any business ideas while at RSM? What are they?

When I came to RSM I already had a business plan to launch an educational program in India. A lot of undergraduates in India don’t have a business degree, and it’s hard for them to write business plans, I think there’s a huge opportunity in India for a professional school to teach entrepreneurs to express their business ideas to possible investors.

What are you doing next?

I’m doing a course at Duke University’s New Ventures Clinic. Duke Medical School puts MBA students and research scholars together to try to commercialize a small and sustainable business. I’m looking forward to it because I’ve never travelled to the US.

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