Anirban Basu initially applied for the role of Senior Research Associate at Granger Reis, an Executive search, selection and resource strategy consultancy, but on getting to the job interview stage, the University of Bath School of Management MBA convinced the company to allow him conduct a research project on improving organizational efficiency at the firm.
He was ultimately offered a new role as Knowledge Manager in the firm.
Here, we speak to Anirban, who graduated from Bath in September 2011, about how he did it, his new role and how his prior experiences coupled with his time on the University of Bath MBA has shaped the direction of his career.
What is Knowledge Management and why is it important to companies?
Knowledge Management is about efficiently managing resources like historic project information and expertise that people have in a company, using this knowledge in present projects, to solve problems and ultimately create a competitive advantage.
What is the best thing about your new job?
This is the first time I've been in a purely strategic role. It's very challenging but that lets me enjoy the work I do because I can prioritize according to my interests. I know not many people can say it, but I feel emotionally connected with the company’s well-being.
You have an Engineering background but your previous roles have not been very technical. Why is this, and how has this impacted on your career?
Although my first degree is in Electronics Engineering, I was sure I didn't want to do a job which was purely technical. I looked for a different setting to use my engineering skills so I joined a financial services company that was looking for researchers with a technical background.
The first company I worked for, Gerson Lerhman Group, headquartered in New York with one of their offices in India (where I was based). The company provides systems to manage expert networks. Their services help the world's leading financial services firms, consultancies, corporations and nonprofits find, engage, and manage their proprietary expert networks.
This company bridges the gap between the people who have specific knowledge and expertise and the people who needed them. I found the concept very new and exciting and I became more interested in the results the power of research can bring to a company’s efficiency.
I was also research associate at Egon Zehnder where one of the key projects I worked on involved mapping out and organizing the human capital of a company at pre-acquisition stage. I was part of a team which was assigned to gather intelligence, rating the skills and competencies of key people within the target company. Based on this would be recommendations on who to retain in what roles and which positions to redefine or reassign.
How did you convince the Granger Reis to let you carry out your MBA project?
When I went for the interview it was going really well and during the conversation I inquired about the possibility of a company sponsored MBA project and they found it really interesting. I had chosen Knowledge Management as one of my optional modules at Bath which highlighted my drive in this area. I ended up investigating on how the company could improve their organisational efficiency through knowledge management processes which eventually helped define my role in the company.
Why did you decide to go for an MBA?
The MBA was important to me for several reasons including a 'box-ticking' exercise for senior roles. I also wanted to invest further in my personal development. During my Bachelors I did not get a chance to study subjects like economics, marketing, accounting, and strategy. These were the topics I became interested in through my work and I saw the MBA as a good opportunity to achieve this.
You were working in Dubai so why a UK school and Bath in particular?
I chose UK because of their 1 year MBA format. That meant that I would have a one year gap in my work career rather than two. Dubai also has good ties with the British business community and recognises British learning. I looked at rankings like everyone else and spoke to people to find out about their experiences. I looked at Edinburgh, Leeds, City University and Bath. I’m glad I picked Bath. The city is so beautiful and the learning was fantastic. It also has amazing sports facilities. My job is in Bristol which is about 15 minutes on the train from Bath and I still go to Bath to play tennis.
What is your age and where have you grown up?
I am 29. I was born in India but I have grown up in many parts of India and in Indonesia. I have never lived in the same place for more than four years. As a kid, every time I moved meant leaving friends behind which was a bit difficult but I was also excited to have new experiences and to meet new people. Thankfully, technology has made communicating with people and travelling easier so I can reconnect with 'long-lost' friends now.
I also think all the travelling has given me the ability to integrate easily into new environments and to experience different cultures and this has now become a valuable asset to my career as well.