Ankur Bhatia works as a tech consultant in product management, innovation and design thinking, with experience at big name companies such as Porsche, BASF, and now Accenture.
An MBA from HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management helped him transition into this career, from his previous role as business QA analyst within a development team.
When working for Infosys and Nagarro in his native India, Ankur focused on applying his technical knowledge to work out how to create a product which will solve the problem the client has.
His new role as a tech consultant, on the other hand, is all about defining the client’s problem, and asking why the product you’re designing will help the client.
“My horizons were widened from how to why during my MBA,” Ankur remarks. “It was a game changer.”
Why an MBA?
With a background in computing and engineering, Ankur is aware of the fast paced nature of the tech industry. “You need to be on your toes,” he says, “we cannot be sure of any technology lasting for more than a year. I can place my bets on that.”
As tech evolves at an exponential speed, Ankur explains that its crucial for consultants to have expertise in a particular tech subject, then build out a wider skillset from there.
This wider skillset includes soft skills, which are becoming ever more coveted in tech. Due to this, MBA grads are becoming increasingly valued in the sector for how they communicate, think critically, and problem solve creatively, on top of their expert knowledge.
Before his MBA, Ankur describes how his mindset revolved around the “technically detailed, micro level,” of tech development.
“I was working on the implementation part, which is actually a much later part of the game," he says. "I noticed that I didn't have much know-how about the way things were functioning on a macro, business level.”
This realization motivated Ankur to understand more about the business decisions which led up to his work within the development team. An MBA with HHL Leipzig was the first step in charting this path.
Having moved from India to Germany for the course, Ankur valued on the diversity of the HHL classroom, with its 90% international student cohort.
The teaching style at HHL capitalizes well on the many backgrounds and experiences coming into the classroom through constant team projects and problem solving exercises.
“The MBA actually shapes your understanding and perspective in such a diverse manner that your thinking is no longer restricted by what's just feasible with respect to the technology,” says Ankur.
“The other major takeaway from my school is actually how to be more aligned towards the consulting industry,” he adds. “And the most important skill for the consulting industry was, and always will be, defining the problem statement.”
One of 60% of his class to land professional internships with top, internationally recognized firms during their MBA, Ankur gained placements at both Porsche and BASF through HHL.
He explains how his team were often handed deliberately vague problem statements from day one of their internships, and given the freedom to develop a solution however they saw fit.
Such an open ended way of working mirrors his current work closely, and helped him develop the mindset of a consultant.
The placements also helped him gain professional contacts in Germany before he had even graduated, which can be especially useful when studying internationally in a new country, where you may have no initial network.
Switching to consulting with Accenture
Though Ankur credits his MBA for his career change, he believes the learning process is ongoing. “I would say it’s never ending. I keep on reading a lot of stuff. And I'm still like, I don't know this thing. I need to be aware of this.”
Soft skills enhanced through his MBA, like problem solving and team work, have helped a lot, but for Ankur it’s a blend of hard and soft skills that will ensure job security.
At Accenture, Ankur learnt how to act as a connecting link between the specialist tech team and external stakeholders and clients, which requires both his specialist knowledge and his communication skills.
Thanks to his MBA, Ankur is able to see things from this dual perspective, he says, ultimately leading him to consultancy, where he enjoys innovating and managing technical projects and teams.
His new work is not only more rewarding, but more likely to be secure in the face of rapid technical change. “Having come from the development team, It's come full circle for me!” he reflects.