Finding the Way

Shefali Bhatnagar

February 27, 2019

Disclaimer : Previously published on Thump 6.0, IIMU’s yearly Alumni Magazine

Before I write anything else: Congratulations on making it to this esteemed institute! IIMU was a life-changing experience for me, having joined it, right after B. Tech at NIT Kurukshetra. Those with a similar story will perhaps understand that at this stage, you are somewhat inexperienced and have either no clue of what you want to do or (even worse!) are possessed with the idea that’s very strong but also poorly informed. For me, this idea was to work in Marketing for the Beauty Industry. I now do something completely different though – but enjoy it nonetheless!
I work at YouTube where my job is to consult with its main advertisers on their online video strategy. This area mostly falls through the cracks between social, branding and performance marketing teams. As a result, the job also involves bringing these different teams to work together, and I’m enjoying that aspect. I was trying to find my way in the online marketing space but started with no clue, so sharing below some notes from my experience at IIMU and beyond.

Study & Work

  • IIMU trains you to learn well and consistently deliver high-quality work which makes a difference once you are at your workplace. While a good resume with the IIMU name will open almost all doors for you, everyone leaves their jackets and institute-tags at the door. What matters then, are your subject skills and how you bring them to work with the right attitude. For example, for a Product Manager, Statistics helps a lot which does not appear to be an obvious connection. So, the next time you see Janat Sir, give him a high five for keeping the academic rigour so intense!
  • There are no rules like ‘Must study Corporate Valuation’. Macroeconomics by Prof. Shyamal Roy and the Strategy course by Prof. Kuruvilla were my highlights. Something I wish I had done differently was to study at least one HR course to have a basic understanding in that area.
  • Choose an internship to either explore an unfamiliar type of job or one that you would like to work in finally. Leave a good name behind for the institute. I interned at ICICI Corporate Banking to explore finance.
  • Check facts thoroughly before applying for a job. Not all start-ups/ mid-sized companies can retain high-salaried employees so consider that factor as well. Three months after my first job I had a tough time finding a new job on my own.
  • Actively seek to learn from other’s experiences. I believed that the IT industry would not be a good fit because I wanted a career with an element of creativity, but this changed when a friend shared with me someone’s experience of working at Google.
  • Avoid changing jobs too often. It indicates a lack of tenacity.

Play

  • Take part in extracurricular activities and lighten up yourself. Friends who did this also have well-rounded personalities and are superstars in life and work, definitely a correlation there.
  • Apply for the Student Exchange Programme. Being thrown out of comfort zone was a significant learning experience for me. I went to EM Normandie, learned to collaborate and party with classmates from 22 countries. It’s helpful in my current job.

Live

  • Foster meaningful relationships with your peers. As your best friends, they will continue to bring celebrations and critique when things are going good and support when things are going bad.
  • Build a good connection with your professors. I have received invaluable help long after leaving IIMU. It is true; we really do get the best professors at IIMU.
  • Learning to work in a team with kindness and humour is part of THE IIMU transformation, and you will appreciate this more at your workplace./li>

Finally, for the girls

  • My career journey has just begun, but I already see that it can be more complicated as a girl. Having fewer women classmates, colleagues and leaders can make it challenging to find confidence in your voice. Criticism is harsher for the very things that are often laughed off for a man. Leadership and bossiness are defined differently for us than for men. ‘Mansplainers’ will not let your days be dull while you work twice as hard just to be seen as equally proficient. Keep your confidence high and don’t let them kill your vibe. Find yourself mentors, sponsors and allies.
  • Don’t forget to explore Udaipur! There are some amazing places to grab a coffee with your friends.
  • In case any readers have reached this far and are wondering what happened to my goal of working with the beauty industry, I had a chance to work with Fenty Beauty and Nivea for YouTube, so amongst the many things to thank IIMU for, this is one.