I often end up telling this story to my wife & to anyone else with a keen ear. So I thought I might as well blog about it. Because it’s an interesting one. It’s the story of my 5 years and 5 months of corporate life. It’s kinda long & so I’ve split it in two parts. Why do I call this one shades of pink? Because pink was the color of Hutch, where I started my career.
So here I was, a freshly minted Whitman School MBA graduate, back in Mumbai. I often get the question as to why I never stayed back in the US of A. Interviewers in particular love asking me that question. Well, it’s not as if I didn’t want to stay back. But I looked at the career growth path of people who had stayed behind & didn’t really like it. I thought I could do better back home, it being an emerging economy and all. I was likely to find more opportunities there, at least in theory. And so the moment this thought crossed my mind, I booked a ticket & flew back.
Anyways, coming back to freshly minted MBA. So I knew that this was a tough market & didn’t really expect to get a job off my first interview. So I intended to use it as a primer. Make your mistakes, get them out of the system & be ready for the next interview. But things didn’t quite go according to plan. Turns out, my first interview call was from this company called Hutch (you know, with the cute little doggie as their mascot).
At the other end of the interview table was this guy Abhinav Jha (who ended up being a friend & mentor by the time both of us left the company). He asked me all the relevant questions, threw in some case situations. And, I was surprised to find myself answering all of them rather well. I had underestimated myself maybe. I was a fresh mint after all. All that textbook knowledge crammed into my head helped me get through the interview with relative ease. This round was followed by a few more rounds, most notable one being with Indranil Sen (also a mentor & advocate of my career). So a few rounds of interviews & I was in! Whoa! I thought. That was easy!
I was to spend my next 2 years doing calling cards. I learned a lot during this stint. All my basic telecom knowledge came from this stint. The learning curve was steep at first, me not being from a technology background. But I figured things out. In the first 6 months, I had learned everything that was to be learned about the calling cards business, right from operations to technology. So the remaining year and half was smooth sailing. I became a kind of an authority figure, even setting up a few technology aspects along the way. Somewhere along the way, the transition to Vodafone happened.
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