Who said you need to put away emotions and only be rational to succeed in a B-school? Here is an interview with Nilesh Gupta who shows how to balance both.
You are one of the few who got an internship you truly wanted. How did you go about doing it?
My first year in B-school was not smooth. It started on a high note with a lot of exciting things and hype around me in the first 2 weeks. Maybe that made me overconfident and then came a sudden dip when I didn’t get into any club. I was thoroughly disappointed. But I always had a good support system which helped me get over it and I haven’t looked back ever since. I utilized all opportunities that came up. This is a beautiful place if you are willing to try. All events I participated in, introduced me to new people. And these interactions have helped me a lot in deciding what my strengths are and where my real interest lay.
To be honest, I was always excited by media. Even during my under graduation, I did courses and projects on advertising. But here I got to know that marketing is a lot more than that. It is strategy, it is numbers. And you get all of this in a simple package called Kotler. Prioritize learning and life will be a smooth ride. Also, communication is one of the most important skills you need to master. You should know how to project yourself, to talk and convince the interviewer even if you feel you haven’t done great things.
What are the things that shaped up who you are today at IIM ?
The biggest driver for me has always been my family. Born in a modest background, I have seen my parents struggle very hard for my upbringing. It was like I was living in two different worlds. School was a place where all the rich kids used to come, whereas my mom used to drop me in a bicycle. Dad was a clerk in high court and he also rotated between jobs in whatever free time he had. My parents even opened a milk retail outlet at home, with crates coming at different times throughout the night. As far as I can remember, they have never had continuous 8 hours of sleep in the past 22 years. Whatever I do is just a small way of thanking them.
The other thing that makes me what I am today is my parents’ focus on ensuring quality education. I was the only one in my entire locality who went to an English medium school. Love it or hate it, I really believe that English is an essential tool to succeed in today’s world and not just English, the whole art of effective communication. After all, what good is a product if you don’t know how to sell it.
Friends have been another important pillar in my life. And I have been lucky to always find a good bunch of people around me. I connect to people easily. I always hear that I am a good “networker”, but I hate it. I feel it’s a very commercial and mean word where everything is done for a purpose. When I talk to people, I never think that this person would help me in some way in the future. I genuinely talk to people because I like knowing about them. I love people and believe a lot in them. One problem which comes along with this is that it’s tough saying a “NO”. I have had bad trades at times that are not very fulfilling because of this. But none of it has changed my belief.
Yes, I am emotional and that is because I am very passionate. I am passionate about dance, drama, music. I am passionate about talking, connecting to people, exploring new places. And it is this passion which makes me appreciate the small little things around me.
I believe in looking good. The day you look good, you are automatically confident. And here comes the learning that we must appreciate people, however small the compliment is.