It’s not just professionals working in corporate jobs, who’re worried about being employable in the post-COVID era. Qualified and capable folks working in their family business are equally concerned about staying relevant in a world that’s turned upside-down without warning.
Anurag Jain disrupted his academic graph after he discovered a penchant for business. He grabbed the reins of his family’s textile manufacturing business, and took it to new heights – doubling the revenue in just 4 years.
Whether it’s his academics, business or career, he’s taken several decisions that most would disapprove of.
While the others kept telling him, ‘Better be safe than saree,’ Anurag has managed to turn all his unusual decisions into success stories.
MBA after CA with textile manufacturing experience
by Anurag Jain
I always wanted to learn about business and finance. So, during the second year of my graduation, I decided to take up Chartered Accountancy.
During my internship, I felt that though I gained theoretical knowledge, practical exposure was missing.
So, I decided to join my family’s Saree manufacturing business in Surat and take a break from C.A. after my internship.
After joining the business, I saw opportunities to grow the business on multiple axes. I introduced a Catalogue-based design system which helped us grab bigger orders and increase inventory turnover.
My initiative of shifting to Contract manufacturing cut manufacturing costs by over 40%. When faced with demonetisation and GST, I led the organization’s long-pending digital transformation.
A search for new market opportunities led me to the untapped markets of Assam. By leveraging our extensive supply capabilities and low-cost fabrics produced in Surat, I focused on supplying traditional Assamese dress “Mekhla” to Assam’s top business houses.
I was able to grow the business revenue by 100% within my tenure of 4 years. Though the business was doing well, I felt I had the potential to do more.
Though people suggested otherwise, I decided to go back to academics after a 4-year long gap and completed my C.A. by finishing among the top 100 students among 100 thousand plus candidates.
After completing my C.A., I wanted to get into one of the Big 4 accounting firms but was unsure whether I will be able to make it because of my unusual career trajectory and also because people told me it was not possible.
But, I did not lose hope and was rewarded for my hard work and patience as I got into PwC and I feel my business tenure was a huge factor in getting into one of my dream companies.
The decision to pursue MBA and GMAT Prep
Having managed my business and having worked in consulting at PwC, I knew I wanted to get into a leadership role in the future and MBA is a very important step to achieve the goal.
Having had good work experience over the years, going for a leading 1-year MBA in India was the perfect choice for me.
Since I wanted to pursue MBA from India I wanted to target IIM A/B/C, ISB, and SPJIMR.
Since I am from a non-traditional educational background, I felt a GMAT score of 700 or above would be a good score.
I wanted to prepare for GMAT on my own and the lockdown gave me the perfect opportunity to manage GMAT prep with work. I was expecting a score of around 740 as I was consistently scoring 740-750 in mocks.
But, on D-Day, I was able to score 710 only. Though the score was less than expected, I felt the score was good enough to apply to my targeted schools.
Why I wanted to work with a good MBA consultant
The main reason to go with a consultant was that since I had a very unusual educational and career trajectory, I thought a good consultant would be able to help me explain my career decisions in the MBA essays and the application process was a very new experience for me.
Also since I had less than a month left after my GMAT for the application process, I thought a consultant would be able to help me build a good application within the deadline.
Once I decided that I wanted to go with a reputed MBA consultant, MBA Crystal Ball (MCB) was the one and only choice since I had heard good reviews from my friends who had gotten into top business schools with their help.
So I contacted Manish Gupta for the same.
Manish guided me about how to go about the whole process and connected me to Avinash Kaparekar from his team.
The biggest benefit of working with Avinash was that though I had a good story to tell, I had little clue about how to put that story into words and the word limit.
Avinash helped me with a solid structure to build the essays and also gave insights on how to do school-specific research for the essays.
Avinash suggested that I should talk to alums and current students of the schools I was targeting and that I should include names of those alums and students in the essays which gave my essays a personal touch.
Also, he suggested that the essays should be written in easy layman’s language rather than in fancy and complex words which was the differentiator in my essays.
ISB interview preparation and experience
For the MBA interview preparation also I took help from Avinash and was able to build up my confidence before the actual interviews by having mock interviews with him. I feel his advice to keep my answers to the point and simple was very helpful.
My interview at ISB was taken by two alums. One of the alum was from the consulting industry and the other was from the IT industry.
Both the alums were very friendly and the interview experience was very good. My interview lasted for about 35 minutes. I felt pretty confident after the interview.
I got my admit from ISB after around a month of my interview and I can’t describe my happiness in words. ISB was my dream school and getting an admit from there was a dream come true.
I think given the huge batch size and diverse cohort, ISB is the perfect choice for someone from an unusual background like me.
I feel now is the perfect time to go for an MBA so that I can enter the post-COVID job market with a fresh set of skills.
I think my non-traditional educational background and the experience that I gained from my 4-year tenure with my family business helped me differentiate myself from other applicants.
The whole application process was a huge learning experience for me.
The biggest lesson I learned was to start early with the application process.
I had very little time left for the application process post my GMAT and in hindsight, I would have loved to have been done with GMAT early and to have given more time to the application process.
The advice that I would like to give to future MBA aspirants and especially people from the family business background is that it is not impossible to get into a top B school even if you are from a business background if you are clear about why you want to do MBA and about your post-MBA goals.
I was also apprehensive about whether I will be able to make it to my dream B school because of my family business background but my clarity of thought about why I wanted an MBA helped me get into my dream B school.
I am very happy and relieved now that the journey is over and very excited to join the school.