Name – Akshat Singhal
Graduated BMS in the year – 2003
College – Patkar College, Goregaon
Currently working – Director, Blue Ribbon Movement and New Business Development, CinnamonTeal Publishing
Tell us something about yourself :
I have done my BMS after which I went to work with Crossword Bookstores for a year and a half. Post this, I did few things – worked with my father in his business, volunteered for Akanksha Foundation and worked with a call centre. Finally, found my calling in life and decided to work in social sector and went on to do MBA from Sri Sri Institute of Management Studies, Goa. After this, I have worked with Third Sector Partners, an executive search firm for the social sector and was a Project Leader for launching the job portal Barefootjobs.org.
I love working in a start-up environment and build things from scratch. I believe in competing with myself and do my best to make this world a better place to live in.
Tell us something about your BMS college:
Patkar College is a 40 plus years old institution and it has always been one of the well-known colleges in the suburbs for those who wanted to take up Science. We were the first batch of BMS there and our Principal Dr. Uday Mashelkar had done commendable job in taking the college to a different level altogether.
When did you join BMS? Which year you graduated BMS?
My junior college was Bhavan’s Andheri after which I joined Patkar BMS in 2000 and graduated in the year 2003.
How did you start your career? What was the first step after completing BMS?
After completing BMS, I alongwith few of my friends got together to start-up a soft-drink company but it never materialized. And then all of us took our own path and I thought of pursuing my career in Organised Retailing as it was a sunrise industry and was real fun. So, I started applying to various retail chains such as Pantaloon, Shoppers’ Stop etc and finally landed with a job at Crossword Bookstores as a Customer Sales Executive. There I was later transferred to Marketing division to manage Institutional Sales.
What are you doing currently?
I have recently quit my job with Third Sector Partners and have joined hands to start off a social enterprise with a school friend of mine – Abhishek Thakore, Founder and MD of Blue Ribbon Movement (BRM). BRM was founded in 2000 as a youth NGO to engage youngsters in social change. It is now revived as a social enterprise which will do Social Consulting, organize social events, provide training and capacity building services and undertake trust fund projects.
Apart from this, I am also working on Marketing for CinnamonTeal Publishing – a self-publishing firm.
Share with us some of your favorite college memories – Sad, pleasant or anything?
I have lots of them (but they can never by sad), especially that I have made friends for life through BMS. We were such a close-knit, well-balanced and out-of-the-world batch that those 3 years will remain the most memorable years of our life. Organising events, participating in other BMS sports events, working on projects and presentations till late evening. The best was to organize Fiesta Inc. 2002 – the largest sports event in BMS circuit then.
What has BMS life taught you?
It has been a great learning while pursuing BMS. Apart from exposing me to different management subjects it has really helped me in changing my attitude towards life in general. My soft skills (interpersonal, communication, time management and much more) improved tremendously and this course has laid a strong foundation for my entire life.
How is life after BMS? What changes do you see in yourself?
Confidence and self-belief is what I have got through BMS. I saw that I was much more confident and creative than ever. The biggest change that happened was in my way of approaching my own thoughts – To think big, different and still believe in your idea when others around you have stopped believing it.
Who in your life has influenced you the most?
People and small things in life around me have always inspired and influenced me. It’s my parents, sisters, cousins, my friends and my spiritual guru H.H. Sri Sri RaviShankar who have influenced me the most. Discussions with friends, listening to music and movies such as ‘Swades’ and ‘Rang De Basanti’ play an integral role in influencing my thoughts. Also, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Verghese Kurien, Narayan Murthy and JRD Tata are my idols for what they have created is a legacy for youngsters like us to follow.
Has BMS course really helped you in the corporate world or in MBA?
It has to a great extent. What you learn and do during your graduation days helps you in moulding your attitude. And as I mentioned earlier, doing BMS will always be one of the right decisions I have ever taken as it continues to help me till today.
As BMS alumni, what changes would you like to bring in management education?
That it should encourage students to engage more in research and healthy discussions rather than doing a copy paste job. It should be more of an objective oriented and the focus should be on quality of projects and presentations and not quantity.
What is the ideal career option after BMS? Why?
I don’t think there can ever be an ideal career option. It completely depends on individual’s aspirations. The most ideal career option would be to pursue your dream and do what you would enjoy doing rather than getting in the rat race. So do MBA after BMS if you want to and not necessarily because the world is doing it.
Do you think internship/work experience is a must before pursuing MBA?
Absolutely yes. I strongly believe in taking at least 1 year of work experience before MBA. It really helps in filling the gap between what you learnt in BMS and MBA. Also, then in MBA you will be able to relate to things better.
What message would you like to give to the current BMS batches?
It’s been 7 years since I graduated. And we all have already seen sea of change in the way business functions. The world is getting flatter and our dependency on internet has increased like never before. My message would be to stick the basics, get your fundamentals correct, learn from your peers and teachers, have fun and take this opportunity to make a network which can help you in future. With more and more people pursuing ‘entrepreneurship’, BMS course has become more relevant and students should make the most of it.
How is BMS.co.in? What help should it provide in future?
Bms.co.in is certainly a great initiative towards bringing BMS students together. Articles and the content are good. It should try and reach out to the large alumni of BMS and also work towards influencing the change in curriculum at University Level.
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