Nuggets from Avnish Bajaj
What they don't teach you at HBS
A good education provides a strong starting point at best. Avnish talks about how he has evolved over time through the various experiences he has had and the decisions he has made.
What they don’t teach you at IIMA
B-school education can often be focused around picking up the “tool-kit” that makes students ready for the world of employment. Prakash talks about some of the non-academic elements that end up mattering so much in the long run.
What they don't teach you at B-School
Business Schools (especially in India) often taken in students without prior work experience. Several students that work hard to get into elite business schools often assume that they are job-ready when they graduate. Karthik talks about some of the key elements which are not taught which can have a profound impact on your effectiveness in the work-place
In Summary - Playing to potential
For people to play to their potential, people should have clarity around what they have potential for. Karthik talks about the importance of the process of reflection and self-awareness that could significantly increase the odds of people playing to their potential over the long run.
In Summary - Playing to Potential
Zia talks about the key attributes that have enabled her to succeed as a lawyer and as an institution builder. She talks about how people shouldn’t be afraid to reinvent themselves if they are not having fun in what they are doing.
In summary - Playing to Potential
Rama talks about importance of navigational principles in a world where we are all headed in a direction where the destination is unclear. She relates this approach to how Google builds its products. She also underscores the importance of a core skill which wires us in a certain way, which gives us the ability to process the world around us with a certain frame.
In Summary - Playing to Potential
Dheeraj talks about how businesses and leaders need to have clarity around the interfaces where they have strengths (man-man, machine-machine, man-machine). That self-awareness at an organizational and an individual level can be tremendously insightful in guiding growth and strategy.
Goldman Sachs versus McKinsey
High performing B School students often get courted by the top jobs in the market and often several people having to choose between Banking and Consulting. Avnish talks about how he made the decision to join Goldman Sachs after interning at McKinsey.
Cross-border transitions are always hard and often involve multiple variables. Avnish talks about the context in which he took the plunge from a lucrative career with Goldman Sachs to return to India with nothing concrete in hand.
There is a lot of literature around how entrepreneurs should demonstrate resilience when hit with failure or tough times. Avnish talks about the role of preparedness in navigating choppy waters.
Taking stock of life after Bazee sale
When Avnish started Baazee, his financial goal was to make USD 2 Million. When he sold Baazee to Ebay for USD 55 Million, he had made close to 10x of his estimate. He talks about how he took stock of life and moved forward from that point.
Venture Investing – Supporting without intruding
As an entrepreneur who has built a business, how do you engage with an entrepreneur when you are an investor. Avnish talks about walking the tight rope of providing input while holding back as appropriate.
Misconceptions around Venture Investing
Avnish talks about the realities of VC investing as a profession and debunks some of the common myths around a "cushy lifestyle" that some people associate with the profession.
Sharpening investing skills
In Venture Investing, several years can pass before you realize the returns on your initial investment. Avnish talks about how investors can create a feedback loop in the interim and learn from the journey without having to wait for that long.
Evolving as a leader
Leading a start-up through all the change and complexity can be quite a challenge. Avnish talks about how he grew as a leader when he was at Baazee and shares some insights on how entrepreneurs could scale up with the organization.
Backing the best founders
Success of a Venture Investing firm is inexorably tied to the fortunes of the investors they back. Avnish talks about the science and art of how they pick investors and engage with them to drive value.
Harsh realities of Entrepreneurship
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted. Avnish talks about how the need for resilience is intellectually understood but not fully internalized till events happen. He talks about how entrepreneurs could build that capability. He also talks about how he has been influenced by Rudyard Kipling's poem IF.
Three things they do not teach you in B school
Can competitiveness and calmness reside within you side by side? Why should one’s mind and heart be aligned? Listen on to find out what things, Amish thought, were not taught enough in B-schools.
3 things they don’t teach you in B-school
“The cost of our dreams is much lower than we think it is in our heads!” Using this profound thought Papa CJ discusses what business schools don’t teach us. Don’t miss the part about the three things that constitute happiness!
Picking the first job after IIM
Campus placements are often a pressure cooker situation with significant sub-optimality in how students end up making career choices. Prakash discusses how one should pick the first job after campus based on some reflection on what they like doing.
Career Planning 2.0
Thinking about a career has moved away from a linear notion – educate, work, retire. Also the idea of working in one company for the rest of your life has become obsolete. So how should one think about their career in this digital age? How can people stay relevant? Abhijit believes that skills will become obsolete quicker and gives tips about how to navigate their careers.
What they don’t teach at IIMA
Given how hard it is to get into places like IIMA, Rama talks about the mindset of the typical person that is getting in and how that is at odds with the climate at the workplace of today. She talks about how one could bridge the gap.
What they don’t teach you at IIMA
Anu reflects on the notion of heightened risk in the workplace and sensitizing students to that. She also refers to the need for integrated learning across disciplines and functions given that the big problems that are being solved today lie at the intersection of multiple domains.
In Summary – Playing to Potential
Thinking of a transition in life? Reflecting upon your purpose in life? Living a life that someone has decided for you? Amish shares a powerful quote from the Bhagwad Gita to conclude this conversation and urges people find their own uniqueness and ‘swadharma’.
Achievement Orientation to a Giving Mindset
Vijay talks about the notion of “paying it forward” and how that attitude towards life got shaped in his early childhood given the influence of his family. He talks about how some of the things that his parents and relatives did when he was young have had a profound influence on how he goes about thinking about giving back to the wider society. He talks about a specific anecdote where he learnt a lesson about giving from his uncle.
In summary, Vijay talks about the role of passion and enjoying what you do in us producing our best work. He also alludes to a certain mindset with which we could approach life that will help in us playing to our personal potential. He refers to inspiration from Thurgood Marshall and Buzz Aldrin to talk about how we could approach life to ensure that we go as far as we can given the unique capabilities that each one of us has.
Feel like you are not using your potential to the fullest? Thinking about taking a new course or certification to harness this potential? Wait! Hear what Raghu says about the ‘journey of your full potential’ and how you might already know what you need to know! Intrigued? Hear on!
In summary, Viren talks about how OGQ is all about selecting and grooming athletes and helping them play to their potential at the highest stage. He also talks about the opportunity that all of us have to support some of these supremely talented sportsmen who may not have the financial resources to pursue their dreams. If you are interested in contributing, please visit http://www.olympicgoldquest.in. It might be a great opportunity for us to invest in a Mutual Fund that carefully picks the human capital and helps them appreciate over time and could make us and the nation proud.
In Summary – Playing to Potential
We all have an aim that we work towards. But in the feverish rush to achieve this goal, we often forget something. Hear Kartik talk about what is really important before we set any goal or take any career decision. It is something we hear a lot about but do we really follow?
To conclude, Abhijit answers three quick questions: One piece of advice to students leaving B-schools and making their transition into the workplace; three things they don’t teach enough at B-school and three apps he finds valuable! Find out the answers in this nugget.
Pie chart of time in Venture Investing
In any profession, it is important to understand how to spend time on the right priorities. People often get consumed by the urgent and miss out on the critical. That pie chart looks different across professions. Karthik talks about how he spends his time as a Venture Investor and as an entrepreneur at Blume Ventures.
Tough work-life trade-offs
Zia talks about how, in her generation, the notion of work-life balance, didn’t really exist for ambitious women who wanted to make a mark in the corporate world. She candidly talks about the real trade-offs involved in her case and how that is changing.
Work, life and success
People often look at work and life as two different compartments that do not intersect. Dheeraj talks about how he tries to weave in work and life, learns from one and applies in the other and has osmosis going on across the two.
The Maternity transition
Maternity is a critical transition for women and like Anu mentions, you don’t know what you don’t know in terms of how things will play out. She talks about her lessons from that passage of play. She also talks about how she took stock of options out there when she returned to work post maternity and discusses typical mistakes women often end up making in this phase.