About Rahul Mandal:
Rahul Mandal is an incoming student in the PGDBM programme at XLRI, Jamshedpur. He has built a 1.5 Cr. Proprietorship distribution firm from scratch. He has an interest in film making and has won many short film-making awards at the college level.
Rahul’s Journey to XLRI, Jamshedpur
Despite having a decent CGPA (8.42) I was barred from sitting for placements because I had got two arrears the semester before. This turn of events came as a shock to me. I had always dreamt of doing a job in city and working with a cool ID card hanging from my trousers. I was devasted and sadness multiplied when I would see my friends, roommate, and everyone I knew in my class getting dressed up to attend one placement talk after another. I would sit alone in a crowd of friends discussing their prospective companies.
The best part about lows in life is that things can only get better after that point. I worked hard for the next 6 months and landed myself an internship at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Research Intern. I slogged in the company and as a part of my assignment, I needed to analyse various companies and sectors that my guide asked me to research on. I started taking interest in the business. Post my internship, I decided I wanted to do business. I had a long discussion with my father and we both believed that it should be a learning experience for me. Although a businessman with numerous contacts he allowed me to set up my own firm and make independent decisions on matters of client selection and projects that I wanted to undertake.
If it was bad luck that threw me out of the placement season’s prime, it was sheer good luck that made me meet my girlfriend and biggest support system, Shreya Das. I was happy in my new life; the business was growing and by early 2019 I had partnered with a big Consumer Product company to expand horizontally. It was Shreya who made it to TAPMI and opened my eyes to the world of MBA. Regular interactions with her and seeing how much she learnt in such a brief time she was there made me realize how little I knew. I felt like a toad who had mistaken the well for the world. That is where I decided I will have a talk with my father again. He was as usual supportive and encouraged me to take the challenge in all seriousness.
Up until this point, I always thought CAT and MBA were for elite students who have always done well in their academics. Although there is a strong correlation there, I have a nuanced view about it. Different people mature at different points in their life. For me, the failure in the placement season disciplined me as a person. This discipline was reinforced by the demands of my business activities. When I look back at my CAT preparation, this is a key attribute in that success.
Having a dedicated mentor is a blessing and I was fortunate enough to have Hunny Malhotra and Gaurav Kapoor of Elites Grid as mentors. They stuck with me till the very end. I will never forget the last few months where it felt Hunny Sir was online 24*7 revising and making us practice the concepts.
Having a great peer group is an advantage. Here too I was fortunate enough to draw inspiration and advice from my friends who hail from top B-Schools of the country. They provided insights to me on how to analyze my mocks and how to identify where I lacked. Surround yourself with the right people with the right attitude and half the battle is won.
Interviews were a mixed bag as they mostly are. It was May 20th, 2020 and I was on my regular midnightly call with Shreya when a flurry of WhatsApp messages started coming in. “XLRI results are out…”. My heart stopped and I could almost listen to my own breath. I did not keep the call. I held on and opened the site. I entered my details and could not simply click the submit button. For a minute and half I kept telling Shreya that I did all I could have done. She nodded in approval and support as usual.
“Congratulations……XLRI-BM…. Jamshedpur Campus” I shouted. She shouted. The CAT journey that started with her fittingly came to a glorious end with her on the call. On to the next challenge now.
P.S : I kept this picture close to myself always: