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‘KIAMS Gave Me The Ability To Learn… And Unlearn’: Prashanti Akepati

Posted on: March 24, 2012

It’s been nearly eight years since Prashanti Akepati passed-out of Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies. Since then, there have been quite a few alumni gatherings, but she’s never gone back to KIAMS.

“Somehow, I feel that KIAMS belongs to the current batch of students. I spent two wonderful years in that campus. The day I appeared for my last exam at KIAMS, my purpose of being there was fulfilled.” 

As a Senior Manager (Operations) with the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) Department at Bajaj Allianz, Prashanti co-ordinates with the user departments and IT and helps make the communication process smooth, so that the system is developed as per the user requirement in the shortest possible time. Prashanti starts her day with a review of the tasks-to-do, followed by assignment of work to her team, coordinating with different departments, discussions regarding implementation of new processes, and finally, taking stock of the targets achieved and the ones that are to be achieved.

“I love being behind the scene… an anonymous force which has a huge impact on all users, pan-India. All changes in the system process go through the UAT, making us central to the smooth running of the system.”  She points out that a reputed B-school like Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies is a great launch-pad that pushes you to a higher rung in the career ladder.

“It was at KIAMS that I learnt the art of listening. Very often you will see two people saying the same things, but not agreeing with one another. One has to listen, to be able to deliver what is needed. The most important thing that KIAMS taught me was the ability to learn… and unlearn. The day we think that we know more than others, is the day when our growth ceases in that environment. One has to be open to learning every day to be able to perceive opportunities and grow further.” Intake at Bajaj Allianz for a B-school grad is as a management trainee (MT), but within a year a MT is promoted to Assistant Manager. That’s when the real climb begins.

“Acceptance among peers is hard for MT’s, as they are seen as a privileged lot who are given fancy salaries and titles, without having proven their worth. The peer pressure that a management graduate goes through in the 1st year is immense. I have seen around 4 to 5 batches; every batch faces the same attitudinal issues. Quite a few leave after the first year – year and a half. It is not the solution. I want current batches at KIAMS to be prepared for such conditions.” However, what an ordinary executive learns in 3 years, an average management trainee packs in one year, thanks to B-schools like KIAMS. MT’s have to work twice as hard and smart, perform under pressure, take quick decisions and learn on their feet – stuff we were put through, at KIAMS.

The trick, says Prashanti, is to understand the organizational perspective. After all, graduates from KIAMS are expected to fill in the shoes of the mid-management. “Passing-out of KIAMS with a good designation and package is just the beginning. With it comes the responsibility and accountability of taking decisions, abiding by the decisions taken, managing the team, and upholding the values of your organization. KIAMS teaches you to be a jack of all trades, but outside, you’ve got to be the master of atleast one. In real life work environment, one is valued for one’s knowledge of the field.”

Prashanti thanks Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies for her confidence and independence, and letting her know the importance of ‘employability’. “Nobody is indispensable. Constantly evaluate your contributions to the organization, and whether they are valued or not. Don’t be complacent; you never know when an organization would like to dispense with you.”

Prashanti Akepati
Senior Manager, Operations
Bajaj Allianz Pvt Co. Ltd. 

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