Working From Home? A Challenge But A Lifelong Learning Experience Too!

My name is Akash Mathews, and I am the 2020 Content Marketing Sumtern (Summer Intern) at Thrive Global. During my time here, I’ve experienced lots of things in terms of planning, research, strategy, marketing and whatnot. But the  most unique experience of it all has been – ‘working from home’ that too as an Intern!

The whole experience of doing internships during a socially distant period has made me realize the difference between becoming career-ready rather than just job-ready. Here I am highlighting a couple of big learnings and challenges I’ve had during this scenario in my virtual internship experiences and hope that these pointers help you understand that gearing up for the #NewNormal Corporate World is essentially about future-proofing your skills.

#Challenge1 – Research as a skill is demanding!

When my corporate mentor Dr. Marcus Ranney, General Manager (India) – Thrive Global asked me to do a little research on how the COVID-19 impacted the individuals working in organisations, I was totally blank and had little clue on where to begin. 

#Learning1 – Scrolling on social media is a great way to research!

Miracles do happen when will is strong. While scrolling down my LinkedIn feed, I coincidentally landed on a blog (published by Forbes) where the author had addressed the digital transformation wave that ensued since the pandemic. The blog helped me understand how to present things with stats and facts. After that blog, I’ve gone through over 50+ blogs published on different platforms, various posts with insights on digital transformations amid COVID-19, and testimonial videos describing changes witnessed due to pandemic to gather the required data for my mentor’s observational hypothesis of the change that he witnessed first hand in India.

Today, I feel proud to mention Research as my top-most skills on my resume as well as on LinkedIn. Thanks to Dr. Ranney for this challenging push that led to a positive change within me. 

#Challenge2 – Virus-proofing skills and career!

Honestly, the pandemic has literally forced many individuals and students to be a part of the ‘I want to be future-ready’ rat race. Not to mention, being a graduating student, I also had the fear of not getting a good start to a successful career due to COVID-19. 

#Learning2 – Setting the right goal and aiming in the right direction is what makes you successful!

While many of my batchmates are hustling to collect as many certificates as they could, my hunch, on the other hand, is to gather meaningful experiences and apply them to make a sustainable business platform for myself. To sharpen my sales acumen, I’ve interned at Foxmula MEP (Microsoft Educational Partner) where my role was to capture the leads and convince potential customers to enroll into e-learning courses offered by Foxmula in collaboration with Microsoft.

Besides the internships, in the background I was also dedicatedly applying all the learnings & experiences into ContentDuniya, an open community for digital creators that are hustling to strengthen their portfolio online. 

On a closing note, I think attitude plays a big role in setting you up right for working from home. It’s up to you whether you see this as an unattainable challenge or an opportunity of a lifetime to evolve yourself and strive to achieve your true potential.


Learning Is Unstoppable, No Matter What The Situation Is

An unexpected shift from my Corporate Internship to Virtual Internship has given me the much-needed chances to explore my inner potential and provided me with corporate experiences that I might not have experienced as an intern physically.” – Ananya Snehi, Second-year student – FIIB

As a FIIB racer, I have not only learnt how to tackle struggles but also developed an attitude to embrace change readly and create a learning experience out of it. So when I got the virtual internship opportunity rather than a physical one due to the Corona crisis, I knew I needed to derive the most out of it and not let it go in vain. And at the end of the internship I felt that I have come a step closer in preparing myself better for the #NewNormal corporate world. 

A Ladder Towards Self-exploration

At FIIB, we are always taught to be ready to adapt with every change and respond with a can-do attitude and collaborative approach. When this whole virtual internship news broke due to the pandemic I only thought of one thing – can this lead to a better career opportunity? And with that single thought I moved ahead and embraced whatever challenges, learning, experiences, and most importantly, team conflicts came my way. 

I did my virtual internship with Scyara Megacorp, where my role for the company was as a product marketer. From attending tasks-to-do zoom meetings as an intern to providing outcomes as a potential marketing intern, getting feedback from a strict corporate mentor to sharing creative ideas collaboratively within the team – the company provided me with a holistic and realistic view of how things work in the corporate world.

This internship has undoubtedly been a great learning experience and it helped me discover my interest towards branding building. All the hustle and challenges made sense and gave me immense satisfaction when I was acknowledged as a top performing intern by my corporate mentor himself. Despite having no physical experience of the workplace or corporate environment, this new mode of internship introduced me to my inner self and my capabilities to cope with the difficult times.

Tying With Meaningful Experiential Opportunities

With a clear intent of specializing in marketing, I am exploring further experiential learnings in the domain and am now working as a Business Developer intern with Fin Ladder, which is an Ed Tech Start-up. The internship is helping me grow with every conversion I do for the company’s online courses. It is not only helping me to explore a new role that I thought would be beyond my comfort zone, but it is also making me more focused and goal oriented with every target I reach.

Making Myself Digitally Savvy For The Future World

Content writing has always been my passion, something that I have always loved doing. So to merge my passion with my profession, I have been updating my LinkedIn profile consistently with write ups and articles. It has become the new Instagram for me, where I invest most of my leisure time now. 

Happiness comes with every trending post notification that I receive from LinkedIn. It feels great when my posts get appreciated by the LinkedIn audience. The best part is, it is not only helping me to showcase my writing skills, but I am also building a good number of genuine connections and network through it. 

Reaping the Perks of Being A Digitally Active Marketer

The amount of effort I have put on LinkedIn seemed highly fulfilling when I got selected as a member of HBR Ascend Select just by mentioning my LinkedIn URL in the application form. Being an HBR ascend select member, I have got an opportunity to share my views and opinions with the editorial, marketing and product teams.  

I am essentially a person who is inclined more towards gaining practical experience and knowledge rather than theoretical, and therefore taking up quite a few online certification courses also. This new normal has also helped me improve one of the major soft skills required in the corporate world, Time Management which is extremely important to have a smooth work life.
As I strongly believe that “learning is unstoppable”, I did not let this unprecedented crisis hamper any of my learning experiences. Keeping the mindset that  “In the middle of the difficulties lies opportunities”, I have taken initiatives that have allowed me to position myself better in the corporate world.


Learn, Unlearn, Focus and Grow!

Some people want to just finish their working hours and some people believe in finishing their work meaningfully, learning from it and performing even better than they did the last time. Sameep Singh is of the second kind. Let us hear more from him on his believes and professional calling.

On asking him to share some of his memories while he was in FIIB, he said

“I  started my FIIB journey in 2004 and in 2006 I got my first job through college placement. My batch had several students coming from different parts of India hence I remember myself interacting with them on various topics every now and then. My professors were always supportive. I am still in touch with some of my professors then, Mr. Swaminathan from Marketing and Mr .Roy from Finance and it feels really nice to have known such personalities through FIIB.”

Life after FIIB

“There are several lessons and exposures that FIIB gave me and I am still thankful for that. It is crucial to be a good communicator in life and through the presentations that I gave in front of the entire class every now and then, I gained the confidence to speak in public. I now habitually cherish public speaking and try to  maintain the momentum. It was during my days at FIIB that I overcame any possible hesitation to speak in public.

My batch mates were from different parts of the country like Tamil Nadu, Odisha, MP, Jammu & Kashmir and more. Through them I got tremendous exposure and understanding of how diverse our country is. This helps me in my career till date as it changed my understanding of India. 

His daily motivation to work

“I like my work very much because my role is unlimited. I am happy with my designation, my organization and my paycheck. In my work, I cover the technology, the media and the telecom sector. We have companies across the globe, hence I cover the sovereign, market, industry and other companies. This gives me a good macro view of things and brings clarity in what steps to be taken next. There is nothing repetitive, nothing mundane in what I do so I always look forward to work. It is natural to make mistakes but the key is to learn from those mistakes and that is how I have grown in the last 5 years. At the end of each day I get to learn something new. 

He passes on his ideas to the current students 

“We have to let go of the attitude that says “Let it go with the flow”. This is because one has to think out of the box and status quo does not help much. One has to remain active all the time and upskill the self to serve the best to the organization. Finishing up tasks beforehand in case you are free is a good move. Never push your work to the next day, rather complete your work ‘today’. Always push your managers to deliver something outstanding and beyond your expectations. No one can stop you if you will simply believe in yourself and will be disciplined.”

Surely we have got to learn a lot from Sameep Singh. In fact the way he approaches work can actually help anyone to sort out several work life issues in a short span of time. 

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Fending The Usual, Letting In The Unique!

Falling into the pattern decided by a crowd is the easiest way out in this world, but breaking away from the crowd and walking your own path brings in challenges and thrill. That thrill fuels one in walking ahead and securing an identity of own!

On asking how his journey was in FIIB, he said…

“It was definitely a learning experience and some of the lessons that I learnt have been very valuable for the rest of my life. I learnt how to tackle challenging situations better along with professional issues with utmost confidence and composure. My professors were always there for me and the entire FIIB journey was like a crash course on what is going to take place in the future

Vinayak always wanted to make the most of his ideas and thus decided to choose a career path that did not come with any specific rules and regulations. He went down the road that demanded more creativity and impressive ideas to reach the desired point. 

“I always wanted to be in the marketing field as this domain both demands and welcomes creative ideas to connect with people. It gives you plenty of room to brainstorm and nothing comes predetermined hence being and staying unique is the best part of it. With the other domains one is compelled to follow a set of rules and I wanted otherwise in my career.”

Today when he looks  back and sees that he has come a long way, he has some ideas and lessons to pass on to the students so that they can deal with the demanding market better. 

“It is most important for anyone to be open to change. Right now the world is changing at a very rapid pace. The capability to stay open and evolve along with the work environment is crucial. Also, whatever skills requirements are there before us will change even before someone can master them – time is passing that fast. One has to be alert and must keep up with the new courses that are coming up every now and then.”  

This was Vinayak Pant for you who simplified his career journey by sticking to what he always wanted and is evolving with each passing day and how!

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Professionalism Personified In Noteworthy Ways!

Anyone can do a job but not all can exude professionalism. With utmost integrity, self belief, discipline and a rock solid dedication to work, Pritiman Sarkar takes us on a journey which has been fair to him because he maintained the dignity of being a professional. Let’s read!

The journey begins

“The experience of learning in an MBA school is very different from the generic academia which we are exposed to during our school & college days. When I look back at my journey at FIIB- it was intense as well as rewarding, as it enabled fulfilment of my aspirations and my dreams. From being a student to becoming a professional and transitions between theory/class room to projects, GDs, mock interviews and summer internship, they enabled me to have a flavour of the real world outside the cocooned environment of my student life. FIIB was able to foster my skills with clinical precision which has defined me as a professional.”

The journey afterwards

“While the journey has been exhilarating and exciting till date, all the curved balls thrown at me over the years have taught me to follow the 4 basic principles – Discipline, Dedication, Consistency and Integrity and the 5th overarching principle is Common Sense. This has helped me in good stead as I progressed in my career and reached senior positions in Investment Banking, Fintech and Cards Business. All these roles have been diverse, intricate and knowledge intensive in the financial sector which resonates with the skills honed at FIIB and developed in my journey from foundation to consolidation, and progressive aptitude and attitude to strive for excellence.”

The element that motivates him as a professional

“The role personifies my today’s “me” that is based on the fulcrum of our digital, cutting edge technology which is being scouted and deployed at break-neck pace whether it is voice, email, chat, knowledge bots, voice biometric, tech stack changes, enablement to foster customer centricity and build the first in industry initiatives and deployments. It has the flavour of what I have experienced and the expertise which I have developed in the past and enables future skills to be adopted. It brings in a combination of traditional and digital business and generates tremendous depth and width in the role disposition at large”

Upon being selected as a new member of the Advisory Board of FIIB-Finance

“It is a very humbling experience to be invited as a part of the Advisory Board. I am glad to contribute in my small way towards my alma mater and my long standing engagement with FIIB. I look forward to this opportunity, more specifically to jointly pursue it for its success. Basis the contours which have been shared I would like to share my knowledge gained in the financial sector specifically in building an outlook as well as curriculum, bringing in industry and domain experience and supporting student’s vision and real business opportunities in their educational journey.”

Suggestions for students to be better professionals

“The way I look at it today is to suggest to them to ensure that they are able to “future proof” their skillset and career. It is critical that they are able to build their mind & develop skill sets, plan their careers and should know and prepare for the jobs which will be relevant in the next 5 to 10 years horizon. With the GIG economy in play and impact of automation and job redundancy there is a radical new direction for career progression. Hence the key to success would be to have a growth mind-set, hone unique and human skills, build a professional network and develop resilience as the top skills requirement in the next 5 years.”

This was Pritiman Sarkar for you all who balanced knowledge with self belief during the challenging times in his career and never missed out on making the most of the sunshine he received.

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Consistency is key to Become an Effective Remote Learner

Having a consistent routine might seem like sucking the spontaneity out of life for many. But, in reality, having a routine simply means forming a bunch of new habits that helps you improve yourself and discover your true potential. It by no means stops you from leaving space for some unexplored activities that can further evolve you as a person.” – Suprabh Goswami, Batch 2020-22

Only consistency can make a routine happen on autopilot

You listed down all the activities you need to do in a day, blocked desirable time for each activity, and after two hours you find yourself doing something that is not planned because sticking to a routine is not your cup of tea. This is not how it works. Staying consistent to your routine is more like practicing a new habit daily until it becomes the favorite time of your day. 

#RealFact – The more you practice a new habit the easier it becomes for you to fit it in a routine. And with time and consistency it moves up to be on an autopilot mode. 

Making a new habit stick takes time and effort

When I started off my freshman year MBA lectures online, it was pretty difficult for me to track down and follow my class schedule on Google Classroom. And I often ended up logging in to my online lectures late. Being a strong believer of having a routine, I very quickly created a time-table for myself and started following it.

It’s been more than a month now and I am attending all my classes timely, participating in almost every quiz and other activities that FIIB has planned in our virtual curriculum and making my notes in every lecture without any stress about the bad network or connectivity issues. For this, I am really thankful to Prof. Prashant Verma Sir for his guidance on how to use Google Classrooms and other online tools to ensure that I am on the top of driving my online learning. 

#RealFact – Undoubtedly, it takes time to align yourself with a routine but once you crack the code and are consistent with your routine – you literally feel like a proud remote learner!

The most effective part of my routine…

After the session ends at 2:30 pm, I take a small nap. From 5 pm till 8 pm I engage myself in my hobbies  and after 8:30 pm I look up the notes from the day’s classes and revise what’s been taught. I google the words or terms that I don’t understand. After 11pm, I learn about astronomy through novels and videos till I feel sleepy.

Final thoughts on being ‘consistent’

Whenever I feel why I’ve to follow a routine, I remind myself of the objective that I’m trying to accomplish – of making the best out of my #NewNormalMBA in a crisis situation. I believe that being consistent is always good, especially when it is in the right direction – time is money and we shouldn’t waste it on anything unworthy.


Become a Better Distance Learner to Make The Most Out of Online Learning

To prepare yourself for unseen future challenges and ensure continuity of your learning, you need to constantly reinvent yourself and master the hack of handling distance learning that’ll allow you to continue your education from home.” – Akshay Dogra, Batch 2020 – 22

Just like any other college student, entering my MBA education, even in a virtual mode, is quite exciting for me. My first day experience of an online Orientation Programme itself added new meaning to the start of my higher education journey at FIIB. I had so many emotions running through me and was all excited.

Honestly, just a couple of weeks of my foundation classes in the virtual mode have already made me utilize the multiple online communication channels such as e-mail, online chat and video conferencing to connect with my batchmates and lecturers. It really amazes me how smoothly I am able to  continue my education even in a pandemic-stricken environment. The only slip point for me was when my computer crashed. Other than that my experience with online classes has been a rewarding and wonderful  learning experience.

However, one important thing that I’ve learnt about online learning from my experience so far is that to be a successful distance learner you have to be self-disciplined and be able to work well on your own. Following a time-table to ensure a timely presence in all the lectures and take active participation in all the planned activities requires you to be self-motivated and self-driven.

The fact that I don’t need to physically go to the institute everyday and that I can take part in my classes from the comfort of my home has helped me have a better grip on my time and efforts and somewhere allowed me to become a better learner.

#RealFact – It’s not just education systems that need to evolve according to the changing situations, students also need to adapt their learning agility effectively to become better learners.


Convert Your (Increased) Work Responsibilities Into Opportunities!

The corporate world changes with every passing day. With one blink of an eye, the entire decision-making process takes a new direction and comes out with surprises that have several layers to it. In such a storm of fast decisions and delegation of job responsibilities, it becomes very crucial for the employees to increase their employability right away! 

No doubt that this pandemic has prompted individuals to relook at their existing expertise, work ethics, strategy building potential, communication skills and their ability to stretch themselves parallelly with unpredictable work pressure. The ‘new normal’ will demand more, will stress one more and will frequently push an employee beyond expectations. In fact, this is the right time for employees across the world to make the most of their added job responsibilities and pave way to new opportunities that will take them to the next level of their career. Here is a quick-map on what one can do to flip job load into positive pressure through which well….diamonds form!

Have a macro view of the picture

This is no curse or fate is not playing with your share of relaxation quotient. This is, in fact, an opportunity which you must grab and keep in your possession as long as possible. This is because they are small stepping stones of your growth that will not only hone your managerial skills but also will give you an edge over others. 

Step up in a stressful situation and take responsibilities to make it better

Corporate responsibilities can toss one off balance. But, regaining the balance and maintaining it while achieving the organizational goals is what stands out from the crowd. If people can rely on you then it is a big plus. The credibility of your current job designation not only increases but also gaining trust becomes simple. Organizations care about meeting deadlines and work targets, so why not step up in such scenarios and live up to your commitments that you once made during your interview with the organization? 

Make yourself worthy 

It might sound scary, but how about you taking up the responsibility to manage the most crucial clients in your organization? Well, you have to step out of your comfort zone in order to be one of the most recognized names of your organization. Try to deliver the tasks that involve your manager directly. Try to revolve around roles that will take you closer to promotion. 

Extend your helping hand

We all struggle at some point of time or the other. In case you will see your teammate struggling, go and help the person. Be sure that your contribution and attitude to help your team/workmates will be noticed. There will be a time when your team will trust you and this will open your ways for leadership. 

Introduce solutions

Motivational speeches alone will not drive the team ahead. If you see your team struggling, then bring in as many solutions and as frequently possible. This will not only make you exercise your brain better but also will take you closer to leadership. 

Seek knowledge and expand your network

Connection breed opportunities. The more frequently you will take work charge with your team or with diverse teams, you will not only meet new people but also will get a new perception of getting things done. This will polish your existing skills and will multiply your knowledge to become a better corporate version of your current self. 

The better version of yourself will demand you to work an extra mile and sometimes a few extra miles within a very short span of time, it is just that winners do not perform different things, they person things differently  and this is what we require in modern management.


Blended Learning and Blended Teaching: The New Normal of the Education World

2020 so far has indeed been a revolutionary year in the world of education. A year where higher education entities are going deeper into the teach-from-home model to ensure uninterruptible learning for its students amid pandemic crisis. And, of course a year that has also opened new doors of learning for educators themselves who are keenly adapting some of the basics of teaching to get through this pandemic. 

Being a higher-educational institution, FIIB is also preparing for the New Normal world that demands blended curriculums and pedagogies to deliver blended learning. While a lot of people are focusing more on the tactics of online teaching, we at FIIB, on the other hand, put all our efforts on online learning – for our teachers as well as students. FIIB has been able to successfully incorporate blended learning into its curriculum that promotes active, student-centered, experiential learning. 

In the New Normal Education World, the allure of technology-based learning environments has pushed many institutions to go beyond their traditional approaches and invest their resources to incorporate technology into their classrooms. In doing so, however, FIIB has taken a more balanced approach to reflect on the need-of-hour i.e. blended learning,  to strategically look at how the available tech-resources can be of used effectively to fulfill the promises made to each of its stakeholder groups. 

As it is said that one should keep a determined eye on the purpose, even when the wind is blowing in the opposite direction. FIIB has been doing whatever it takes – from opting for technology-based learning solutions to teaching in a blended format – to fulfill its purpose that students continue to learn.


Community Resilience is the Key to the Future. Here’s how FIIB is Unlocking it during the Time of Crisis!

The global crisis has dramatically changed the way higher education space has operated in the last few months. While gearing up for an online learning edu-force hasn’t been the easiest of the paths, going back to the fundamentals and creating a sense of community is what led FIIB to positively cater to the needs of each of its stakeholder groups even in these times of crisis. 

From keeping students active and engaged virtually with the campus life, to driving meaningful learning opportunities that further their career-growth, to organizing social events that strengthen our network with the wider academic community – FIIB has been on a unstoppable roller-coaster ride that has helped the RACERS community to move forward despite an extraordinary situation like global pandemic. 

Enabling Online Learning & Mentoring for students’ well-being

Being a provider of education, giving students a sense of normalcy and togetherness is the utmost priority in times like now. From virtual classroom to digital mentor-mentee sessions, nearly every student activity has been transitioned online so that students don’t miss anything, instead they make most of the New Normal MBA opportunities. 

Engaging with Alumni to Plan the Time Ahead

FIIB Alumni Cell introduced FIIB&YOU 2.0, an initiative to plan for the future with the extended community of FIIB aka Alumni. As FIIB community recently celebrated the 25 years anniversary, we used the occasion to strike meaningful conversations about planning for the future through Racers Cafe, the Alumni Advisory Committee, taking this as the right time to get connected, share ideas, and actively plan for continuing to deliver excellence in the next 25 years. 

Encouraging Research Amid Humanitarian Crisis 
FIIB Business Review initiated a dialogue between management practitioners, researchers and academicians in trying to find a way to address the current situation and help the management education fraternity to come up with solutions through the International Digital Conference-Editors Meet held on 2nd June 2020. The event was open to academicians, publishers, industry practitioners and early and advanced stage scholars. More than 300 participants from 18 countries participated in the meet which was a rich and engaging discussion for over 3 hours. Check out the entire Editor’s Digital Meet here.

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