S P JAIN Alum, Nanika Kakkar on what makes S P Jain a unique education destination

S P Jain Alumni - Nanika KakkarNanika Kakkar (GMBA Batch of May 2014) has completed her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from HR College Mumbai. She comes from a highly academic family background where both her parents hold advanced degrees in science. Her father is currently the Vice President for a reputed and national level Industry Association. She stresses that she has always tried to model her career in her father’s footsteps, to reflect progression and accountability in a thriving economic scenario.

After the completion of her undergraduate degree at HR College, Nanika was offered a full time position at a leading financial advisory and valuation start-up TresVista in Mumbai, India. It was an emerging company that provided her with the platform to work on professionally rewarding projects with top private equity firms. It also ensured a steep learning curve allowing her to develop her skills sets and industry knowledge and eventually it was here that she received the encouragement to further pursue an advanced degree (preferably an MBA) and use it to enhance her managerial skills.

Nanika believes that her Bachelor’s degree provided her with the necessary knowhow in finance and related areas, however to progress to the next level of her career and progress into leadership roles, it was essential for her to learn management. Finance she felt was not the only ‘domain knowledge’ required in this ever changing and evolving business landscape. She rightly concluded that an MBA with a global scope would furnish her with the required skills set to become an ‘multi-dimensional’ manager and help her shift from a myopic ‘finance only’ perspective.

Nanika’s next concern was of course to find the right program. She realised that for any working professional who wished to pursue further qualifications, it was vital and in hindsight a ‘value for money’, to pursue a course that permits him/her to return to the job market within the least amount of time armed with the necessary managerial skills. And S P Jain’s GMBA program straightaway helped tick all the right boxes by reducing opportunity costs, shortening the ‘lead time’ for getting back into the workforce and offering the right mix of industry focused modules for building managerial skills. Nanika explains that though she was offered an admission in another leading B-school in Asia (CUHK), she decided to pursue the GMBA program at S P Jain because the course at CUHK did not give her the ‘value’ that she was looking for. The aforementioned course was about 40% more expensive and offered limited career opportunities for non-mandarin speakers. This was a clear ‘no-no’ for her. S P Jain, on the other hand, offered course modules with an internationally ‘diverse’ experience, industry acclaimed faculty and teaching methodology by the way of case studies as a part of a holistic global curriculum – all in line with International standards.

Nanika recommends this program to aspiring students for the diverse faculty resource it provides which she feels is truly exceptional. There are professors with 20 years of experience on the Wall Street; professors from University of Cambridge, Macquarie University, NUS; experts in operations management and derivatives from India to name only a few. Being taught by some of the most highly rated professors in the Asia pacific region was an experience in itself for her. The learning journey she feels has been beyond description and the entire experience has enabled her entire class to become global citizens. On the flip side, she feels that S P Jain Global can foster greater ties with corporate entities to build a more symbiotic environment and help students avail effective mentorship from senior executives through the program.

When asked about her future career aspirations, Nanika says that before going for the GMBA program, she had wanted to be a consultant. However, during the duration of the program, with the assistance of the career development services, she was able to intern with a consulting firm in Australia (much in line with her earlier career aspirations) and with a sports focused PE fund in Dubai. This project along with her prior experience enabled her to shift her focus to work in the PE/VC industry. And she’s currently working with GenNext Ventures – VC arm of Reliance Industries – India’s largest Private sector enterprise.

Her advice to aspiring students is that firstly, they should be able to keep their ‘heads up’ in extreme conditions. She relates that during one of their most challenging IIP projects they were also able to construct and deliver a detailed business plan for an AUD 300mn insurance underwriter in less than 100 hours. Secondly, to make ‘known’ what’s ‘unknown’. She relates that being an amateur photographer, she was able to apply some of the lessons learnt in photography to her daily life, to ‘zoom out’, and look at things from a more holistic viewpoint.

The GMBA program has not only given her a professional impetus, but personally the friends who are now like family. She explains that S P Jain was a distinctive venue for such a mix of personalities and diverse experiences in one place that it has helped all of them become better prepared to take on life’s myriad challenges. She elaborates that in today’s world; geographical barriers are diminishing and giving way to a unique one-World. With a mixture of exposure to the Western-developed economy, South East Asian economy and the Middle East oil economy along with the opportunity of being born and brought up in India and understanding its dynamics really well, she and other S P Jain’s graduates can now think globally, and act locally.

We wish Nanika the very best in her future endeavours!

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