Mithun Saha, an accomplished professional, began his career after completing his engineering degree in 2003. With over 18 years of valuable work experience, he recognised the importance of continually enhancing his skills and knowledge to remain competitive in today’s dynamic business landscape, leading him to pursue an Executive MBA program at SP Jain. At SP Jain, he had the privilege of engaging with a diverse cohort of accomplished professionals from various industries and delving into a comprehensive curriculum for growth.
However, how did he maintain a healthy work-life balance while pursuing the program? What helped him prepare to excel in his field? We caught up with Mithun for a quick interview to find out.
What made you want to pursue an Executive MBA program at this stage of your career?
I started my career in October 2003 after completing my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. It majorly centred around programming and quality assurance of hardware products and around the box of manageability software. I moved to the customer-facing role as a Program Manager to drive improvements through customer insights and programs running worldwide before a new product or service launches.
This whole journey from product development and quality assurance to consumer insights has given me a broader perspective and the need to develop product solutions that serve targeted consumer needs. Being a customer-centric person, I enjoy understanding the chaos around me, looking for patterns and developing a design of experiments.
The Executive MBA was a natural choice as I already had industry certifications in process management and agile delivery (PMP from PMI and CSM from Scrum Alliance). I wanted to build upon my current experience and move forward with the added EMBA skills to bridge the knowledge and expertise gap in my professional journey of becoming a better product owner or manager.
I was exploring EMBA options in Singapore in early 2021, as the world was in the middle of a pandemic scare. Among others, SP Jain’s EMBA hybrid learning model with face-to-face and the existing state-of-the-art ELO-based learning and engagement was a clear winner.
Tell us about your career progression and the new role you landed while pursuing the EMBA.
There were two paths that I consciously chose to pursue based on my current experience:
· Taking an upward journey towards being a Product Manager and driving large-scale initiatives or projects.
· Moving to a Management Consulting role in the long term. I had chosen Marketing as my specialisation as it comes closer to the consumer journey and needs, market research and analysis, and understanding the value proposition from the consumer’s point of view.
These are the essential skills to know your consumer and develop better offerings, take feedback, iterate fast and deploy, and keep enhancing till you hit the sweet spot, where your product or service’s value proposition meets their needs. The framework shared in Marketing Management, Strategic Marketing, and Technology Entrepreneurship helped us better understand consumer needs and wants, allowing us to develop a product or service.
I was looking for an internal requisition in my current company to pursue the first option. When the opportunity arrived, I applied for the Product Solution Program Manager position. It is a vertical role investigating the next generation of solutions integration for a new product introduction. The job profile allowed me to understand the competitive offerings and market changes in consumer behaviour and technological advancement and in defining and driving strategies for crucial product offerings during a new product launch.
One of the key challenges our EMBA students face is managing work, family, and studies. How did you cope with a new job and studies?
The EMBA starts with the right module, which is Personal Effectiveness. Managing self is a task that many of us, including myself, struggle with, which is why we have so many bestsellers in the market. The module provides a framework for self-assessment of a person’s life and buckets them under family, work, self, and community. The Personal Effectiveness session is structured in a way that challenges your current way of thinking and helps you evaluate what is productive vs non-productive. The module talks about prioritisation, delegation and how you can manage your 24 hours better and still have time for yourself (self-development), work (for progression and enhancement), family, and community (for a balanced life and mental well-being).
This module and Prof Andrew Jones helped me channel my energy and focus on managing through the EMBA journey and helped me prioritise what I wanted to do next in my life. Likewise, modules such as leading a team and organisation, change management, negotiation, cross-culture, and learning, add to your knowledge base and help you navigate daily challenges while maintaining a focused approach to your personal North Star.
What did you like the most about this program?
Every module had its focus area and provided us with an integrated approach to business management. The skills learned during the EMBA potentially impacted each business area- product /service development, going through market research, forecast, finance, R&D, production, or building a sales pipeline. I enjoyed all the modules and had great takeaways from them.
However, I loved the final Integrated Decision-Making module, where we were introduced to Capsim, a strategic business decision simulation. The simulation includes taking integrated strategic decisions in the areas of R&D, Marketing, Production, Finance, Total Quality Management and Human Resource Management. The simulation would provide the overall market share and growth reports at the beginning of each round – there are a total of eight rounds – and based on that, each group had to make a decision – which impacted the firm’s sustainability, profit, and long-term growth. It was a fun and deep learning module as students got to exercise the culmination of all the learnings in the EMBA journey in a real-time business scenario.
Many professionals want to pursue an EMBA for the network they will build during and after the program. What would you like to share about your peers and classmates? How have your classroom interactions contributed to the development of your new skills and knowledge?
SP Jain’s EMBA gives a great platform to connect with peers and leaders from different industries. Apart from getting to know the advancement and innovation in various fields, you get to understand the core principles of ideating and finding solutions, which you can cross-leverage in your own industry. You also get to understand the distinct working styles of each personality, become accommodative, and discuss, align, and look for a greater common goal in achieving team success. The collaborative skills with respect to building strategies, prototyping, ideating, deriving a plan of action, receiving feedback, and implementing, sets you up for success in your corporate or entrepreneurship journey. The alumni network and the local chapters access are provided to the graduates, and the support network is already built to help you to explore, support, grow and contribute.
What insights or tips would you like to share with professionals considering an Executive MBA degree?
The EMBA curriculum is curated in a way where there is something for everyone, whether you are:
· A technical person who wants to understand what it takes to build products that the customers love.
· An entrepreneur who wants to upskill in macroeconomics, finance, production, sales growth, etc.
· A corporate leader willing to transition his team through a change management program via successful negotiation and become a better leader.
The idea is if you know what you want, take a focused approach to upskill and leverage the EMBA curriculum and network. If you don’t know what you want, take the EMBA journey to explore and find answers for yourself.
In any case, it is a win-win for both scenarios to explore, upskill, and set your career and personal trajectory for success.
Click here to read more stories from SP Jain’s EMBA students and alumni.