Facing my own Sophie’s Choice – Career or Education?

Back when I started my career in the Life Insurance industry as a 20-year-old, I did not realise that I would be able to grow so much in just over half a decade even without a formal business degree. 6 years and 5 promotions later, I was heading a team of 20 Managers across 3 states, and realised that I might just have what it takes. A few years later, after a lot of morning classes, weekend preparations and with the help of some amazing faculty and administration, I managed to complete my Bachelor of Legislative Law (LLB) as well. This was going to be my entry ticket to the career of my dreams. My journey had just started.


Many of you reading this blog might be a part of the mid-level management at your workplace. You know how the routine gets, right? The daily challenges that come your way make you feel productive. The more fires you put out, the more important you feel. My journey was also similar, in a way. Meeting new customers in the field, indulging in challenging projects, and taking up steep targets kept me motivated enough to go forward. But a part of me always wanted something more. Ever since I was a child, my father had taught me to be passionate about education, and now was no different. Even though my busy schedule didn’t allow me to think beyond my job much, a part of me knew that I wanted to graduate with an MBA from a premier institution and grow as a leader.

But every good story needs a dilemma or conflict, right? And here was mine. After almost 10 years in the industry and having led a team of 50 Managers in a renowned company, I was among the few Senior Managers who was on the bench for Associate Vice President. “Should I take a break or continue with the status quo?” was a million-dollar question for me. If I decided to take the break, it would change my life drastically – I would lose a year, the remuneration, and the promotion. On top of all that, I would also add an educational mortgage on my family. But on the other hand, this could have been my only chance to fulfill my cherished dream of graduating from a top college. Talk about Sophie’s choice!


It took 2 years of deliberation for me to finally make my decision. And one of the most important factors helping me in my decision-making was my wife and her unwavering support. I decided to pursue my education and invest in myself. And today, I can honestly say that this was one of the best decisions I made.

With the kind of experience I had under my kitty, I was sure that I would get into some great local institutes like IIM-PGPX or the Indian School of Business. Additionally, I was also researching if I would be eligible for some global programs offered by top institutes like London Business School, SP Jain School of Global Management, and the National University of Singapore. However, after attending an information session at SP Jain and finding out more about its tri-city Global MBA program, I didn’t want to take up any of the other programs out there. I spoke to the school’s alumni and researched about its faculty, and I was highly impressed, to say the least. The tri-city learning model in Dubai, Singapore, and Sydney was just the icing on the cake. My main pull towards the program was the brilliant alumni feedback I got about the industry-relevant curriculum and the cultural immersion that the school provides in each city to help students understand business globally. This educational journey was going to be very different from anything that I’d experienced before, and I was ready for the challenge!

jyoti mohanty 1 SP Jain experience

I accepted my offer and started my tri-city learning adventure in late 2018. To be honest, I didn’t even realise when the 12 months of my Global MBA just flew by amidst all the classes, industry projects, Student Board Rooms (SBRs), and guest lectures that we participated in. The SBRs involved working closely as a team simulating a Corporate Board Room, respecting each other’s opinions, and ensuring timely submissions. This broadened my perspectives and taught me to be considerate of others’ opinions and come up with judicious decisions when at crossroads. The Global Immersion Projects (GIP) helped us deep dive and understand the actual issues, conduct market research, analyse the responses, and give the client multiple recommendations based on different scenarios. The last term of the program also helped us prepare for the upcoming placement drive. The placement preparation process was structured and covered through multiple phases starting with soft skill assessments and detailed constructive feedback. In just two months, we had at least 10 rounds of interviews covering behavioral, technical, and detailed JD related preparedness, making us truly ready to take up all the challenges that came our way.

We did not miss the opportunity to venture out and make the most of the three beautiful cities either. Singapore, Sydney, and Dubai came with their own unique set of charms, and it was an absolute pleasure exploring these places with my batchmates. A glass of beer in a pub, club or casino was a stress buster over a weekend. The program helped me build a strong network with my peers from different backgrounds and nationalities, and make a few good friends for life.

jyoti mohanty 3 SP Jain experience

Once we completed the 12-month program, my next goal was to look for a good job. With 10 years of experience in the BFSI sector, my first inclination was to look for senior roles in strategy or consulting within the sector. However, I did not completely rule out options in other related industries either, and I am glad that I didn’t. The placement team at SP Jain told me about an impressive role in Healthcare Technology, an emerging domain, and I was quite intrigued. The role included several strategic and collaborative responsibilities like setting up a PMO office and gave me an opportunity to co-chair as the Chief of Staff, helping the India Country General Manager drive his agenda. Since this opportunity came after our program, I had enough time to understand the industry, competition, company, culture, and social image. Almost 20 of us applied for the role and after four strenuous rounds of interviews, I got a call informing me of landing the role!

As I write this blog, I have completed almost 45 days in the company, and I am quite elated with my decision. The people, work culture, technology, and the agility in the Executive leadership make me render my best efforts. I have already been able to contribute to the organisation in some critical projects, and this is just the start. I am not sure if I could have landed such a great role so quickly had it not been for my time at SP Jain. I’m truly proud to be an SP Jain alumnus!

About the Author: Jyoti Ranjan Mohanty

With 10+ years of experience in the BSFI Industry, Jyoti Ranjan Mohanty is a Global MBA graduate from SP Jain’s Class of 2020. He is currently working with a leading US-based Health-Tech company as the Assistant General Manager (Director). In his current role, Jyoti handles the firm’s strategy and also works as the Chief of Staff.

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