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Home > Alumni > Aishwarya-iyer >

ALUMNI SPEAKS | AISHWARYA IYER



The MBA gave me credentials, and more importantly, the confidence to apply for opportunities that involved project management and monitoring and evaluation.

 

In 2012 when I had resolved to return to academia, I had a five-year gap from studies to contend with as well as a job to juggle. While I was weighing my options on whether to pursue a Masters in Sociology to build on my Bachelors degree, or enrol into a professional Social work course to validate my credentials (as I was already working in a non-profit by now); I learnt about the MBA in Social Entrepreneurship offered by NMIMS.

The fact that there was a business course for the development sector made it an apt choice for a young entrant like me who had aspirations to grow into strategic roles in the sector, especially with the opportunities in CSR that were emerging rapidly. I found that the combination of the well-crafted diversity of subjects (ranging from organisational strategy to financial management to monitoring and evaluation to marketing, and even a course in environment) and the experiential knowledge of the teachers made the MBA a very practical degree.

The subject matter and the nature of assignments given made it possible and even necessary for me to apply back, to my work at the international non-profit I was associated with then. Similarly, I could also leverage the insights from my job and bring learnings from the practical application of concepts back to the classroom. This, I felt was THE most important factor for the success of the MBA. That it wasn’t only a course that we ventured into and exited from every weekend – but that it taught us to seamlessly engage with both the worlds many of us were a part of – professional and academic – therefore making each more enriched and more valuable.

In addition to the professional calibre I was nurturing through the course, I was also growing more disciplined. The rigour that was applied to any other Business course in NMIMS was applicable to us too. Timelines, attendance and classwork commitments had to be respected. This I feel is very useful as one of the many misconceptions associated with development sector work is that as its ‘non-profit’, ‘charitable’ or ‘philanthropic’ it is not always be ‘professional’. But MBA SE served to break this mould and in addition to equipping the students with technical expertise on running, managing or working in non-profit organisations, also imbibed in us the values of discipline and professionalism.

I was working as a Knowledge Management Officer in an international grantmaking agency, Railway Children when I had joined the course. The MBA gave me credentials, and more importantly, the confidence to apply for opportunities that involved project management and monitoring and evaluation. I joined WeWorld Onlus, another international non-profit as a programme manager. Having experienced the worlds of international grantmaking, I grew intrigued and keen to explore the Indian landscape and the course in Impact Investing was an eye-opener. It was a moment of pride when I could join Aavishkaar, a game-changer in the impact investing landscape and the first in India to have successfully demonstrated the power of social venture capital. My classroom training in how does one quantify social change, behavioural change and attitudinal shifts came in handy in the interview as well as during my stint as Aavishkaar’s Social Impact Officer.

Today, I work at EdelGive Foundation, the philanthropic initiative of the Edelweiss Group which not only manages the CSR of the company but is also a leading Foundation in growing the philanthropic ecosystem of the country. Thanks to the MBA, my early exposure to the CSR law, the models that were bearing success and the insight that CSR and sustainability are deeply intertwined, continue to guide me in my role as Senior Manager - Partnerships in the Foundation. I am entrusted with the role of building partnerships with peer Foundations and companies for leveraging more support for critical causes in Education, Women Empowerment and Building Resilient Livelihoods. The MBA has been a valuable source of insights into the non-profit sector implementing several programmes at the grassroots as well as the world of CSR which is a key source of financial support making these programmes possible.

At first, an investment of three years of weekends, seemed catastrophic. But every time I entered class, engaged with a lively bunch of students like me who held a huge repository of knowledge within them; and had the privilege to engage with professionals from the sector who never shied away from sharing the insights they learnt (including their mistakes) – each hour of the weekend grew more enriched. I will not want to change one thing of the three years that were my MBA years in NMIMS.

 

 


 


 


 


 
           
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