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Jaipuria alum Gaurav Tripathi, an HR professional, provides valuable advice on how to choose a career and plan for the long-run

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In 2007, an MBA was the best career option available for a non-tech graduate. Following this trend and with a desire to be part of his contemporaries, Gaurav decided to pursue an MBA. After graduation, Gaurav worked with a few big BPOs, including Vodafone (Hutch at that time) and IBM Daksh. This gave him a taste of corporate life, in addition to an edge over the other applicants.

Gaurav also says that he had not experienced campus life, since he graduated from a distance learning program. This is what made him decide to enroll in the regular program at Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida. “My journey with Jaipuria started when I visited the Noida campus,” he says. “It was really beautiful and made a huge impact on me. Coming from a small town like Gorakhpur, UP, the Noida campus, spread over four acres of sprawling lawns, and the impressive library only added to the Institute’s attraction.” Another major factor in choosing Jaipuria, Noida was Dr. J.D. Singh, who was the Founder & Director of the Institute. He also heard of Dr. Singh’s impressive credentials – a doctorate in Marketing with many years of teaching experience both at the national and international levels. This was the clinching factor in Tripathi’s decision to join the Jaipuria Noida campus.

Recalling those days spent studying on the Jaipuria Noida campus, Gaurav says, “The faculty at Jaipuria were very experienced. I still remember Dr. Arun Bhattacharya from IIM-B who had many books and papers on Marketing to his credit.” Apart from academics, Jaipuria has a wide range of extra-curricular activities that students are encouraged to participate in, as they contribute to their holistic development. Gaurav agrees: “I strongly feel that when you start working, it’s not only your ‘bookish knowledge’ that matters, but an education gained through extra-curricular activities you took part in. These also help in real-time situations at the workplace. These not only help you to adapt to a new set of people, but also teach you to be a good team player. I was very ‘active’ in a lot of areas: I was the Lead Coordinator for Udaan – the annual management festival at Jaipuria. I was part of the IT Club, as well as the Placement Cell. So, yes, I can safely say that Jaipuria was a great all-around learning experience.”

Gaurav is in regular touch with other alumni, and he visits his alma mater during campus placement time. “I have visited the campus for three recruitment seasons – during the last season, I recruited five students from Jaipuria. In my earlier stint with Aditya Birla Group, I visited the campus to recruit for Madura Fashion lifestyle. And I must say that students from Jaipuria have been doing really well in the Retail space. And, today, you can find a few generations of Jaipurians working in the retail business of Aditya Birla Group (ABG). The Lucknow Institute’s retail program is an excellent one and everyone we’ve taken is doing very well.” Today, after spending 5 years with ABG, Gaurav works as Deputy Manager HR for Pantaloons – the biggest fashion retailer in India.

Advising students on their PGDM studies, Gaurav says that, “Students should not enter a program with the intention of just getting any job. They need to be clear about their area of interest and industry in which they want to grow. They should make an informed choice about their career with the help of the learning facilities”. He further adds, “There is a method that students can use to discover which industry they would fit into: first, hone in to their areas of interest; then, with the help of the faculty, choose that industry for their summer internships. This way, you can get a real-time sense of that industry. This is exactly why the Jaipuria Institute put the Individual Development Plan, or IDP, in place in 2012.”

Speaking of his experience, Gaurav says that when he graduated in 2009, a recession was on and consequently there were hardly any companies that came to the campus for HR recruitment. “I was very firm about the fact that I wanted to get into HR and I think the persistence paid off for me. Today, it’s been around seven years since I began working in the HR field. I am doing pretty well and I feel pleased with my decision.”

So, what advice would Gaurav give students looking to join a company in the HR space? “They need to take their jobs seriously,” he begins. “Every organisation sets KRAs (Key Result Areas) and these are the minimum goals expected to be reached. So, they need to be really careful about achieving them. The first few years with a corporation are about learnings, and you need to have patience to accept the challenges in the best way. Adding to that ‘work-life balance’ is another important area.” He also advises students to take care of their health: “Don’t over-stretch. If in the early stages of your career you start to feel over-stressed, you will not be able to survive for long.”

Gaurav feels that when a company defines a timeline for a particular responsibility they are bound to have “evaluated all the possibilities of how fast a person can learn and grow in to that particular role.” The current generation, he says, “should be a little patient in terms of learning and growth. You can earn and you can switch jobs, but that hampers your learnings in the long run. The motto of the famous story of the hare and turtle should be kept in mind: don’t be slow but you need to be steady to win the race!”

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