Indian Institute of Management, Indore
Q1. Please share your educational and professional journey?
I did my schooling till Xth from a small town in eastern UP, named Obra, in a school named Sacred Heart Covent School, after which I moved to Delhi. There I studied in the Delhi Public School, R.K. Puram till XIIth in 1997. The same year I cleared both the IIT-JEE and REE (for University of Roorkee in those days) exams and decided to join the University of Roorkee in the Metallurgy branch. I completed my B. Tech in 2001, by the time which University of Roorkee became IIT Roorkee. Though I landed up with a job with Infosys, I preferred to take up my MBA at Fore School of Management, which I completed in 2004. Finally, in 2010, I joined IIM Lucknow for my PhD degree, which I completed in 2014.
Q2. What did attract you towards teaching instead of job?
I would call myself, in the words of my mentor Prof Jagdish Sheth, an accidental scholar. I worked as a Management Consultant at Holtec and then as a Research Consultant at Kantar, post my MBA. However, after a while, those jobs, though highly revered after a business education, were not so fulfilling for me. There were constraints on creativity, processes, and most importantly, avenues for self-development. Needless to say, I learnt a lot at these places, but then started feeling saturated after a while. After this, I decided to go for a venture of my own for one year (2006-2007), which did not work. This where my interface with academia happened. This was mid-2007 and I started teaching at a regional center of ICFAI University, largely as a filler before I could chalk my future path. However, I immediately fell in love with the profession. I then switched to a bigger business school, School of Management Sciences, to see if this is the profession for me. After 3 years of combined teaching at these two schools, I realized this is what I am made for and hence, went for my PhD at IIM Lucknow in 2010. Since 2014, when I finished my PhD, I am associated with IIM Indore, a place I really love and have done reasonably well at.
Q3. You had both academic and business experience in career. Which one do you like most and why?
I did well in both my careers. I was growing well in the corporate environment as well as during my academic stint. In a span of 6 years with IIM Indore, I am now a Professor, and hence, would deem this part of my career as one where I got the most growth. I think the reason for it has been my natural sync with teaching and research that academic world offers. Hence, its critical that one does something that one feels passionate about and not because there is no other option.
Q4. How do you motivate yourself at every morning?
Contrary to the extant belief that academic like might be boring, it is completely the opposite. Teaching a bunch of young bright minds is not an easy thing and hence, every class is challenge. During the teaching season, we have to really work on the deliverables for each class and how to keep the students engaged. During the off-season, we have work on improving the course content, delivery mechanisms, and now with covid-19 issue, learning how to deliver classes online with the same effectiveness.
Then, research is something which keeps me going. In academia, research is something which not only gives prominence and recognition to the researcher, but is also a source of constant inspiration as one goes on a journey of knowledge creation. Ultimately, articles written by an academician is his/her real intellectual contribution to the world for which people remember him/her long after he/she is gone, besides readying/training talented students for the industry.
Q5. You did Engineering from IIT Roorkee, then why did you opt IIM Lucknow for higher studies?
As I mentioned earlier, it was tryst with academia, almost accidentally, that prompted me to go for PhD and make a career in academia. And that is what landed me up at IIM Lucknow in 2010. I did my PhD in the marketing area there, with a focus on how consumers’ perception of product design shapes their consumption experiences and image the manufacturer brand.
Q6. Which one thing do you want to change in yourself and why?
I think sometimes I tend to overthink about things which probably do not matter that much. Some of these issues are an outcome of discussions which are also unnecessary. I believe I need to insulate myself not only from negative thoughts but also work on dealing with such thoughts more efficiently, so as to shrug them off quicker. I am working on it. I think such thoughts keep you hooked onto things which serve as barriers to your growth and hence, the ability to deal with such thoughts effectively is critical.
Q7. Please suggest some management tips to handle this corona effect in this Post Covid time for small businessman?
I am no expert in how the covid-19 pandemic will shape out and what its repercussions will be, once it is no more a threat. There is too much information/noise out there with webinars on how to handle this pandemic. My simple advice is “Please be patient, things will come back. I strongly believe this is just test of our mettle”. I would also suggest businesspeople to be sympathetic towards their employees, pay them fully and keep them employed. Such actions will create unwavering loyalty from the very people, something which will be very useful once covid-19 goes away.
You can get more about Abhishek at below platforms:
IIM Indore website: https://www.iimidr.ac.in/faculty/full-time-faculty/profile/?id=49