My CCAP journey began on the lush green campus of NITIE under the guidance of visionary leader Dr. Venkateswarlu. He made us believe that we were not only a part of an academic course, but a life-transforming process. Although, his movement out of the programme came as a setback, CCAP carried on, overcoming all odds. This was possible only because of the flexibility of CCAP, which can adapt to any situation. As Sun Tzu, the great Chinese general says about adaptation in his seminal treatise, ‘The Art of War’: “If generals do not know how to adapt advantageously, even if they know the lay of land they cannot take advantage of it.” And this was a time which prominently displayed the vision of the program to adapt and grow.
It is difficult to believe how much water has flown under the bridge since then. Personally, too, I have undergone a dramatic transformation; from a callow intern learning the A,B,C of finance, I have become a research analyst advising mutual funds and insurances on quantitative methodologies and regulatory compliances. This transformation has not been without its challenges though.
The CCAP experience has been memorable. It always felt amazing returning to the NITIE campus after four days of work and chilling out. The thrill of time well-spent with friends, pooling in from our paltry stipend and having a blast over the weekend is unmatched. Then there were the ‘Roving Monks’—the CCAP group of bikers whose adventurous trips remain etched in the memories of the riders as well as the ones riding pillion.
As I write this, I realise that my experience over the past two years have taught me the most. No B-School will ever be able to match the value addition that CCAP brings to the table. The opportunity to apply what one learns in a classroom in real market environment sharpens the analytical skills of CCAPians. However, it’s a different ball game out there in the real world which can be very demanding with pressures of handling clients and tight deadlines draining out the last drop of energy. At times, situations became quite strenuous with simultaneous handling of office work along with academic requirements of assignments or examinations.
However, experience alone cannot propel a person to achieve greater heights in life. Chandragupta Maurya would not have achieved emperorship without Chanakya, neither would have Alexander be known as Alexander the Great without Aristotle. Mentorship, too, plays an important role in this. For this, I am grateful to my mentor Aman Singhania (Associate Director CRISIL Fund & Fixed Income research). I believe as a leader he is peerless and has an unmatched quality to nurture the next generation of leadership.
My books and my mentor have been my two sources for guidance, helping me make my way through CCAP. I also adopted a three-step approach; first, work hard (rest being a luxury which I could never afford); second, never let your efforts go unnoticed, make it a point to present your work (this may at times be confused with sycophancy, but the person who has put in the effort knows the truth and sooner or later others realise it); and finally, be honest and disciplined towards your job, irrelevant of situations and circumstances.
Books had a significant influence in my life. I would like to mention two books in addition to ‘The Art of War’ which I feel every management student as well as managers should read are ‘Mein Kampf’ and ‘Bhagwad Gita’. At times when markets are flooded with best sellers teaching sure-shot steps to success, reference to such ancient philosophies might seem to be strange. But believe me these books are gems in themselves. Mein Kampf displays how an individual can attain what he wants through sheer determination and foresight (although many of us may not agree with his goals), while Art of War and Bhagwad Gita describe a war situation and methods to deal with it. Professional life we deal with is a battlefield where we all are generals leading armies of our qualities and abilities, applying ideas of these two books in real life lead to better self-organisation and ability to take upon the world.
A good question to ask, where I found time to read these books! Well now that the course is over I think I may confess that it was college benches which were the time I got to fulfil my interests of reading and sketching. I can’t forget the enjoyment I got looking at expressions of my classmates when they looked at sketches I used to make in my college notebooks!
Now that my CCAP internship is over, new roles and responsibilities await me. Standing today on the shore where a part of my journey ends, I am hoisting sails and refuelling my ship to get back on sea to sail ahead in my new role. But I will always miss the great time I had during CCAP.
Research Analyst-Funds and Fixed Income Research
(Participant of CCAP – V: 2011-13)