Career Transformation Journey
I started my career as a trainee technician in Air India after completing my B.Sc. In Industrial Science & AME course from Thakur Institute of Aviation Technology (TIAT).
Entry into aircraft maintenance is tough hundreds of students passing out of the institute every year, but the industry is not growing at the same rate, and not everyone gets a job. In some cases, students don't even get an opportunity to do an internship. I did not get a stipend; instead, I had to pay Rs. 30,000 for every six months of the training in the Air India Facility & I trained there for a year.
I remember competing with several interns just to get an opportunity to look at what the engineer was doing and learn from him. It was a terrific experience working in the heat & sometimes inside confined spaces such as the fuel tank, every time with zero tolerance for error. I learned about the processes used in Aircraft Maintenance &built strong working relations, which helped me outdo the competition, and soon, I became one of the preferred trainees among the mechanics.
Early in my career, I realized that I should not miss out on any opportunity to learn when I was in Air India. After finishing my Avionics related work, I searched for new avenues to gain more exposure. I worked in the engine department, cabin department, and wherever I could get to learn something new.
One sad day, I had a wrist injury (a ligament tear) while driving, and then I could not use the tools like before. I always think long-term; because of this event, I realized that I would be of no use to the industry if something like this happens later. I would simply be thrown out.
I started applying for positions in the maintenance planning & engineering department at other airlines. I was selected in Jet Airways as a trainee in technical services - power-plant department on a No Pay No Fee basis.
This was a massive change for me, I came from the field, and now I was in an office environment. I was lucky to have highly experienced colleagues who trained me, solved my queries & get me up to speed. Now, I was not working on aircraft but learning to prepare the engineering orders used by engineers to do the maintenance. Apart from that, I got an opportunity to assist technical services engineers in presenting our findings & analysis to aircraft engine OEM representatives & participate in modification meetings, and understanding how this side of the world works.
During my tenure at Jet Airways, I got an opportunity to work in CAV Aero Services, a Mumbai-based aviation consulting company, and then there was no looking back. I managed and completed several due diligence projects with prominent International Airlines.
Projects could be categorized into three buckets: 1. Managing the transition of aircraft from one airline to another, also known as redelivery 2. Managing the Maintenance check of aircraft in an MRO 3. Managing the Sale, Purchase & Repossession due diligence projects.
I traveled to several countries in North America, Europe, Asia, Middle East, where I managed projects for various clients. I was again lucky to have superb bosses who groomed me and deployed me on challenging projects. After working for four years, I was transferred to CAS Management as the Asst. Manager. Now, I managed multiple projects at a time and managed the large size of teams located in different locations across the globe and working towards a common goal.
I learned by experimenting, observing others, and researching & always felt a need for formal managerial education; that is when I decided to take a deep dive into the ocean of management science. I worked hard and got into the oldest B-school in India and arguably the finest B school in the continent XLRI Jamshedpur. In the PGDM -General Management program at XLRI, the journey to XLRI and until the end of the program was indeed a transformational journey. I learned the tools and frameworks that a manager must have and apart from that being from the batch of 2020-21 (aka The COVID Batch) has given us a much more significant advantage., I have learned how to work under stress, how to tolerate ambiguity, how to handle anxiety, how to negotiate, how to stay anti-fragile & I got to know how important it is to be emotionally intelligent when there is a crisis, how to detect crisis & how important it is to inspire people when they are low. I am proud to have learned from the best minds & along with the best peer group that I had.
I'll bring along these mental models, and in my humble opinion, these are the skill sets required for any job, and anyone who possesses these skill sets would be making a difference in this business world.