My Journey

Gautam Ghate

(Alumnus MDBA 1987-89)

Trainer and Consultant, Delta Consultant

13+ Years in Software Development & Training

I arrived at IMDR in June of 1987, shortly after graduating in Physics from S. P. College in Pune just like so many young people: a mixed bag of anticipation,anxiety,wonder,excitement, curiosity, nervousness and a zillion other feelings. I had heard that IMDR was different from other B-schools of the time and the fact that it was autonomous was actually very compelling for me. My first day, with its inaugural address by then Director Dr. Shejawalkarand our first lecture by Dr. Bhupatkar convinced me that what I had heard was indeed true!

The next two years were a roller-coaster ride of classes, picnics, various parties and a whole lot of fun! Although our class timings were scheduled between 12 noon and 5.30 pm, I do not recollect a single day when we were not in the “Insti” (as we fondly called it) before 9 o’clock in the morning and were done for the day only at 9 in the night (that, too, because the security guard would herd us out!). Along the way, I made a lot of friends, and in a class of over eighty of us, there was no dearth of them. We were, by and large a very fun-loving bunch and shared a great chemistry with our senior batch. In my second semester, I ran a weekly general knowledge quiz competition along with a senior class friend. The two of us pitched in ten rupees each from our pocket money to fund the prizes because this was a completely voluntary activity. We even cajoled the Director to allow both our classes to play Holi on the campus (complete with the customary bhaang and the revelry that follows when it goes to the head!)

I thoroughly enjoyed the classes because all our teachers encouraged us to ask questions (and we did not hesitate to throw a barrage of them at the faculty!). My favourite subject was Macro Economics because it drew me to the world of business in a very fascinating way. My fondest memory of my time at IMDR was of the planning of our annual Seminar; an event that marked the high point of the academic year.

Was part of the theme planning committee along with a couple of very close friends. We had chosen a theme which the Director, Dr. Bhupatkar was not convinced about. We had a meeting with Sir in his office to debate that. It began at 4.30 pm one evening and arguments got so heated and intense, that it ended in the open air grounds of Fergusson college at 4.30 am the next morning – a full twelve hours! In between, we had three rounds of snacks and endless cups of chai at various venues including Café Goodluck, Roopali restaurant and even an anda-bhurji thela at Deccan Gymkhana! What stood out as most striking for me from this incident was the sheer integrity and conviction that Sir brought to the discussion and, at the same time, the respect that he accorded to us. In the end, we won the argument, but Sir won our hearts.

After graduating from IMDR in Marketing, in April 1989, I chose to strike out on my own, instead of taking up a job. Without a family background in business, it was quite a struggle to convince my parents. My first venture with a classmate, an auto mobile product, was a failure within a year of development. I went on to start an electronic publishing business followed by web site development along with a business partner. We ran this for ten years before closing it down as the industry dynamics had changed dramatically. One thing that I honed in these ventures, were my skills in software development. By 1995, I had also started assisting Dr. Bhupatkar part-time, as an external junior faculty member.

I joined another start up in the field of e-learning in early 2001 and grew the operation from zero to 125 persons in less than a year. I quit the company by mid-2003 after the flagship product was launched. This point marked my transition to academics as I formally joined IMDR as a full-time faculty member in May 2003 and was associated with it till my last visiting faculty position in 2014. The faculty development initiatives at IMDR gave me a unique insight into the nuances of the teaching-learning process. To me,they represented the distilled wisdom of so many learned persons who created this unique body of knowledge. I have benefited enormously from them in my subsequent career as an independent technology training professional for numerous IT corporations. The breakneck pace of the world of information technology, along with its immense promise and widespread impact requires members of my tribe to be constantly on our toes and mentally agile. That means I have to read a lot about technology and business and also think critically about its impact.

I had never imagined of becoming a teacher; but when I look back, I wonder why I never saw the writing on the wall. Both my parents were school teachers and at least a half a dozen of my uncles, aunts and relatives have been teachers! Although I had never made a plan for my life, I was sure about one thing: that I always wanted to follow my heart and never submit to someone else’s authority. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been both a student and a faculty member here. The values of liberal thinking, civil discourse and personal and professional integrity are the most cherished gifts that I received from the Institute. Throughout this long and enjoyable journey, IMDR has been a bedrock of support for me. It is, for me, no less than a home. The warmth and affection of all my colleagues, staff and the mamas, keeps me firmly anchored to the Institute. Even though I no longer actively teach here, IMDR is always close to my heart and I never miss an opportunity to pay a visit.

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