My stint in MBA

This was a marketing research firm founded by three IIM Ahmedabad alumni. The MBA stood for Marketing and Business Associates. I joined them in Bangalore, and we had an office in Benson Town, which I usually reached by crossing the railway tracks from Coles Park.

It was a very comfortable workplace. Being mostly MBA-populated, it was easy to understand the jargon. It was also a very open workplace, with ideas exchanged freely, and the language used was informal-everyone was on first name basis. My three bosses were Matthew Paul, CK (Sharma), and Shyam (Sundar) later in Mumbai. I also met Karopadi (Karo) who was an alum of IIM Calcutta, and Muthu, who was from XLRI.

Our work comprised executing marketing research projects. One of the first assignments had me going to Coonoor to survey tea estates and Potato farmers for a client who manufactured plant nutrient sprays. I had to estimate demand for it. An excellent chance to see some of the finest parts of the Nilagiri mountains. I took buses, mostly (I was on a budget), so I could experience life like a local, and also took a train ride for fun. The tea estate guys were mostly welcoming, and had a chat regarding what I wanted without much fuss.

Another assignment for a client sent me off on a meeting with Power plant managers, and those from fertilizer and chemical industries. I went as far as Tuticorin (SPIC had a factory there), and tried to assess interest in some pollution control equipment. The old IPCL plant in Baroda was also one that I visited.

In other sectors, we did projects for ready-made chapatis, and fabric softeners, and for soaps with additives like Tulsi and coconut oil (for WIPRO). HDFC was also a client for one of their husing finance schemes (this was later, when I moved to Bombay with their Worli office, behind Glaxo). We also did a project for Trikaya, where my client's name was Armaity Cabinetmaker-no less than Almighty for us!

Very interesting work, and great learning, till the call for a Ph.D. came and put a stop to it- I still use the war stories!!

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