Corporate to Campus: completing the circle thanks to Mentorship

My job requires me to meet many youngsters, mostly in the capacity of a recruiter. I also interact with them during guest lectures at colleges, internship assignments etc. One of the disturbing trends I was noticing pointed to a complete lack of direction about career in particular and life in general.

Somewhere along the way I read about the disturbingly low levels of employability among the fresh graduates in our country. While I knew it would not be anything worth writing about, I was startled to know that the figure was below 10 % !! “What’s happening to the millions of them” was the question that ran through my mind.
The typical Indian reaction to this problem is to blame a whole lot of people: the college curriculum is outdated, government is not doing enough to generate employment, industry is not participating in skill-building, society continues with its obsession with degrees and is not encouraging the acquisition of skills….and so on.

And then, one fine day, the hard question hit home: what am “I” doing about it ?

As they say, once you have the humility to face the question, the answers start to appear !

I happened to meet Namrata during a chance encounter at an office event. She asked me what was I doing about the low levels of employability in my community ?? I had nowhere to hide. I mumbled something on the lines of ‘I will think about it’ and took the nearest exit.
Such encounters continued for the next 6 odd months but I didn’t do anything substantial to amend the situation. One day Namrata told me about the work being done by Sanjay Arora towards improving the employability scenario. Soon enough I connected with Sanjay, and thus started my journey of mentorship !

Many things changed after the meeting with Sanjay. Somewhere it felt the right thing to do. Sanjay invited me to for a mentoring session at Chitkara University for their SCM MBA batch. Sanjay and Shivin helped me finalise the topic for my session and also gave me valuable feedback as I put the content together.

Finally the day arrived when I was to share ‘my mistakes’ with my mentees and advise them to make fresh ones :) As I shared my experiences, I relived many moments of my own life. I reached out once again, after a long time, to the small-town boy who had long since corporatised ! I believe the mentees were able to connect with me precisely because of an identification with my follies. If I could make it, so could they. This was the essence of my talk…and rom what I learnt later, the message did get across.

Back at Hyderabad, life could not continue as before. It was not long before that I decided to take the full-time plunge into the world of mentoring. It seemed to offer an uncharted path. There was a lot I could offer to the field courtesy of my upbringing, education, experience and, most importantly, a willingness to unlearn and start afresh. Corporate world had its charms but mentorship represented a great unknown…and that was the biggest charm for me. And of course, I had Sanjay’s example as an inspiration. Add to this Namrata’s conviction in the idea and the decision to take the ‘bend in the road’ was easily made.

As I make this transition from Corporate to Campus, I hope I will ENABLE many promising youngsters to make their transition from campus to corporate !

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