In Vikram’s own words.
Being in the profession I am in, I love telling stories however I shall try and keep this crisp but do excuse me if it otherwise ends up being a lengthy bedtime story :)
Someone who was born and brought up in Pune, even though I am currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, my heart still resides in Pune. After completing my B.Com. I was like any other student at that time wanting to travel abroad for my MBA and luck favored me as I had got selected in 4 Australian Universities. However, due to an unfortunate incident on my family front I had to continue to reside in Pune at the same time pursue my post-graduation. By the time I arrived at this decision, the admissions for almost all colleges were closed barring Sri Balaji Society. With no expectation whatsoever I completed the written test and was called for my interview with Bala Sir. Having had some past experience in Marketing I always wanted to specialize in Marketing but the moment Bala Sir interviewed me, he decided I was more suited for Human Resources (HR) field and here I am with almost 14 years in the HR field.
Being the outgoing, extrovert and engaging personality I possessed, I was unanimously selected as the Class Representative (CR) of the HR class. However, as happily I took this so called powerful position then, I wasn't aware of the rough path ahead of me as the CR. Still remember the initial sessions by Dilip Bam Sir in Ram Society hall. We have had some of the best memories from our Sri Balaji Society days and one page will fall short to narrate them. We had to wear ties and learn the corporate clap, as the CR I used to end up taking the roll call alongside attending lectures (some very interesting ones) as well as undergo exams from 9 pm - 12 am after a full day at college starting 8.30 am !!! This was the schedule back in the days. As weekend as a word didn't appear in our dictionary, we used to make the most of the breaks given in between. We learnt tremendous amount of time management skills.
Everyone who goes up does come down, I learnt this hard lesson in life in Sri Balaji Society (something which I am infamously famous for) wherein I was instrumental in mass bunking with 6 of my classmates including the lady CR of the class and going to my uncle's farmhouse for a day's trip on our bikes. With the kind of strong network Bala Sir possessed, by the time we arrived at college in the evening myself and my co-CR were rusticated with immediate effect. This brought me down to ground zero and I took a while to come back to normal self. Then one fine evening, Bala Sir took me to a restaurant in Vishrantwadi and explained the reasoning behind it and also pepped me up to come back to normalcy and showcase my caliber to one and all. Post which life turned and there was no looking back, I was heading the Seminar Committee as a Senior and was part of the Students Council. While I must admit I wasn't the best in academics, it was my attitude and overall performance which helped me be one of the first ones to be placed in Tata Technologies.
My corporate journey started as a Recruiter in Tata Technologies and it was one of the most pleasurable learning experiences to start with. Having been in Tata Technologies for a year and a half, I was snapped over by my ex-colleague into HSBC Global Technology Centre where I started as a Recruiter. After the first few years, slogging it out as Recruiter, I was one of the first ones identified to become the HR Business Partner. I grew further in this role over the years and thoroughly enjoyed working closely with business stakeholders eventually leading a team of HR Business Partners reporting into me. However, there was always this urge to do something more challenging and get out of the comfort zone.
After close to 7 years with HSBC GLT Pune, there was an opportunity to relocate to KL, Malaysia towards setting up HSBC's new IT delivery centre in KL. I went through the internal interview rounds and was fortunate enough to be selected for this role and given this opportunity. I relocated to KL around end of 2010 to Head the Recruitment function and the initial one year in a new country was definitely not a bed of roses as there were challenges and obstacles all along the same. But as cliché as it may sound "Problems were Opportunities" and for someone having gone through the grind in Sri Balaji Society this was relatively simpler :) After being instrumental in building HSBC's Global Technology Center in KL from 30 to almost 500 people as well as playing the part of acting Head of HR I felt there was a need to explore some other industry as an HR professional.
Fortunately, I was selected and recruited by AirAsia Malaysia as the Head of Performance and Talent Management and was the first foreign national joining their HR team. I had my share of moments of working closely with someone like Tony Fernandes as well as my 2 minute dream moment of meeting and interacting with Mr. Ratan Tata. Having worked there for a couple of years, I realized that I was made for IT / Banking industry and wanted to get back to the same. That’s how I ended up joining BAE Systems Applied Intelligence in early 2014 as the HR Business Partner for SEA. The last 3 years have been an interesting and challenging ride with BAE Systems, however with close to 6 years and more KL has started to feel like home which to be honest was never the initial plan. Therefore at times it is just good to go with the flow!
Even after 14 years in the industry and at a senior position, corporate life has its own set of challenges and till today I follow some of the learning from Bala Sir to come out of difficult situations. I have been to the new Sri Balaji Society campus and its awesome compared to what we went through as students in the old campus, but retrospectively we were a part of Bala Sir's dream and happy to see it come true in front of our own eyes. We are still close friends with some of our batch mates and the co-curricular events at Sri Balaji Society played a very critical role in grooming us along with excelling ourselves academically. Everything in Sri Balaji Society from studies, to events to seminars to corporate brochure presentations and not to forget the discipline of corporate clap itself (this one is a secret one will know of once one enters the Institute J) had embedded such a distinct memory in our mind which will be impossible to forget for the rest of our lives. Therefore, I would urge all the students to live this short span of time in life at Sri Balaji Society to the fullest as these moments will never come back once you graduate into the corporate sector.
On a personal front, I am blessed with a cute little baby boy who is around 6 months old right now and I am proud and lucky to have a great and caring partner in my wife !!! We are currently residing in KL, Malaysia so anyone coming to KL and wishing to explore some of the local delicacies over a nice chat is welcome to connect with me whilst I am here.
Looking back from where I started at Sri Balaji Society, I never knew I will come this far however all this has been purely due to hard work, dedication and determination along with the right attitude. Success is not based on your job title, how much bank balance you possess or how many materialistic things you can flash. It is a "state of mind" wherein you are only competing with yourself to enhance your capabilities and competencies regularly. Try and engage with people around you on a more personal level than only whatsapp, respect Seniors (they have gone through the grind) and your Professors / Teachers always, have fun but still be disciplined, dedicated and determined when it comes to career goals !
I have and always will owe my success to Bala Sir, late Dilip Bam Sir and my Seniors as well as the amazing batchmates during my interesting and extremely enriching time spent at Sri Balaji Society between 2001 - 2003!
Wishing you all the very best and stay connected!