How my UK education helped me become an Associate Vice President in India
Mihir Parekh is an Indian student who studied B.Eng (Hons) Engineering Business Management from University of Warwick and MSc in Management from London Business School. He currently heads Business Development at Nilkamal Ltd. in India.
In my current role, I am heading business development for Nilkamal Ltd, a publicly listed company focused on manufacturing plastic moulded products. The organisation has annual revenue of over GBP 200 million. Here I am studying various products outside the company’s current portfolio and subsequently creating business models to assess whether the company should diversify into the product area.
Since my family business is into manufacturing, engineering was a crucial foundation on which I wanted to build my knowledge base. Business management further added to my arsenal as subjects like finance, supply chain, and marketing was necessary to understand the accounts of a company, create a distribution channel, and create a successful brand.
I was always sure I wanted to pursue higher education outside India hence I studied the IB in high school. But the reasons I chose the UK were:
- Institutions in the UK focus on the subject area of the course right from day 1
- The UK attracts better diversity of students
- Both the universities I attended boast of stellar global reputation
- I had travelled to the UK during family holidays. So I was much more influenced by and acclimatised to the UK
Settling in the UK was effortless. It was harder to settle back into India after my time in the UK! Information is communicated very well in the UK so even things I had never done before (like setting up a bank account or leasing a house) were easy to complete. Ordering groceries, public transport, and other such small day-to-day occurrences are so convenient that I did not find it difficult to balance ‘life’ with studies. The variety of cities available to travel to inside and outside the UK within a few hours was the best aspect. Never a dull weekend! Birmingham, Leamington Spa, and London offered so many amazing gastronomic and nightlife options which made it harder to settle back into Mumbai after my education.
The most useful outcome of my UK education is the amazing lifelong friends I have made from more than 30 countries in the world. During the course, I was able to travel and learn about so many different cultures. After the course, I continue to have a pulse of global politics and economy through my friends. I am much more at ease travelling and doing business with international companies.
I just think that being exposed to the way of work and life in the UK and around the world through my friends has made me aim for much more than I thought was initially possible. Seeing how teams work in the UK has helped me introduce a few initiatives in my own company to be able to create the same level of cohesion, professionalism, and team satisfaction.
From my experience, I would like to give a tip to everyone who plans to study in the UK. While studying in the UK, keep in touch with Indian business news and attend speaker sessions organised by various India-focused clubs in the university. This will help gain knowledge about relevant issues; at the same time, you will bring a unique perspective since you can contrast and compare this to international viewpoints and best practices.