For Manoj Sethi, alumni meets are all about going back to his circle of absolute comfort, where the shadow of growing older falls away from his countenance, and he laughs like he used to in the good old days at SCMS-Cochin. At the recent alumni meet of the Delhi Chapter of SCMS-Cochin, Manoj was all joviality, reliving the days of the 5th Batch (1996-98) at SCMS-Cochin, and sharing invaluable knowledge with other alumni about his sector.
“A lot has changed since we passed out of SCMS-Cochin,” Manoj elaborated, while emphasising the absolute importance of such alumni meets. “When I joined the Banking sector in 1998, the concept of Services in the private banking industry – which began in 1994 – was just about taking root. The private insurance industry did not exist. So in ‘98, the opportunities for a B-school grad were far fewer, as compared to the current times.The other interesting bit is the amazing appetite for entrepreneurship in the current generation. It is not necessarily because after 10 or 15 years of experience you are fed up of working for somebody else; it is also because there is so much to ideate about. Infact, the uncertain times have made business managers more confident about entrepreneurship, with less risk aversion.”
Having worked with HDFC for over nine years, Manoj has literally seen the sector grow, while being a part of it. As a part of the Senior Management at ICICI Lombard, Manoj currently works in the niche space of providing mass solutions for the BPL (Below Poverty Line) segment. While the work is very close to his heart, he feels that the real challenge lies in dealing with various departments of the Government of India.
“As the largest corporate in the general insurance sector, we need to deal with all government departments. For instance, we have mass health insurance schemes that cover people en masse. I have a team of 8-10 people travelling across the country working with various ministries, trying to evolve products which interest them. Dealing with the Government can get very difficult at times. You have to deliver things on time, which is quite a challenge in this space, since the decision-making process is often slow, leading to a longer turn-around period. We continuously need to wrack our brains over evolving good products with new to-do strategies.”
A regular at the alumni dos, Manoj explains that alumni meets are the best place to get a feel of how far SCMS-Cochin has come.
“I was part of one of the first few batches of SCMS-Cochin. Interestingly, our batch even then had representation from almost all parts of India. Back then, SCMS-Cochin was a budding institute, with just the Kerala campus; there are so many new campuses now. I remember how there was always regular faculty – and an exceptionally good one at that – right from the nascent stage, and the infrastructure of SCMS-Cochin was unparalleled even during those days. In those days, Marketing was a compulsory part of the curriculum, with the option of combining it with either Finance or HR. Yet, SCMS-Cochin had a fantastic set of visiting and guest faculty members even in those days.”
Manoj believes that the current status of SCMS-Cochin as one of the foremost B-schools of India springs from its sound fundamentals. These alumni meets help him get a sense of how well SCMS-Cochin has grown, instilling a deep sense of satisfaction about being a part of – and a reason for – is continuing growth story.
Alumnus, 5th Batch (1996-98)