I remember sitting in my room and trying to pretend to be working on JEE problems back in 2004, when my dad came in with the newspaper. He read out an excerpt from an article that read something like “McKinsey recruits IIT grads” and my dad said if I worked hard enough, I could have a chance to work in McKinsey. According to him, I would arrive in life if I could land a job there. This 2 minute conversation with him has left a much more deep imprint in my head than I had imagined. I have tried not just once but twice to apply for a job at McKinsey and failed. Do I want to be a consultant? I don’t mind. Do I want to work with McKinsey? I don’t mind. Do I want to fulfil my dad’s dream? Hell yes. Is this what parents do? Make you chase their dreams? Is there a bad intention behind this dream? Absolutely not. But is this my dream? Maybe not. But I have been chasing it like it’s mine.
In some sense, I think chasing his dream has taken me places including coming to Barcelona. I did not manage to study at IIT, but I did pretty well at Ramaiah. I really enjoyed myself there and made some very good friends who are still a very significant part of my life. I got a great job at Toyota that gave me a great opportunity to learn about the manufacturing industry and gave me a sense of working with a multinational company. I could have stuck around and pulled myself through all the negativity I started experiencing towards the end of my time there but I decided to chase a magic doe. I frantically applied for jobs and one of them was to McKinsey Western Europe. I didn’t hear a positive response and I presumed it is because of the fact that I don’t have an MBA.
I was determined to get that stamp as well and hence I decided to spend 75K Euros on an education at one of the top schools in the world because it would automatically put me on a pedestal to get a job at McKinsey. Despite being encouraged by a few people from McKinsey to apply to their operations practice, I was not invited to interview for a summer internship with them. This reminds me of the “Alchemist” – when you desire something so badly, the universe conspires with you so you can have it. This situation is just bang opposite of this. When you want something not so badly, the universe couldn’t be bothered to conspire with you.
I’ve learnt it the hard way, not once but twice. It’s time to let go. I know I’m no scandinavian or English or have a 780 on the GMAT, I’m just plain vanilla (Indian). You’ve been not so kind. Obviously, I have greater deeds to accomplish and bigger dreams to chase. Goodbye McKinsey.
A professional career is not merely about finding a highly sought after employer to give you a job. It’s about finding love. When I fell in love with Karthik, it was not because he was the best in the market (maybe he was) but it was because he was the best for me. Similarly, a professional career is about finding a cause that you would like to give your all to. If there is no one or nothing in the world that could deter your passion from automotive and that you decide you want to build the best car that’s ever been built, that’s what you must be doing. So the question is – What is that one dream I’d like to pursue where MY opportunity cost is close to zero?