Students learn to manage the hardest thing of all-- their hearts

Students learn to manage the hardest thing of all-- their hearts
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First Published: Thu, Sep 11 2008. 10 04 PM IST

Striking a partnership: Sanjay and Falguni Nayar (top) were part of the same study group at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad; and Chetan and Anusha Bhagat (above) graduated from IIM-A in
Striking a partnership: Sanjay and Falguni Nayar (top) were part of the same study group at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad; and Chetan and Anusha Bhagat (above) graduated from IIM-A in
Updated: Thu, Sep 11 2008. 10 04 PM IST
New Delhi: Some business school graduates end up leaving with something more than just a master’s in business administration—a spouse.
The list of famous couples makes up the who’s who of business circles in India.
Sanjay and Falguni Nayar met at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, (IIM-A), entering the same batch in 1983. Falguni was one of nine girls in a batch of 150.
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Sanjay—who is now chief executive officer, India, and area head, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, for Citibank—and Falguni—now managing director of Kotak Mahindra Capital Co. Ltd—were part of the same study group of two girls and four boys.
“We were the ‘early birds’ in the group—while others burnt the midnight oil, we used to get up early and study in the morning when all was quiet,” Falguni had said in an interview with Lounge, Mint’s weekend supplement, in February.
Sanjay and Falguni were married in 1987, and have twins—a girl and a boy—who are now 17.
Striking a partnership: Sanjay and Falguni Nayar (top) were part of the same study group at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad; and Chetan and Anusha Bhagat (above) graduated from IIM-A in 1997. Photos by Ashesh Shah / Mint and Hemant Padalkar / Hindustan Times
Then, there are Chetan and Anusha Bhagat. Besides being the well-known, love-him-or-hate-him author of three books, Chetan is an investment banker with Deutsche Bank in Mumbai. Anusha works at UBS India as its chief operating officer. The couple graduated from IIM-A in 1997, and they are parents to twins, aged 4. (Do they put something in the water at IIM-A?)
Chetan, who is the country’s highest-selling author, says he keeps working in a corporate job just to “keep up” with his wife.
And then, there are the countless couples away from the spotlight. Such as Sunil and Surabhi Kakar. This is their story: The year was 1981. Surabhi was one of two girls in a class of 50 at the XLRI School of Business and Human Resources in Jamshedpur. She was a day scholar and among the 10% who came to business school as a fresher. Back then, most girls sought admission in the personnel management and industrial relations programme and not in business management.
Sunil had an engineering background with two years of work experience.
It was hard not to get awed by the vocal, articulate and bright Sunil. Always in the forefront in discussions and a wizard with numbers, he was the first to complete assignments and come up with accurate answers.
But, interestingly, what drew them close was the fact that both their names began with the letter ‘S’, which meant that as groups were formed for projects and assignments, they figured in the same team by virtue of their roll numbers being next to each other.
The rapport between the two was spontaneous, since “Sunil was vocal and I was not particularly dumb”, says Surabhi. This also meant that they would often end up arguing in group discussions. While most of this spilled over to the hours outside of college, and because much of her time was spent on campus catching up with pending projects, they got to know each other better.
Two incidents come to Surabhi’s mind as she recalls some of the fun moments spent on campus. An active walker as opposed to Sunil’s relative lethargy, she challenged him one day to “walk with her”.
It was a 6-hour walkathon across the city of Jamshedpur.
That left him exclaiming that he had walked enough to last him a lifetime. Then there was the time when their toughest professor conducted a quiz on finance—a subject that Sunil had complete mastery over. Imagine his shock when his girlfriend coolly walked away with the maximum credits. He sulked and refused to talk to her for two full days. That is till date the longest they haven’t spoken to each other.
They were engaged by the end of their second year at XLRI, and married soon after graduation in May 1983. It seemed the most natural thing to do. Both of them came from service backgrounds, had similar values and could effortlessly talk about anything under the sun. This was what cemented their relationship.
Their daughter, Stuti, was a late child, born to them a full decade after marriage, which is when Surabhi left her job at NIIT Ltd to devote herself to being a full-time mother.
In 1999, Sunil was diagnosed with cancer. He recovered, and the family came through stronger and closer. And Surabhi decided to work for the Cancer Society of India, towards a cause that nearly changed their lives.
Today, Sunil is chief financial officer of Max New York Life Insurance, while Surabhi continues to work with the Cancer Society in multiple roles in an honorary capacity.
Prem Kamath and Madhumita Goswami were in the 1998 class of the Mudra Institute of Communication (MICA) in Ahmedabad, which offers a postgraduate diploma programme in communications management. Prem is now senior vice-president of marketing and communication at Star India in Mumbai and Madhumita owns a home décor store.
On-campus romances were common at MICA, and living- in quite the norm. It is another story that many of these loves fizzled out after completion of the programme. Many dating couples moved away, some got married and separated and a few stayed married. Prem and Madhu are one such couple who found love on campus, took up jobs in different cities, realized they couldn’t do without each other, juggled their professional lives so they could be together and tied the knot two years after graduating.
A commerce graduate from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi, Madhu had worked with Kotak Mahindra for a year, while Prem had an engineering background before joining the business school.
They were part of a group of seven friends who “gravitated naturally towards each other”. MICA is located in a village called Shela—around 13km from the nearest satellite town of Bhopal.
The college being in the wilderness left them no choice but to hang out together and bridge the gap between studying and having fun.
There was no room for pretence. Prem was known to be pragmatic and down-to-earth. There was no formal dating in their relationship. In fact, it was Madhumita who took him out more often than he did her, and this was hardly an issue. Clearly, they were buddies first and a romantic couple later.
An easy camaraderie, which drew from an intuitive understanding of each other’s career aspirations, formed the basis of their relationship. And yet, while on campus, they did not realize they had come to depend so much on each other—emotionally and otherwise.
After graduation, Madhumita joined The Indian Express in Kolkata as a management trainee in the response division, and Prem took up work as an account executive with Enterprise Nexus in Mumbai.
That is when they realized their seemingly casual romantic association on campus had deeper roots, and the need to be together was more than pronounced. Barely three months into her job, Madhumita moved to Mumbai to join The Times of India. In another 18 months’, they were married.
Madhumita joined Leo Burnett, where Prem was already working, but soon decided to opt for something that was more creative and which allowed them to spend quality time together.
By then they had realized that unless they made time for each other, they would end up as successful professionals but strangers in the same house.
Madhumita set up Loose Ends, a quaint home décor and gift store in Bandra, five years ago, and is happy with the way it is shaping up. Prem remains her sounding board, almost an alter ego. Most of her decisions and creative ideas are run past him.
They were married in 2000, and their daughter, Gia, was born in 2006.
Some business school graduates end up leaving with something more than just a master’s in business administration—a spouse.
The list of famous couples makes up the who’s who of business circles in India.
Sanjay and Falguni Nayar met at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, (IIM-A), entering the same batch in 1983. Falguni was one of nine girls in a batch of 150.
Sanjay—who is now chief executive officer, India, and area head, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, for Citibank—and Falguni—now managing director of Kotak Mahindra Capital Co. Ltd—were part of the same study group of two girls and four boys.
“We were the ‘early birds’ in the group—while others burnt the midnight oil, we used to get up early and study in the morning when all was quiet,” Falguni had said in an interview with Lounge, Mint’s weekend supplement, in February.
Sanjay and Falguni were married in 1987, and have twins—a girl and a boy—who are now 17.
Then, there are Chetan and Anusha Bhagat. Besides being the well-known, love-him-or-hate-him author of three books, Chetan is an investment banker with Deutsche Bank in Mumbai. Anusha works at UBS India as its chief operating officer. The couple graduated from IIM-A in 1997, and they are parents to twins, aged 4. (Do they put something in the water at IIM-A?)
Chetan, who is the country’s highest-selling author, says he keeps working in a corporate job just to “keep up” with his wife.
And then, there are the countless couples away from the spotlight. Such as Sunil and Surabhi Kakar. This is their story: The year was 1981. Surabhi was one of two girls in a class of 50 at the XLRI School of Business and Human Resources in Jamshedpur. She was a day scholar and among the 10% who came to business school as a fresher. Back then, most girls sought admission in the personnel management and industrial relations programme and not in business management.
Sunil had an engineering background with two years of work experience.
It was hard not to get awed by the vocal, articulate and bright Sunil. Always in the forefront in discussions and a wizard with numbers, he was the first to complete assignments and come up with accurate answers.
But, interestingly, what drew them close was the fact that both their names began with the letter ‘S’, which meant that as groups were formed for projects and assignments, they figured in the same team by virtue of their roll numbers being next to each other.
The rapport between the two was spontaneous, since “Sunil was vocal and I was not particularly dumb”, says Surabhi. This also meant that they would often end up arguing in group discussions. While most of this spilled over to the hours outside of college, and because much of her time was spent on campus catching up with pending projects, they got to know each other better.
Two incidents come to Surabhi’s mind as she recalls some of the fun moments spent on campus. An active walker as opposed to Sunil’s relative lethargy, she challenged him one day to “walk with her”.
It was a 6-hour walkathon across the city of Jamshedpur.
That left him exclaiming that he had walked enough to last him a lifetime. Then there was the time when their toughest professor conducted a quiz on finance—a subject that Sunil had complete mastery over. Imagine his shock when his girlfriend coolly walked away with the maximum credits. He sulked and refused to talk to her for two full days. That is till date the longest they haven’t spoken to each other.
They were engaged by the end of their second year at XLRI, and married soon after graduation in May 1983. It seemed the most natural thing to do. Both of them came from service backgrounds, had similar values and could effortlessly talk about anything under the sun. This was what cemented their relationship.
Their daughter, Stuti, was a late child, born to them a full decade after marriage, which is when Surabhi left her job at NIIT Ltd to devote herself to being a full-time mother.
In 1999, Sunil was diagnosed with cancer. He recovered, and the family came through stronger and closer. And Surabhi decided to work for the Cancer Society of India, towards a cause that nearly changed their lives.
Today, Sunil is chief financial officer of Max New York Life Insurance, while Surabhi continues to work with the Cancer Society in multiple roles in an honorary capacity.
Prem Kamath and Madhumita Goswami were in the 1998 class of the Mudra Institute of Communication (MICA) in Ahmedabad, which offers a postgraduate diploma programme in communications management. Prem is now senior vice-president of marketing and communication at Star India in Mumbai and Madhumita owns a home décor store.
On-campus romances were common at MICA, and living- in quite the norm. It is another story that many of these loves fizzled out after completion of the programme. Many dating couples moved away, some got married and separated and a few stayed married. Prem and Madhu are one such couple who found love on campus, took up jobs in different cities, realized they couldn’t do without each other, juggled their professional lives so they could be together and tied the knot two years after graduating.
A commerce graduate from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi, Madhu had worked with Kotak Mahindra for a year, while Prem had an engineering background before joining the business school.
They were part of a group of seven friends who “gravitated naturally towards each other”. MICA is located in a village called Shela—around 13km from the nearest satellite town of Bhopal.
The college being in the wilderness left them no choice but to hang out together and bridge the gap between studying and having fun.
There was no room for pretence. Prem was known to be pragmatic and down-to-earth. There was no formal dating in their relationship. In fact, it was Madhumita who took him out more often than he did her, and this was hardly an issue. Clearly, they were buddies first and a romantic couple later.
An easy camaraderie, which drew from an intuitive understanding of each other’s career aspirations, formed the basis of their relationship. And yet, while on campus, they did not realize they had come to depend so much on each other—emotionally and otherwise.
After graduation, Madhumita joined The Indian Express in Kolkata as a management trainee in the response division, and Prem took up work as an account executive with Enterprise Nexus in Mumbai.
That is when they realized their seemingly casual romantic association on campus had deeper roots, and the need to be together was more than pronounced. Barely three months into her job, Madhumita moved to Mumbai to join The Times of India. In another 18 months’, they were married.
Madhumita joined Leo Burnett, where Prem was already working, but soon decided to opt for something that was more creative and which allowed them to spend quality time together.
By then they had realized that unless they made time for each other, they would end up as successful professionals but strangers in the same house.
Madhumita set up Loose Ends, a quaint home décor and gift store in Bandra, five years ago, and is happy with the way it is shaping up. Prem remains her sounding board, almost an alter ego. Most of her decisions and creative ideas are run past him.
They were married in 2000, and their daughter, Gia, was born in 2006.
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First Published: Thu, Sep 11 2008. 10 04 PM IST