Sharmila Saha (GMP – ESB – 2011 Batch)

"Follow your dreams, and achievements will follow you." This is the motto that I live by, and it has led me all the way from being a Biotech student in Noida to becoming a Regional Business Line Manager at Crane Co., one of the top Industrial manufacturing companies in its field, globally, founded in 1855.

How did I make it all happen? Simple- set goals,  focus and work hard towards achieving them and keep repeating this process. This is what life is all about.

When I started my academic journey after schooling at DPS, the top echelons of international business had already started making marks on my mind. I obtained a B.Tech degree in Biotech from Amity University, but I always knew research and development wasn't my cup of tea. I always wanted to work in industry, so there began my professional journey with Accenture Service Pvt. Ltd in Bangalore and then moving on with Keane India, now NTT Data. In both the jobs I worked for overseas clients and multi-cultural teams, something which I still look forward to when looking at different companies. It was then that I realized that exploring new places and meeting new people was something I really liked. One of my close friends told me once "You are a girl with no roots", which was true to some extent. Having lived literally in all geographical directions of India, multiple towns and cities now it was time to spread my wings even further. I decided to hone my skills in the field of international business and management.

“To be a winner in the long-run, you must have a strong foundation. Learn as much as you can in the early years of your career and always have a strong support system behind you to enable you to learn, grow and flourish in life!” To ensure I had a strong foundation in my chosen path, I did a lot of online research, talked to friends and colleagues, and finally chose the PGCIM programme (now called GMP) at SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai with collaboration with ESB Business School, Reutlingen, Germany. Why this and not the French course, again the simple answer- Germany has a better economy than France, meaning more opportunities and even more important, I had studied German as a foreign language during my engineering studies for two years. Little did I know at that time that I might be actually staying in Germany later on. All I knew was this is a unique one-year programme, where students spent the initial few months at the Mumbai campus and the rest at renowned European universities, getting a strong theoretical base as well as first-hand exposure to the work culture in some of the world’s biggest companies in the most industrialized and developed countries. And I knew that this could be the next big move in my life, challenging yet rewarding, so I went for it. However, like all good things in life this wasn't an easy decision either, from leaving your job of 3 years to convincing your parents and peers to managing the finances for studies abroad, everything I had to do on my own. Therefore, I always say, "Come out of your comfort zones. Once you do that, you will be a much stronger and confident person in every walk of life. Keep doing it from time-to-time, it's good for you."

I also believe that a strong balance between career, family, friends and health is vital for a person’s overall well being. So I was pleasantly surprised on landing in Europe and finding that the academic curriculum was much more relaxed in the European leg of the course, enabling the students to ‘experience’ knowledge instead of just ‘memorizing’ it. 

In fact, it was very interesting for me to observe that the batch of students from France spent a lot of time on parties and trips, always full of fun, while in contrast the German students were always very studious, and quite serious in demeanour. Such cultural insights helped me in my future career, and are actually one more proof of the fact that all knowledge is not contained within textbooks or the course curriculum. Having a strong work ethic and being goal-oriented, does not mean one has no time for anything else. In fact it was during this time that I also happened to find my life partner, one of our batchmates, and we have been married for close to a year now. So I think I actually capitalized on the free time for a lifetime's return.

As part of my course, I gained even more invaluable experience during my Master Thesis at Philips Medical Systems, in Böblingen, Germany, another world leader in the field of medical systems. I also worked for a few months in their Product Marketing department as an Intern, before starting with a full-time job.

I was one of the lucky students to have found a job through the ESB Job Fair. It doesn't mean I didn't have to go through the ordeal of multiple job applications and rejection letters, I also had that share but fortunately it wasn't long until I was offered a job at Crane Co. in Lindau in the Lake Constance region (beautiful town with Germany's biggest lake and refreshing views of the Alps, bordering Austria, Switzerland and Germany) in December 2012. I still continue to work in the same company, spend 25-30% of my time travelling all over the world as Regional Business Line Manager for EMEA & Asia. 

 A lot has changed in the last 5 years and none of it would have been possible had I not taken THE STEP! So dream, take the path less chosen, take risks, love and respect others and keep sharing your experiences with others, as I am doing now because life is all about learning and sharing!

Sharmila Saha

ESB 2010



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