Interview with Jyothish Jayan (CEC-2011, GLIM Chennai, Université de Bordeaux France)

Jyothish Jayan, popularly known as JJ amongst his friends and social media, belongs to the 2011 batch of CEC. After his graduation, he worked at CTS for over two years and then did the Post Graduate Program in Management from Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, majoring in Marketing, Finance, and Strategy. Later, he flew to France to study Master of Business Administration at  Université de Bordeaux. Today, he speaks about his experience at all these spheres, to CEC Blog.

Jyothish Jayan

Jyothish Jayan (CEC 2011)

Could you tell us a few things about yourself?

I was born and brought up in a village in Ernakulum district. I completed my schooling from a rural neighborhood CBSE school starting from kindergarten days to twelfth standard. After my engineering from CEC, I worked as a Quality Assurance Analyst in Cognizant for 2 year and 6 months. Then I joined Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai for the flagship one year PGPM course. I was lucky to be selected from GL to do a double MBA from University of Bordeaux, France. Now I’m back in India and joined my previous company as a Business Development Executive.

Joining CEC

 I was quite a studious guy in school. I got admission in CEC from the government merit list through Kerala Entrance. I intended to join only government colleges with merit seats. So I selected Electronics and Communication course from CEC as I had heard good reviews about CEC from seniors. Looking back now I feel that was a very good decision.

College life seems to have been great for you. Experiences?

 My life in CEC days are filled with lots and lots of memories and happenings. The good memories have been my source of confidence after I passed out, whereas the sad happenings have helped me being a more matured thought led, stronger, and tougher person than before. I feel grateful to my friends, batch mates, seniors, juniors and our faculty for this. Now I realize, that life is more about your passion, confidence and practical skills more than just academic excellence. The funniest happenings in our college are still the source of non-stop laughter for every one of us in our frequent get-together sessions.

 You joined Cognizant after you passed out. How did you find your first job?

It has been a very good experience for me working with Cognizant. While many people still think IT jobs are boring as well as hectic, I have a very different opinion. It carved me more professional from that college boy, got groomed to take up higher responsibilities and had the best exposure internationally working in several projects. After my MBA, I readily accepted the placement offer of a Pre sales- Business Development profile from my previous company.

Why did you then decide to go for higher studies in Management?

 To do an MBA was a desire always in the back of my mind. Once I completed two years in Cognizant, I thought that was the right time to go for it. To move to the higher level strategic and management roles, it was better for me to join a B-school. It would save you at least five years of your career and ROI almost 4 times your previous salary. And I also had a feeling like cracking the MBA entrance exams was a manageable task for me.

GLIM Chennai

GLIM Chennai

Why did you chose Great Lakes- one year MBA

 While choosing CEC was moving with the flow, choosing Great Lakes was against the flow. The decision to join a growing MBA brand is a calculated risk. You can see Great Lakes already among the top 10 one-year B-schools in India. It’s no wonder if you see GL in the level of IIMA- ISB in a matter of five years or so.  The course curriculum is comparable to any other two year MBA/PGDM courses. Great Lakes is known to groom students to think global but apply it local to suite the Indian market. Most of the faculty being international and guest faculties from around the globe, I was looking forward to get valuable insights from professors of different institutes like the Stanford, Kellogg, INSEAD, Bordeaux, Carnegie Mellon, ISB, IIM A-B-C-L-K, XIMR etc. The well-known permanent faculty, resort like infrastructure and improving placements every year along with the one year factor made my decision to join GL.

How did you secure admission in Great Lakes?

 I first thought of writing GMAT and moving out of India for MBA. With that in mind, I wrote CAT, XAT, etc. as pretests for GMAT. Even with less preparation I was able to do pretty well in some exams especially XAT. Now with many choices including XLRI HRM, IMT Ghaziabad, TAPMI, GIM, K J Somaiya, XIMB etc., I preferred Great Lakes one year course. It was all about selecting the course that suits you rather than moving with the popular public opinions.  And I feel my choice was right, I was able to get the profile that I was aiming for within this one year.

How did you fund your studies there?

 I took a loan from a private NBFC for funding my MBA. I had no second thoughts on taking a loan, as it’s like investing in myself for my own future. Funding should not be an issue for anyone who is aiming for higher education in India or even looking abroad, our country now has enough institutions for help.

 How was the Great Lakes-MBA experience?

 Great Lakes in unique in many sense. My peers everyone had at least two year work experience and from very diverse backgrounds. We learn while sharing our experiences among ourselves, through team work, from high quality lecture sessions and live projects with faculty mentors.  Life is too hectic 25*8, since it’s a one year course but you are expected to learn the syllabus of a two year course. However the campus infrastructure helps to get a feeling like you are actually working in a resort and not actually studying.  The exposure you get in Great Lakes in awesome, even most IIM’s can’t match with our campus and faculty strength.

How do you compare the education from CEC and Great Lakes?

CEC teaches us to learn the tough CUSAT syllabus by mostly our own personal effort with faculty as mentors. This has helped me with confidence to learn many things by myself. The high quality education provided by Great Lakes with the list of industry thought leaders, soon to-be Nobel-Laureates, and other eminent faculty are unmatchable. Our Dean, Uncle Bala (Dr. Padmashri Bala V Balachandran from Kellogg School of Management) had promised us high quality education and complete thought process transformation in a year and he actually did deliver it. I think CEC like most other engineering colleges in our country has a long way to go adding more and more research focused quality permanent faculty and practical learning to complement the CUSAT syllabus.

How did you secure admission for a European MBA program?

Great Lakes gave me a unique option of converting the PGPM to an MBA from University of Bordeaux, France. I haven’t heard any other B-school in India giving such a rare opportunity. We spent six weeks in France by paying a small additional fee for enrolling. I was selected for the course along with 20 other friends from GL and 20 others from the Northern Illinois University (NIU), United States. The university awards an MBA (Level- M2) degree in European Business Administration and International Business, highly valued in par with other European Government Universities like the INSEAD, HEC etc.



Can you share more experiences from the French MBA?

MBA is gaining high recognition very recently in Europe. MBA life is too different in Europe comparing India or United States or so. Europe doesn’t have the concept of residential campus and students are expected to stay outside the campus unlike most B-schools in India. Education offered is very much suited to the local needs of France and Europe. This is evident from the list of subjects that we studied like the French culture and the French way of doing business, European Business Administration, English Business Law, Wine Economics, etc. Bordeaux being the top rated European tourist location of 2015 and the center of the world wine trade; we spent an awesome time there. Since we were in the Schengen student visa, we got chances to visit neighboring countries like Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, etc. as well.

What fond memories do you have about life in CEC? Did it play a role in your further life, career and higher education?

I believe the four years in CEC has been the turning point in my life. I have always tried to be part of most co-curricular and extra-curricular activities in CEC. More than academics, CEC has helped me a lot in my personality development especially giving me high confidence in all the tasks I’m doing. It’s not easy to match the confidence and skills of a CUSAT pass out who has the ability to mug up tough modules just the morning of the exam. These skills of maintaining cool in pressure situations, quick learning, high energy, etc. are all typical CECian traits. Networking is another thing which I learned from the close knit CEC family. And as leaders say, ‘Network is your net worth’. I still maintain contacts with most of my friends and this skill has helped me a lot in my work place and personally as well.

What will be your advice to current students or a CEC Alumnus facing this situation?

Higher Education is always a good consideration, especially for engineers. Considering the youth population of our country and the tremendous growth in the enrolment of engineering, higher education will enable you to stand distinct from the huge crowd of UG holders. Also the career ladder is more attractive and so are the pay packages. And do consider the changing trends in the higher education scenarios especially in MBA. One year courses are very good option for executives with work experience. Many other colleges like ISB, IIM- PGP’s gives similar opportunities. So it’s a really good option to consider one year MBA for people who are experienced, especially for the IT- executives. Also don’t miss any chances of an international degree if one can afford for it.


 Anything more to share?

 Any queries from my friends regarding higher education or career related or so, please feel free to reach @ my Gmail ID: jyothish340

Arunanand T A
CEC 2010