Anugya Punetha

My name is Anugya, and I am currently working as a National Account Manager at Danone Waters of America. I am based in Toronto, and I’d like to share with you my journey of the last 16 years since I graduated, and the role that Career Plan earlier name of The Winning Mantra played in my journey. As a student in the small city of Lucknow, I was active within the debating, theatre and student leadership teams, while staying comfortably afloat on the academic front.

I knew early on in life that I would work within the scope of business management. As a child, I was exposed to several lucrative career paths within my large extended but close-knit family. The gore and constant life-threatening emergencies of medicine, which my mother routinely resolved as a doctor, were way too much for me. Engineering was boring – and I haven’t ever been a fan of the mathematics involved. Defence was out of the question with my flat feet and myopia. By elimination & some conviction, what excited me was the kind of sales management role that my father had – that looked like a fun challenge where I couldn’t accidentally kill someone with a poor judgement call.

And so, by 12th standard, that’s what I knew I was going to do. I set the ball rolling for graduation, followed by an MBA. After my graduation in Lucknow, I took a year off to prepare for the MBA examinations – and that quest led me to Career Plan. As someone who had spent their entire life in the same city, mostly with the same group of friends from kindergarten until graduation, my experience at Career Plan was enlightening in its diversity. I truly believe that Career Plan was the first place that I learned to actively listen to perspectives completely different from mine, and appreciate the value that dissenting views added – while working towards a common goal. This was path-breaking for someone like me, who had viewed the goal of group activities to be largely ‘unanimous consent’.

This convergence approach is a skill that came especially handy initially in group discussions, and eventually, throughout my career as a manager. Our classes & groups were made up of very different individuals and therefore, very different view points. Our mentors encouraged each student to not just speak up, as was conventionally the case, but also to listen actively, and evaluate each perspective for its own merit.

Looking back, I realize that this was one of the big differentiators that Career Plan had, because of the skill set of the mentors – who were industry experts and passionate teachers. Unlike other classes (and I took more than one) the teachers at Career Plan were not merely focused on the admissions rates, but on developing life skills for each one of us.

Armed with the tools that Career Plan gave me, I quickly landed a few admissions, picked SIBM Pune, and have since then, gone on to work with ITC Limited, Coca-Cola, and now Danone in a wide variety of roles. I have had the opportunity to work with people across the world on very different projects – and I believe that the active listening skills carefully nurtured by my Career Plan mentors has played a huge role in my success as a key account manager.