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Feature: How I hope to become a global business leader in 10 years

Former University of Copenhagen student has set up his own personal experiment: An online course of study in complex business and managerial problems. His ambition? In 10-15 years he will be a world business leader

It was always my dream to become a manager. In the longer term that is, I know I can’t become a business leader overnight.

I am a quick learner, have an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving, the ability to work outside my area of expertise if the situation demands it, and the ability to work anywhere in the world. I want to make decisions based on limited information and to communicate with any kind of person.

It is – in other words – my vision to become a 21st century global manager.

Working in parallel

So how can this be possible?

I returned back to India in 2012 after finishing my graduation in Chemical engineering from Denmark.

I had just participated in a European Regions & Cities event at the European Commission. Discussing matters of global interest with other participants, I felt my leadership potential and the excitement of engaging with complex problems. And then there was the Young Environmentalist Camp in Azerbaijan. I was called a ‘doer’, someone who likes to do things rather than talking.

During my education, I was always working in parallel, gaining skills through participating. Managing the family business or organizing events at the university. I wore many different hats, and I took on different roles to prepare me to work under pressure, to make quick decisions, work effectively in a team and to deal with uncertainty. Sometimes I took responsibilities that others scorned. All to gain new skills. This self-discovery filled me with confidence.

Future was uncertain

But how could I take those skills further?

I identified the necessary skill set to be a 21st century global manager. Then I cross checked this set with my existing skill set. In some areas of management, I already had good practical exposure, but needed international level upgrades. Other soft skills like understanding economic policy making had to be developed however.

Sure I had met people from many countries and professions including country ministers and Nobel laureates. But I realized that i needed to learn more foreign languages and understand different cultures to become a better communicator.

What I was aiming at may not be possible through university education. And even if it were possible (like doing a MBA), I would have had to wait for 17-18 months before the next session starts. And even if I waited, there was no clear answer, as to whether I would be in position to pursue it or not.

Forgot about everything else

It was already May and I was confused about what to do next. I had just graduated from one of the world’s top technical universities (DTU) with good qualifications. Should I take the risk of pursuing this program or take up employment to start my professional life? With no clear answer in sight, I gave myself 3 months to decide. I applied for jobs and started in parallel to study management courses from MIT Open Course Wares.

No job application turned out to be successful. And after the discovery of MOOCs [massive open online courses, ed.) in July, I forgot about everything else and started to live with this idea.

And so after 2 years, facing personal difficulties and putting my professional career at risk, I am now glad to have finished my experimental study program. Take a look at the programme to become a global 21st century manager here.

Double the work by using both hands

Today, I am glad that financial constraints forced me to develop my own methods, and to accomplish things I never thought of before.

Just a few examples: I am right-handed. I thought: Why not outsource some of the work to the left hand? As a right-handed person, this was initially difficult. So I started smaller things like using the computer mouse, then lifting smaller items and then cooking. I have used this skill to handle two laptops simultaneously using a mouse operated by my both hands. I am currently practicíng writing with my left hand. Hopefully, within a few years, I will be able to use both my hands and work more efficiently.

Most of my ideas don’t get any further than the pages of my note book. Either I do not realize their importance, or I do not know how to apply them. But during this program, many have actually become a reality.

Take this, my ‘standard waiting time idea’ as another example: While talking to people from different cultures and professions, I realized that some sets of people respond quicker than others on e-mails. In some countries, delays are completely fine, and in others 48 hours is the deadline to reply an e-mail. I used ‘time-line’ concept of basic finance to prepare a standard waiting time index. Using this index, you can judge how much time you should wait to get a response from a particular kind of person.

This is my dream

And so, looking back, my self-designed ‘International Management Study Program’ has been the biggest project I have ever undertaken.

It has all-in-all taken more than 7-8 years of hard work to redefine my profile as a 21st century interdisciplinary professional.

I am an engineer in formal university training. But I also know about market trends, can plan business strategies, take part in trade negotiations, understand government policies and can easily guess the impact of monetary policy changes. I can innovate, do programming and can talk with different sets of people. Someone who has intercultural work experience, team working ability and is already appreciated for his leadership and managerial skills.

This is what I am and what I did to get there. Hopefully this program will prove to be stepping stone in achieving my dream of becoming a 21st century global manager!

Do you have any suggestions to me that will aid me in my quest? Feel free to leave a comment below!

universitypost@adm.ku.dk

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