I, The Absolute

Archive for August 23rd, 2005

Raj Kamal

Posted by itheabsolute on August 23, 2005

B. Tech, IIT, Mumbai
District Magistrate (Indian Administrative Services)
Associate, Mckinsey

Yesterday we had a team from Mckinsey to make a presentation. For me that is an aside. A member of the Mckinsey team by name Raj Kamal shook me out of my thinking. The above gives a chronology of his career. He last served in Indian Administrative Service as District Magistrate / Collector. A district magistrate is an administrative head of a district with magisterial, revenue and law & order authority in the district. He will have a battalion of people working under him, all the district heads of other departments, including police chief of the district report to him. He handles problems covering political, revenue, law & order, poverty related, etc. Simply put, he is THE government in that district.

Raj decided to study further, quit IAS and joined ISB. He says that he did not know what Consulting was about when he came to ISB. He worked hard and realized that Consulting will give him a good experience. He was picked up by Mckinsey and joined as Junior Associate. A junior associate is the lowest in the pecking order (post MBA position) at Mckinsey.

Leaving a position of such authority and joining as a junior associate at Mckinsey is something which is hard to do. To me, it is impossible to think. I asked him on how he felt. He says that consulting is a different kind of learning experience and he does not think about authority, etc and that joining as junior associate has not bothered him. On the contrary, he is enjoying his stint at Mckinsey. I felt – was I talking to a Level 5 leader? He surely combined humility and professional will.

Lesson for me – I have already been in a relatively senior position in my past job. I have seen more money than perhaps an associate would earn at Mckinsey. All these four months at ISB, as I thought about career in consulting, I was finding it very difficult to reconcile to a probable reality that Mckinsey would discount, should I be selected, much of my experience and take me at a starting level, at best at a second level. Now that I have seen him, I am completely jolted out of my thoughts. Having served as a district magistrate, which is without doubt a far superior profile than I had, if he can give up all that and join as a junior associate, can I not do it? I like consulting but don’t know if I have the courage and humility to accept a position where I would start at the lowest position in the pecking order.

But I have started to think……………

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