Vibhuti Desai graduated from the Athena School of Management last year – but remaining part of the school’s alumni community means her journey is still ongoing. She explained to us how the process changed her as a person, benefiting from Athena’s emphasis on internships during the program and what makes it such a unique business school in India.
What is the difference between an MBA and a PGPM?
What I studied at Athena was a PGPM – a Postgraduate Program in Management. In India only very specific universities have the authority to award an MBA. The other colleges – even the top ones in India – award something called a PGPM. The courses and subjects we take are very similar to an MBA program, but there is more of a practical aspect associated with a PGPM. That is the only real difference between an MBA and a PGPM.
Internships are a big part of the program at Athena School of Management. Tell us about them.
Based on the subjects we are keen to learn about there are several internship options that we have available. The first internship gives us an idea of what we want to do and if that’s something we want to specialize in for our second year.
I was always interested in doing something which was a mixture of financial services and marketing. Hence the first internship that I did was at a stockbroking company known as Edelweiss Financial Services in Mumbai. For my second internship I wanted to explore my options in the financial services field, so I went ahead and got an internship at a digital bank.
For my third internship I went into a different sector altogether (hospitality), at the corporate office of a group of hotels. My fourth and final internship at Sony Pictures Network was completely different because I wanted to try something new.
Did Athena help you obtain these internships?
All four internships were given to me by Athena, so I didn’t have to find them on my own. They looked at my interests and what I’m interested in doing in my internship, then based on that they helped me get an interview with several different companies.
What makes Athena School of Management an elite school in India?
Athena is a unique school. Why? Because the student intake is comparatively less than other schools, but also because of the internships and other activities on offer. A lot of schools in the country are solely focused on education and studying, but [at Athena] there are a lot of extracurricular, cultural and in-class activities that you can do. It is not just study, study, study – you are trying to develop yourself as a human being.
What were your biggest takeaways from the program?
The biggest takeaways from the program have been to never give up, never limit yourself and always believe in yourself. There will be lots of feedback and advice given to you, so follow up on them, work on them and it will help you to be the person you want to be.
Keen to learn more about studying an MBA degree at Athena School of Management? Reach out to Vibhuti directly and ask her anything:
by Nick Harland