Journey from Exploration to Chaos to Exploration

I would like to dedicate this blog to our late Prof. Eamonn Walsh. His energy was infectious! May his soul rest in peace.

“Life is short and the world is wide!”
I often ask myself:
‘What do you want to do in life?’,
‘What is one thing you are passionate about?’
Every time I ask these questions, I don’t get a reply.
I see an artist, a sportsman, a businessman live for their passion,
But who would tell me what I like?
One thing that needs to be kept in mind:
When life gives you an empty canvas,
Draw your own design!

A group of smiling young people in the UCD Smurfit School main hall
MBA Orientation: Day 1 of the new adventure!

‘Keep exploring new constructs’ has been the mantra of my life. After my under-graduation, I got a job as a Software Engineer. After a certain period when everything was settled, I felt stagnated and so I transitioned my career from a technical role to a business role in a start-up. This transition was huge as two changes happened simultaneously: role change and cultural change from an MNC to a start-up. Bitten by the proverbial ‘entrepreneurial bug’, I decided to start a business: Sababa Miteri, an e-commerce for maternity wear. As I lacked any experience in the apparel industry, the journey of starting a business was full of challenges and satisfaction. Trips to several cloth markets in India, negotiations lessons, team building, sleepless nights, happiness at every milestone achieved, and a lot more has been received during my entrepreneurial journey. I could not have traversed these if I had not decided to leave my stable job.

One thing I realized while running my business that I did not have enough tools in hand to grow my business. I required validation to the techniques I was using and needed a structured approach to strategize business growth. I took the GMAT and applied to a few top business schools that met my criteria. The whole process was frenetic along with the daily challenges in my business. And one fine day, I received an offer from UCD Smurfit for a full time MBA. 

No one knew that Covid-19 would bring chaos to everyone’s life, and I wasn’t spared. All the plans started falling apart. My business went down with a country-wide lockdown. I was not sure of how to get a visa for travelling to Ireland to pursue MBA as the offices were closed. It was a hustle to arrange all the documents required for visa formalities. Moreover, no one knew if international travel would be allowed. Apart from all this, I started to wonder if this is the right time to do my MBA. I got through this phase by keeping calm and making careful decisions.

Amidst all the chaos, there were two biggest learnings:

  1. Be agile! It is important to adapt according to changing situations. I appreciated seeing how the whole world adapted to the new ways of working.
  2. You can have multiple/alternative plans for the future, but none may work. And so you have to be prepared to think on your feet.
A man in a yellow shirt wearing two masks, glasses, and a face shield in his airplane seat.
The New Normal of traveling

The chaotic time ended, and I reached Dublin where I had to quarantine myself for 14 days. New country, new life, new people, but I had to wait for a few more days before I could experience that. There has been great support from the university throughout, especially in this challenging pandemic situation. 

A screenshot with four vertical Zoom squares.
The New Normal of MBA teamwork

The exploration phase began again. I roamed around the city, met new people, explored the UCD campus and the course commenced, with introductions, coffee sessions and realizing that this one year will be teaching me a lot of new things. It has been a wonderful journey so far and I am excited to discover what stores next. I would like to end it by a quote that really touched me:

“You can’t fall if you don’t climb. But there is no joy in living your whole life on the ground.”


Shashwat Acharya, FTMBA Class of 2021