Way back in 2001, Mr. Atul Kulkarni was an enigma to both students and faculty members at KIAMS. Why a practicing – and flourishing – Chartered Accountant should take up a full-time faculty position in management education was beyond their comprehension; even his friends and erstwhile colleagues believed he was in KIAMS for a break of sorts. They thought he’d be back to where he came from within a couple of years. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
“My association with KIAMS is nearly 13 years old now. I did not enter it on a whim, or for a break. I was looking for a good B-school where I could polish my capabilities as a teacher. I wanted to understand the profession thoroughly. My association with KIAMS started as full-time faculty and has now evolved into visiting faculty.”
Mr. Kulkarni’s evolution has truly been inspiring. Having metamorphosed into an accomplished teacher at KIAMS, he was snapped up by Infosys in 2006 to set up its Centre of Excellence for finance and accounting at its Bangalore BPO. As the Head F&A CoE, Infosys, Mr. Kulkarni effectively developed domain training programmes across all levels in the organisation. By March 2010, he realised that his job at Infosys was done, and rather than shift to a different corporate house, he decided to freelance; thus making his expertise available to many other players in the industry.
“Ever since March 2010, I have conducted trainings in organisations of all shapes, sizes and nature across India. They include companies like Accenture, Intelenet and GMR. Since I am on the panel of approved trainers for Addecco, I have conducted various programmes for their clients as well.”
Mr. Kulkarni feels that whatever the domain, setting of training objectives and understanding those objectives are essential for effective results.
“You imbibe different values when you work at different organisations and tend to carry them forward to the new organisation. But when you are by yourself, not only is your learning curve really steep, but you also start valuing little things which you would’ve ignored earlier. Today, if I need to get a print-out, I think ten times about wastage of paper. Yes, having worked at Infosys matters; it is a value driven company. But going solo is a different ball game altogether, and it makes you think about the importance of instilling a sense of ownership… in a company or a B-school like KIAMS; as faculty or as a student.”
He feels that while the current outlook might be gloomy, Finance is an evergreen field. In fact, a down precedes a high, and therefore opportunities in Finance are only going to expand; be it banking, insurance or the stock market.
“I keep reminding my students at KIAMS that finance is pretty much like life itself – not a 100 meters race, but a marathon. Very often I see students panic when they see things on the downturn. The essence of long- term success lies in your ability to withstand these short- term downturns, and develop yourself in the process. Instead of looking for places where opportunities are, you should first see what you are made for.”