The accelerated MBA dream for CAs - MFYCA at IIM-A ft. Vaidehi Rathi
A lot of CAs yearn for a flavour of management and strategy but not everybody wants to invest two years in an MBA!
IIM-Ahmedabad has introduced a course for young CAs to gain a basic understanding of organisational functions and businesses, while acquiring perspectives and requisite skills, so that they can start to make a difference at the early stage of their careers!
Today we have Vaidehi Rathi, a CA from the May 2018 batch. After completing ‘Management and Finance for Young Chartered Accountants’ course from IIMA, she is currently looking after her family food business along with being a part of a health startup, Nexera Conglomerate LLP.
She takes us through the why and how of her decision to reside at IIM-A for this special course, designed for CAs who want a glimpse into an MBA!
Important alert! - If you are a Chartered Accountant, Lawyer, Economics or Commerce graduate who wants to make it to the B-School of your dreams, don't forget to subscribe to The Unconventional MBA!
I cleared my CA final in May 2018 in the first go and took a break to relax and figure out how exactly I wanted to proceed further in my career.
In December 2018, I decided to help grow our family food business based in Pune started by my grandparents, with operations still actively managed by my grandmother. I decided to take it to the next level by rebranding our traditional business and contributing in ways to add value.
Last year I found an interesting announcement on our institute’s website - a new course called ‘Management and Finance for Young Chartered Accountants’ at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad co-hosted by ICAI.
Digging deeper, I found out that apart from providing in-depth domain knowledge, this programme also helped acquire basic understanding of functions such as marketing, operations, information systems, human resource management and organizational behaviour, which we never learnt practically.
Additionally, we get to hone personal skills such as computing, communication, self-awareness, social and leadership.
This got me intrigued and what was more exciting was the fact that all the above-mentioned subjects were to be taught by case study pedagogy and by probably the best professors of our country.
It was a 5-week residential course, giving us an opportunity to interact with CAs across the country who were going to participate in this programme.
Since this was the first time such a course was introduced, the selection process was not daunting, nomination forms were rolled out, requiring us to mention our work experience and details of our CA journey. The programme was meant for young CAs early on their career path having less than 5 years of experience and willing to work in the corporate sector, industry or aspiring to be an entrepreneur.
All nominations were subject to review and approval by the programme faculty.
I got my acceptance letter in about 4-5 days after submitting the nomination.
The course was about to begin on 7th April’19 and we were supposed to report at the campus on 6th April.
7th April 2019 – 11th May 2019
The course was well planned and we were given the weekly schedule well in advance. Around 20 modules were to be covered in these 5 weeks along with guest lectures by esteemed leaders from their respective industries and other evaluation tests to be conducted on Saturdays, thus making it clear it was going to be an intensive and rigorous programme.
The case study based pedagogy where thorough case reading is expected, your learning is substantially dependent on the level of preparation before the class.
Unwritten rule of IIM A: Prepare for the case and not the exam.
I am going to take you through the five weeks in detail. It was a crazy ride filled with case studies, guest lectures, unheard of topics, practical applications to real life business problems and absolute camaraderie!
❖ First Week
We started the course on a Sunday wherein we learnt how to view a case study in depth, from the protagonist point of view.
We covered major parts of modules of operations and supply chain management, financial statement analysis, statistics for decision making, advanced excel and statistics, where we solved case studies within groups & also had an opportunity to interact with the professors.
The first report was due Saturday which was based on a real issue of a well-known Indian Company - And remember, deadlines are sacrosanct at IIM-A!
❖ Second Week
Apart from dwelling further in the first week modules, we were introduced to new modules like Managerial Accounting, Managerial Communications, Organizational Behaviour and Leadership.
We also had our first guest lecture by the CFO of one of India’s leading Pharma Company regarding industry expectations from CAs. After receiving our Saturday report evaluation, the next Saturday assignment was also based on a real dilemma faced by an Indian Giant. The reports were important as they were a part of our final evaluation and contained actual business problems that needed to be solved.
By the end of 2 weeks, it was evident that the learning curve would be very steep. Attending classes during the day and late-night case studies discussions became our routine.
❖ Third Week
We began with modules of Corporate Finance, Project Management and Entrepreneurial Mindset.
A guest lecture by a partner of a Big 4 firm who is also the first insolvency professional in India and another by an advisor to the chairman of one of India’s biggest multinational conglomerates were held.
On Saturday, instead of a report, we had a short open book exam covering our syllabus till date.
Learning process was made fun and insightful due to various activities. Guest lecturers provided us with valuable industry insights of what is expected of us while case studies helped us understand issues of real companies: how the protagonist tackled them, acknowledging their glories as well as mistakes.
❖ Fourth Week
In the penultimate week, we were introduced to the remaining modules which were Marketing, Derivatives and Risk Management and Managerial Control Systems.
Experiential learning was taught to us in a unique way via field visit and fruitful guest lectures continued.
Group presentations helped aid our understanding, acquired through case studies.
❖ Fifth Week
As we reached the climax of our course, we learnt Strategic Management and Effective Negotiations.
The programme concluded with all 35 participants being divided into 3 groups and presenting the final capstone presentation on a case study. We received our certificates along with the evaluation based on our several assignments and tests.
What was my takeaway from the programme?
It definitely helped me broaden my perspective and gave me a bird’s eye view of an organisation and its various functions. I will try to implement the learnings of holistic decision making in my own family business from all the stakeholders’ perspectives and not just the owner’s.
All in all, it was a great learning experience, making some real good friends and cherished memories while staying at India’s best management Institute.
P.S. The programme fee includes tuition fees, programme materials, boarding and lodging. Early bird discount and group discount schemes were available. The programme is accepting applications till July 20 for the incoming batch. Further details regarding the fee structure and other information can be accessed here.
To stay in the loop for more tips, tricks and experiences from amazing people like Vaidehi, subscribe to this blog!
Interested in learning about how to approach the CAT? Check out our Strategise the CAT series here!
You can also check out some related posts such as: