Ex-servicemen take on corporate challenges

Meena Arora, who has served as Squadron Leader in Indian Air Force (IAF) is once again living a student’s life. From morning till evening she attends lectures on business management along with 40 other defence personnel, who are her batchmates in Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon.

Since every day and every class is a new experience for her, she keeps a small diary in her purse to jot down the business ideas that strike her.

“ I want to work upon these ideas as soon as I complete my six-month long ‘Certificate Course in Business Administration,” says Meena, who after completing her short service commission in IAF decided to take admission in a management institute to become a part of the corporate sector.

“Those who complete their service either lie back and enjoy pension or they get an opportunity to work with an organisation. Somehow, they are not aware of the dynamics of management. But today the trend is changing. If defence personnel want to be a part of corporate sector they need to be aware about every business aspect like corporate law, market trends, business psychology and other things,” says Meena.

To achieve her goal, Meena commutes from Anand Vihar to Gurgaon daily via metro. She is a wife and a mother who has certain responsibility towards her family but following her passion she has searched a PG where she will shift in few days. 

“If I want to be successful in corporate sector I have to take everything seriously,” says Meena. Similar is Colonel Alankar Bhardwaj’s case who has devoted 30 years of his life
in Indian Army.

He believes that corporate sector has its own reasons to take people from defence in management positions.

“People who are in defence are focused. They are instilled with confidence and are trained to say ‘yes’ to every project that comes their way without giving a second thought. Thereafter, they effectively plan out its modus operandi. Today, corporate sector needs such confident people for a higher post,”  he says.

There are generally three categories of defence personnel who are a part of this course. Those with 10 years of experience and who have completed their short service commission.

Then there is another section of students who don’t want to go for permanent service commission. Also, there are officers who have served in the defence for a minimum pensionable service of 20 years.

But how do students learn about management in six months? Associate Professor and Programme Director of the Course at MDI, Anil Pathak says, “The course, an initiative by the Directorate General Resettlement (DGR), is an Inter-Service organisation functioning directly under the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (Ministry of Defence). There are other management colleges like Indian Institute of Management and Xavier School of Management offering a similar course and helping the defence personnel resettle in their career.”

“The short duration of the course impacts the teaching methodology too.

It is a compressed MBA course, designed in such a way that all the fundamental aspects of management is covered,” says the programme director.

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