Cambridge Judge Business School
“Energetic explorer who loves to get out of the comfort zone and try different things.”
Hometown: Aberdeen, Scotland
Family Members: Wife and two kids
Fun fact about yourself: I have physically crossed the equator by sea and was awarded an equator crossing certificate by King Neptune during an equator crossing ceremony held on board the ship I was sailing on.
Undergraduate School and Degree:
MSc Maritime Operations, Liverpool John Moores University Sept. 2006 – Oct. 2007
BS Marine Engineering, Birla Institute of Technology & Science, India Aug. 2000 – Aug. 2004
Where are you currently working?
Company: AH – DP and Marine Assurance Consulting
Role: Director & Founder
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Running, Serving langar/food at temples and Gurudwaras, Running my startup, Managing complex engineering projects in the offshore environment in countries such as Brazil, Korea, and the UK with teams comprised of different nationalities.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Getting a very high grade (77/100) in Corporate Finance, with no previous background in finance.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Starting and operating my maritime consulting firm, and I did this six months into the EMBA programme.
Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr. Khaled Soufani
What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Strategic Management was my favorite course.
Biggest insight: That strategy is not just a plan or target to be achieved. Rather, it is a continuous process involving many stakeholders working together to achieve a common goal(s).
Why did you choose this executive MBA program? The opportunity cost of doing a full-time MBA was too high. With the EMBA, I was able to work and apply the EMBA learnings in real life as I learned and also earn at the same time to pay off the bills and the EMBA fees.
What did you enjoy most about business school in general? CJBS’s connection with the University of Cambridge.
What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? Business is about people. You are creating value for people, or people must judge whatever value you create. To be successful in business, you must learn to deal with people amicably. And to do this you have to be self-aware.
Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? As part of my startup, I have to travel a lot and go on board ships located at different places around the world. On one occasion, I had to submit an assignment on the weekend. I had done most of it by Monday before the submission weekend, as I had to fly out to Nigeria on Tuesday. I left my laptop for some time on Monday night to have dinner and came back and straight away pressed the save button on the word document, and then found out that most of my assignment was deleted. My three-year-old daughter had just removed the content while I was having dinner. I had no other choice but to accept it. I had an early morning flight the next day, and I had to finish the assignment before I got to the ship. So I did the whole assignment again on the flights to Nigeria and submitted it on-board the ship in Nigeria. So I have the record of doing and submitting assignments in the air and at sea.
What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Be mentally prepared for it, and it will not be easy. Whatever happens, don’t quit. Hang around and put your best efforts, and you will pass through it.
What is the biggest myth about going back to school?
Myth: It would be tough to adjust in a classroom environment and study to submit assignments and give written exams.
Fact: Yes, it is difficult, but once you enter the classroom and the assignment and exam mode, then your survival and competitive instincts automatically kick in, and you somehow get through it.
What was your biggest regret in business school? I had to miss some classes due to work commitments and other reasons.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? HM Rao. He is from an accounting and finance background and is at a very senior level in a mining company in Africa. I didn’t have a finance or accounting background, but Mr Rao was always available to help me out with finance and accounting. He is the humblest person I have met in the EMBA. And his commitment to the EMBA is such that he traveled from Zambia to Cambridge for the study weekends every month.
“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was unable to do different things or switch, as I had developed my experience in a very specialised engineering skill.”
What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To lead a big multinational organization.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Someone who was carefree and had a big heart
What are the top two items on your bucket list?
Live in complete isolation from the world for at least a week
Stand in elections to become an MP
What made Avinash such an invaluable addition to the class of 2019?
“Avinash is an accomplished professional with an interesting and varied career. His dedication to academic excellence and rigor led to fantastic success on the programme, even in subjects he was initially apprehensive about.
As a participant on the Cambridge Executive MBA, Avinash was an asset to his cohort, leveraging his professional experience to contextualise issues during discussions. His enthusiasm and spirit have contributed to the fields he has worked in to-date, and I have no doubt he has the potential to continue to in the future as he applies the skills, theory, and frameworks learned on the programme.”
Director of Executive MBA Programme