DISCLAIMER : My journey is neither extraordinary, nor one of its kind. The only reason for writing down this post is many people ask me how did I manage the transition from BDS to MBA so early in my career. And it’s not possible to answer this question succinctly, without narrating the entire story-because what looks like an abrupt career shift was actually a smooth transition over the years.
“I’m convinced that the only way to get ahead in this world is to live and sell dangerously. You’ve got to live beyond your means. You’ve got to commit yourself to an act or vision that pulls you further than you want to go and forces you to use your hidden strengths.” – John H. Johnson
It was during the mid of October 2011, during a very tiring day after Prosthodontics Pre-clinics, when I came across the notification about AIUGC (All India Undergraduate Conference) by IDA, Chennai. My first year in the dental school was over by then and it had left me completely perplexed. I wasn’t doing bad but I was convinced that I was just another face in the crowd. The notification of the conference fueled a hope in me that it’s a way to come out of the well and connect with the outer world of Dentistry, to know how exactly the Indian Dental scene is. But the issue was I really had no idea how and what to present.
At that time my online ventures – A dental blog “Dental Dominion” (it still exists, though I haven’t updated it since many years- http://dentaldominion.blogspot.in/) and the Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/bachelorofdentalsurgery/), both of which were created out of randomness, were doing good and getting great response from students across the globe. I had even got two advertisement offers for my blog- one from AIM MDS (Online Coaching Centre for MDS Entrances Exam) and the second one by Dr. Gowri Shankar (Author of Dental Bytes and TextBook of Orthodontics) for his private coaching center. I had even started social media marketing through my facebook page, working for a few dental clients, helping them in their businesses while earning a few bucks for myself (my first experience with ‘Entrepreneurship’)
I thought of making a report on everything and came with this really lengthy title for my presentation “Use of Dental Informatics in general and internet and social networking sites in particular in gathering the dental students on a single platform and disseminating information among them – A report”.
Since it was HUES (annual fest of my college MCODS, Manipal) time, I had to go all alone and the time spent in Chennai was memorable and very informative. It was a feeling of immense joy coming back to college with the Best Paper Award (Later the same presentation won me 2nd prize and a cash prize of 200 Euros in Virtual World Congress of Dental Students in May 2012).
Next reason to smile was to end up 3rd in the world among 2000 applicants from all around the world in the Campus Ambassador competition organised by iversity in January 2012, a German academic website. It was yet another wonderful experience I was blessed with. Iversity is a German higher education course management platform which merges an online workplace and a social network. I started a dental study group in the website which soon attracted attention and thus I ended up being 3rd in the competition. Along with the prize money of 250 Euros, I was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation as well as a Recommendation letter from the CEOs of iversity.
In February 2012, I came to know about ESA (Elsevier Student Ambassador) Competition by the renowned publisher Elsevier. After clearing 3 round of a competitive online quiz (Based on Human Anatomy, Physiology and biochemistry), an essay and a 25 min interview over the phone, I was finally selected for the post. I even won the 1st Prize (Apple iPAD 2) in JUDGE THE BOOK contest for ESAs where my book review on “Pharmacology for Dental Students’ by Shanbhag, Shenoy and Nayak was adjudged the best reviews among the reviews submitted by 55 ESAs (Medical and Dental UGs and PGs from 5 countries).
I went ahead with presenting papers at conferences and winning most of them (3rd Prize in the 1st International Students’ Dental Conference, Sharjah, UAE and 2nd Prize in Dentistry 2012 conference organized by IDRR (Indian Dentist Research and Review).
But the phenomenon which will keep my undergraduate life etched forever in my life is the launch of IDJSR (International Dental Journal of Students’ Research). I realized I can leverage my strong web presence and traffic to do something substantial and hence with 2 other dental students from Delhi & Karachi (Pakistan), I launched International Dental Journal of Students’ Research (http://idjsr.com/), world’s first peer- reviewed medical research journal started by undergraduate students, in 2012.
The 1st issue of IDJSR (online and peer reviewed) published articles from 5 countries and hence we launched with a bang! During that time the journal was completely free and was under the aegis of Indian Medical Students’ Association (now Indian Medical Association- Student Wing). In December 2014, I (along with my co-founder and executive editor Dr. Harsh Rajvanshi) registered my startup with the name of Cephorb Medline International Pvt Ltd and brought the journal under this registered company.
Today IDJSR has seen 18 issues with articles published from more than 30 countries, making it an international journal in a true sense. It has an exhaustive Reviewers Panel comprising of more than 40 reviewers from around 10 countries and it is indexed in more than 10 databases and online libraries of various universities across the world. We have also started publishing the journal in print with around 10 Dental Schools subscribing for the print version.
My efforts eventually didn’t go unnoticed. I was awarded with ‘The Budding Dentist Award’ by IDRR (Indian Dentist Research and Review) and ‘ Best UG Student of the Year Award’ by Orofacial Chronicle in August 2014, just before I started with my internship.
Because of the various initiatives that I undertook in the digital media space, I got the job of Marketing Manager at Oliveboard, an Ed-tech startup, where I joined immediately after finishing internship in August 2015. Transitioning from dental clinical practice to digital marketing & business development was smoother than I had thought and within 2 month I was able to get results. Oliveboard, at that time, was bootstrapped and hence the allocated marketing budget was limited. I had to strategize & plan each marketing and ad-campaign in a cost- effective way and hence I learnt a strategic and structured way of solving problems and identifying unmet market needs. I relied heavily on consumer insights and customers’ data to continuously tweak my marketing campaigns and product offerings to optimize the same.
After joining Oliveboard, I started preparing for GMAT and appeared for it in January 2016 and then applied to ISB after scoring a 730 in GMAT. I got through ISB via the EEO (Early Entry Option), which meant I was supposed to join after one year, ie April 2017. I continued working at Oliveboard for that one year and finally joined the flagship MBA course (called as the PGP- Post Graduate Program in Management) at the Hyderabad Campus of Indian School of Business.
I hope this post helps dental students/Dentists to take an informed decision while making career choices post graduation.
I will be writing more about career options post BDS. Just hit the FOLLOW button (right side of the screen if you are reading on desktop/laptop and on the bottom of the screen if you are reading on mobile phone) and subscribe to the blog. It will help you get notified whenever I post in future.