MBAtious People - Rhucha Kulkarni, TISS ( HRM & LR )

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    Rhucha Kulkarni has completed her masters in HRM & LR from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and is an avid lover of all things creative. She enjoys writing (prose and poetry), content creation, reading, music, photography, and has a keen interest in wildlife and nature. She won various national level B school competitions and was also recognized in the Global Tiger Day Contest 2015 as the Winner in the Poem Category for her poem on the tiger and its habitat. Rhucha co-founded jungLEADz, which strives to deliver bespoke nature-based learnacations.

    An HR professional, a freelance writer, a poet, a travel blogger, a nature and wildlife lover, a photographer, a sitar player, an entrepreneur… you have put yourself into loads of stuffs. How you feel these diverse exposure shaped you as a professional and a person?

    I have been into multiple avenues right from my childhood, maybe a virtue of my diverse upbringing. Being an army kid, I have travelled extensively, I think this has made me open to new experiences, and also made me realize the value of simple things in an otherwise unstable world! Art and science, both have always been a part of my life (thanks to my training as a vocalist and sitarist), fueling me to stretch my imagination and applying this creative streak to newer fields. An adage that I truly believe in- The boundaries of life are mere creations of self! I think it’s the urge to be true to what I really am, and go beyond the obvious, that propels me to wear many hats!

    TISS HRM & LR is among the best rated Human resource management program in Asia. Can you share your experience of being a part of this legacy and your corporate stint afterwards ?

    It is an honorable privilege to be associated with an institution of excellence that TISS is. The educational experience had been hands-on and experimental, something that has added finesse to my thought process. Of course, it has opened up windows to the corporate world for me. Though I came with prior corporate experience, my stints as an HR professional provided me real-life insights into the world of business. Managing stakeholder expectations, understanding the need of the hour, delivering par excellence and continuous learning- these are just some of my many takeaways from my interactions with some amazing people from the HR fraternity and beyond! Corporate exposure has given me a true picture of the business-customer scenario, which I think shall help me immensely in my entrepreneurial journey.

    With your venture, you are stepping into the world of entrepreneurship. Can you give us an over view about the product and the challenges? What would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs ?

    jungLEADz is all about sharing the joy of the wild through experiential learning. With my background in human resources (particularly engagement and training), and my passion for wildlife and nature, I wish to curate a customized vacation experience for the common man, who has not seen much of Indian wildlife. And therein lies the challenge. A niche field with limited avenues for involvement till date, I wish to make it a fun and engaging experience through carefully designed game-based learning interventions. The idea is to leave the traveler with a holistic wildlife and nature experience- the LEAD experience which means-

    Learn about our wonderful wild…
             Experience the joy of nature sublime…
                      Appreciate the gifts of the greens divine…
                                Discover a new You, embrace the nature-life!

    That is where the paradigm of “Experiential Learning” comes into the picture.

    You are promoting a philosophy of Experiential Learning. Can you elaborate on this and also about how you leverage your HRM background in this aspect ?

    Experiential learning is basically learning by “doing” and “feeling” the experience at hand. As an HR professional, I got to observe and understand the needs of people today closely, both at a professional and personal level. I realized that the “connect” aspects is maybe missing somewhere. While many people today crave different experiences, they may not be sure what to do/make of it once the experience is offered. That is the gap that jungLEADz bridges, when it comes to nature escapes! I design nature-based games on the concepts of the renowned Kolb’s learning model. The target group is people who have not been much in the jungle, but are curious to explore the adventure! The whole experience is made fun and engaging, what I call a Learnacation- A fun adventure vacation with some amazing learning thrown in! This helps bridge the knowledge gap, while engaging our travelers during the wildlife excursion. The underlying premise for these experiential learning games is LEAD- Learn, Experience, Appreciate, and Discover.  

    Today, more women are breaking free from the traditional, gender-specific roles and venturing into their own ideas and products. What is your take on the opportunities and challenges awaiting women in the most intricate world of entrepreneurship ?

    Women are exploring newer avenues, be it the coveted corporate job, or the mompreneur opportunity! The startup ecosystem is abuzz, inviting women to embark on the career of their dreams with special financing schemes. Paradigms of work too are changing with new ways of working (flexi-time, telecommuting) emerging in progressive organizations. Today converting a hobby or passion into a full-time profession is commonly seen. Yet it is important to do one’s own research- analyze the market and own capabilities in taking that step towards entrepreneurship. Challenges abound on the path of entrepreneurship, you are thrown into the open as a one-wo(man) army, guided primarily by only your own foresight. Sometimes you may have to take leap of faith, be clear on what you want from this journey! Moreover, seeking support of the immediate family for such a crucial decisions can serve as make or break. Women must accept that there shall be troughs and crests, one should be ready to foresee and make the required sacrifices to ride the crests! Above all, one must realize that every moment is a learning experience and is sure to make you a better person in your own right!

    You have taken a special interest in wildlife photography. How does this help the cause of wildlife and nature conservation ?

    Photographing wildlife is one of the best means to understand wildlife behavior, maintain records of individuals/species and conduct census surveys. In fact, now, the only official means of conducting Tiger Census is the camera trapping method, such is the importance of having visual records. As they say “seeing is believing”! I was fortunate to be a part of the WWF Camera Trapping Program at Bor Tiger Reserve (more about it here). Moreover, wildlife photography calls for a host of skills such a patience, resilience (to withstand extreme conditions), and above all, a respect for wildlife and nature. Ultimately, we must remember we are entering the homes of these wild animals. Ethical photography is a must, as a wildlife lover.

    What is your idea about Being MBAtious ?

    I believe MBAtious is not just about securing the first or the most sought after job, it goes beyond such superficial aspirations. It is the aspiration to be more, do more, and do better, the way You define these. It is more innate. in terms of qualities that you hone over the course of the years you spend as an MBA aspirant, an MBA student and then an MBA alumnus! It cultivates an inner attitude of striving to excel while managing different fronts. Hectic schedules develop an inherent resilience in you. On the outside-in bit, I believe an MBA course is a 2 year simulation of the outside, real world. Cut throat competition, group dynamics, stringent deadlines, these shape you for uncertain times, which is the reality of today. More importantly, MBAtious should be your path to self-discovery: recognize who you are, and recognize who you are not. And instill the courage to be what you truly are and go after what your truly seek! Then only, can you rise above the mundane and do justice not only to your work, but to your inner being :)

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