Unlocking the potential of sports in the life of an MBA, for 22-year-old Shreyas Walekar, a cricketer, it was his quest of interlinking cricket and creativity that brought him to MICA, Ahmedabad. The corporatisation of the sports industry is paving way for new careers like sports analytics and management, he says.

One of the 235 students of the new batch at MICA Ahmedabad that consists of 71 per cent students from a non-engineering background, comprising lawyers, architects, dentists, chartered accountants, a flying cadet, a doctor and a national level cricketer, the institute welcomed the incoming batch last week.

Walekar began his cricketing journey at the age of 14 and since then, there was no looking back. He says, “I was in Class 8 when I first played in the 60th National School Games 2014-15, organized by the School Games Federation of India and then I went on to play various professional tournaments organized by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.”

Shreyas has been a part of the national tournaments like Vijay Merchant Trophy (U-16) 2016-17, BCCI West Zone Camp (U-16) 2017, Cooch Behar Trophy (U-19) 2019-2020 and CK Nayudu Trophy (U -25) 2022.

However, instead of breaking into the national circuit, Shreyas turned to a career in sports management. He says, “There is inherently a lot of creative intersection between cricket and creativity. You have to be creative and think uniquely in all situations. I also had the brand knowledge of various marketing areas in sports from the grassroot level and needed a boost to get into the details wherein, MICA being the central creative hub became my newly chosen career path.”

Festive offer

Prof Githa Heggde, Dean, MICA, said, “At MICA, we celebrate diversity. This year, in the PGP class of 206 students, we have a host of students with varied professional degrees including architects, lawyers, dentists, chartered accountants and a doctor. We also have a few students with postgraduate degrees in international journalism, sports management, and economics.”

Almost 50% women students

In terms of gender ratio of MICA’s new batch, 47 per cent of the batch across all three programs – flagship PGDM-C and PGDM, Crafting Creative Communications (CCC), and Fellow Program in Management (FPM) – are women, whereas 53 per cent cent are male students.

Of 235 students across all three programs, 110 are female students, whereas 125 are male students. Out of 206 students from the PGP batch, 90 are female students and 116 are male students, the institute stated.

Similarly, for the CCC program, 18 out of the batch of 24 students are girls, whereas the FPM batch has two women and three male scholars.

About 80 percent of the PGP class comprises students in the age group of 21-25 years. As many as 62 percent from across all programs come with prior work experience. Thus, the number of fresh-out-of-college students in the batch is 38 percent.

For 26-year-old Param Veer Chahal, who belongs to a family legacy of military service, joining the armed forces was his first choice. After studying law, he underwent training at Officers Training Academy, Chennai and Air Force Academy, Hyderabad as an officer cadet. However, little did he know that life had other plans for him. A knee injury at the last leg of his training compelled him to withdraw from flying and introspect further.

He says, “It was during this period of uncertainty that I started to read about different courses and colleges to study management and thus I came across MICA and MICAT. To my surprise, the exam was strikingly similar to the Armed Forces selection process, and the more I read about the institute and the curriculum, the more I felt that this would be the right fit for me.”

Another student, Dr Dhruvam Nanavati from Ahmedabad witnessed the healthcare system’s mismanagement and the scope of improvement the sector required during the Covid pandemic.

He said, “I was initially advised to join a course focused on healthcare management, but after a deep research, I found MICA’s preposition of right-left brain development and the challenges it will pose for my personal growth to be the perfect fit for me. .”

Representations from North East

There are a few voices for the North East too at MICA, this time. 24 year old Debaraj Roy, hailing from Tripura, is elated to be the first in his family to travel this far for studies. As COVID-19 upended everything around us, Debaraj, an engineer, utilized the lockdown period to prepare for management exams. “Marketing has always excited me as I try to find stories in everything around me. I have lived most of my life in Tripura, and this change was something I was looking forward to,” he shared.

Leaving Tripura and coming to MICA was a significant decision for Debaraj. His family, with a strong background in government service, had never ventured into management education. Being the first in his family to pursue this path, Debaraj felt a mix of excitement and responsibility.

“Northeast is a small world in itself, but MICA seems like the real world. My batch is very diverse, and that reflects in our day-to-day conversations.”

Kaustav Kaushik, 27 years old, from Assam says, “After my unsuccessful attempts at clearing the UPSC exam, I realized that the best way I could build my career post the lengthy gap period was through working on what my strengths were. I always had fun organizing and working in events, I felt MICA with its unique pedagogy was the ideal institute for me where I would have the best opportunity to learn.”

The highest number of students is from Maharashtra (46), Delhi (31), Gujarat (27), Uttar Pradesh (25). Additionally, the batch also has one student from Tripura and two from Assam. The institute has students from various disciplines like MBBS, Pharma, Architecture, Dentistry, Design, Law, and Finance.

Prof Ruchi Tewari and Prof Taral Pathak, Co-Chairs of Admissions at MICA, said, “With 71 per cent non-engineers in this batch, this shifting trend is a healthy sign indicating that students across all domains are equally competitive to make it to a premium B-school.”