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Strathclyde Business School

About turn! From the military to a corporate career thanks to the MBA

By Atul Chavan - Posted on 9 May 2024

Atul Chavan made the move from a military career to civilian life via the Strathclyde MBA. Here, he shares how it helped him move on to a new career. 

Before starting my MBA at the University of Strathclyde Business School, I served in the Indian Army for over two decades. Joining in May 2000, I fulfilled roles in the Infantry and as a helicopter pilot in Army Aviation. My final position was as Director at The National Cadet Corps Directorate, overseeing basic military training for students in North East India.

Several factors influenced my decision to pursue an MBA. After a 22-year military career, I aimed to transition smoothly into civilian life. Transitioning from the highly disciplined and structured life of the army, I found myself yearning for growth and new opportunities.

Graduating from the National Defence Academy, I had never experienced a traditional college or university setting. Recognising the value of structured learning, I sought to reflect on my experiences, identify strengths, and prepare for a second career. Enrolling in an MBA programme, surrounded by diverse classmates and world-class professors, fulfilled a long-held dream of mine. To have an international perspective, I chose Strathclyde for its esteemed reputation, triple accreditation, and January intake, aligning perfectly with my retirement from the military in December 2022.

The structure of the Strathclyde MBA programme was excellent, offering a comprehensive overview of business. I was thoroughly impressed by the professors' expertise and passion for their subjects, and the business school's administrative staff invested in our success through meticulous programme planning, valuable external engagements, and consistent counselling sessions.

Interacting with my professors was a highlight for me. I made sure to attend every class, actively participate, and seek clarification when needed. I was eager to learn and found the structured assignments particularly beneficial. They helped reinforce our learning and apply it effectively. Group assignments also provided valuable lessons, teaching me to appreciate different perspectives, manage conflicts, and deliver results efficiently.

I loved attending the MBA conferences hosted by both our university and the University of Edinburgh and which involves Strathclyde, Edinburgh and Glasgow universities. These events allowed me to connect with students from diverse backgrounds. Another highlight was the visit to Advanced Clothing Solutions (ACS), where we witnessed their operations and learned about their promotion of circular and sustainable fashion.

If you are considering doing an MBA, my main tip is to be clear about your goals: whether it's about personal growth, broadening your horizons, or relocating to the UK if you’re an international student, having a clear vision is crucial. Once you have that clarity, focus on taking the steps to achieve your objectives.

Following my MBA, I have now joined Amazon in Wakefield, Leeds, as an Operations Manager – this is a milestone for me, and I credit my MBA for helping me secure this position. My military background proved valuable as I could align it with the business needs during the interview. Being clear about my contributions to the business gave me confidence throughout the process. Moreover, Amazon often seeks MBA-qualified candidates for this role, which, combined with my experience and leadership skills, enabled me to excel in the interview and secure the position.

I am excited about my new job and being in Leeds but Glasgow has become a second home to me. After living here for over a year, I've grown to love it. The friendly people, lively culture, and bustling city life make me feel right at home. The beauty of Glasgow and its surroundings is endless, and I never tire of exploring. Whenever I have free time, I look forward to returning to Glasgow and revisiting all my favourite spots.

Contact details

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Strathclyde Business School
University of Strathclyde
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