When Mallik Gadipudi completed his MBA in Human Resources at AUT and took on a 2degrees customer care specialist role, his Dad back in India was perplexed and angry. Why was he going to work in a call centre after doing a postgraduate qualification?
Mallik didn’t see it that way. For him it was a strategic step he needed to take to overcome a lack of experience in the New Zealand workplace.
“I had been rejected from other job offers and the feedback that stuck with me was I didn’t understand the Kiwi way! So, I realised I needed to learn about the NZ workplace culture to get my dream job,” explains Mallik.
He thrived in the customer care role, winning accolades for his ability to handle difficult customers etc across the organisation. His self confidence and resilience grew, and within 18 months Mallik moved up to an account manager role for 2degree’s SME segment.
He stayed at 2degrees for three years, then moved into a national sales manager role for KPL Distribution, a fast-moving consumer goods company with seven employees. A year on it has nearly doubled to 13. Being part of the expansion of KPL Distribution from a small business to a thriving fast-moving consumer goods company has been exciting and fulfilling, says Mallik.
Over a lot of his time at university Mallik struggled with depression and anxiety, something he started to overcome through listening to hip hop music, particularly Indian regional hip hop artists.
“A lot of their lines would hit me hard, and I started drawing parallels to what I was doing or not doing, and my reactions to things out of my control. It gave me a different perspective on life,” says Mallik.
As he settled into his career he began thinking about how he could use the skills he was developing in his professional journey to give back to the artists he loved. In 2020, in his spare time, Mallik founded Minimum KKB Entertainment Group to provide a platform for young independent music artists trying to make their way in the music world and needing a safe space to develop.
“I had a lot of dreams of my own when I was young that I was not allowed to pursue so I really now want to help others fulfil their dreams.”
This can be anything from organising a music engineer to help arrange tracks, to getting a graphic designer to do artwork or someone to shoot and edit a video.
The platform takes up most of his spare time but he loves it.
“Working for KPL, while running the music production company, keeps me in a good place mentally.”
This dual career would never have happened without the guidance of the Employability and Careers service at AUT.
“They really helped me. I had done an IT degree in India, but it hadn’t inspired me. Then after discussions with the E Lab team I chose to do major in Human Resources for my MBA,” says Mallik who realised that working with people, providing solutions to people and talking to people was what he really enjoyed.
“I learned through Employability and Careers that it is important to work out what will make you happy as well. I really advise people to be open to this. A lot of international students don’t have career plans. They just work on their resume and try for good grades to get a job, not thinking about what a fulfilling job would be.”
While doing his study Mallik continued to use Employability services, attending workshops and meeting with employability specialists for help with networking, interview practice and writing his CV and cover letter.
“The work culture is quite different here compared to India. So is networking and writing your CV,” says Mallik, admitting it took him two to three months to realise he needed to change his approach and his CV.
He encourages all international – and domestic – students to take the time to visit the Employability Lab and have a chat about their dreams and possible career paths. “Where do you want to be in three to five years? Think about that, not just about getting any kind of job.”
It certainly worked for him. 11 years since starting his professional career, Mallik feels successful and happy, working for an SME with a vision and work culture he loves, while enabling young artists to follow their dreams.
If you are wondering about whether you're on the right path, Employability and Careers can help. Go to Elab Online and check out our workshops or book a one-on-one appointment with one of our career specialists.
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Written by AUT careers writer Angela McCarthy