Online Manipal has given me the wings to pursue my dream MBA degree: Hav Ningappa Nayak
Coming from a poor economic background did not hinder Havildar Ningappa Nayak from pursuing his Army dream. From a very young age, Hav Nayak was sure he would serve in the armed forces. With fire in his heart to serve the nation, Hav Nayak joined the Army when he was only 17 years old. While he was committed to his duties in the armed forces, he felt the need to build a strong academic background as well. After a lot of thinking, he pursued his BBA through distance education a few years ago. However, his passion for academics only grew and he wanted to pursue his master’s as well. Having dropped out of several universities due to poor support facilities, Hav Ningappa Nayak came across the online MBA degree from Manipal University Jaipur on the Online Manipal website. He enrolled the program with apprehension but ended up having a great experience. Having enrolled through the scholarship option available for defense personnel, today, he is a happy learner specializing in Human Resource Management.
This Army Day, we salute him and his contribution to the armed forces. We were fortunate to have interviewed him on this special day and learn from his inspiring journey with the armed forces. Read on to find out all about his service in the Army and his journey with Online Manipal.
When did you decide to join the Indian Army and serve the nation?
I belong to a poor family, but I always dreamt about joining the armed forces. When I was in 9th grade, at the age of 14, I started practicing rigorously to appear for Army exams and training. I was fortunate enough to pass my exams and training in the first attempt and was posted in Meerut at the age of 17.
What are the evergreen lessons you learned during your service in the armed forces?
The life of every soldier is filled with difficulties and hardships. We have overcome extremely difficult situations that I haven’t shared with anyone, including my family and friends. The Indian Army has given me so much that I can never return this favor to them. One of the biggest lessons I learnt during my 18 years of service in the Army is- never say no to new opportunities. When we are assigned a task, there is no option of saying no. Once the Lakshman Rekha is drawn, there is no looking back. I feel this rule not only applies to our professional life, but also in our personal life.
Most importantly, the Army has taught me to lead a disciplined life. We often get to deal with challenging situations but over time, we have learnt to overcome them. The Indian Army training also teaches us to strategically overcome difficult situations. In the Army, there is no bias. We live in peace and harmony with our fellow soldiers, irrespective of their caste, religion or where they come from. One thing that surprises me the most is we don’t envy each other’s achievements. We work as a team and ensure our duties are carried out.
Describe the best/most unforgettable memory during your service
The encounter of Burhan Wani, commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, in South Kashmir was one of the most unforgettable incidents during my service. The encounter triggered a massive agitation in Kashmir, and we had to face a never-seen-before situation. Peace in Kashmir was disturbed and Indian Army soldiers went through a tough phase.
Another unfortunate incident I would like to recall is the 2014 Srinagar floods. It was one of the most devastating days for Kashmiris. Several casualties were reported, and the Army was deployed to safeguard civilians. We struggled to provide food, water, shelter and medicines for the victims. However, the Army tried their best to bring the situation back to normal.
When did you decide to pursue an online degree?
The Indian Army has given several opportunities to ensure higher education to every soldier. I completed my BBA through distance education and was willing to pursue my masters as well. I decided to pursue an online degree considering its flexibility, accessibility and affordability. The lenience to study from any part of the world is the biggest boon of pursuing an online degree. As a Jawan, an online degree helped me fulfill my academic aspirations.
Why did you choose to pursue an online MBA from Manipal University Jaipur?
When I was deployed in Srinagar in 2018, I had taken admission in five different universities to pursue my MBA. However, they weren’t providing the necessary support and study materials to students. I faced a lot of difficulties, and I couldn’t complete my degree. When I moved to Lucknow, I got the opportunity to pursue my online degree from Manipal University Jaipur. I was quite apprehensive about the program considering my past experiences, but I have had a wonderful experience with the university, and with the support services of Online Manipal.
Describe your experience with Online Manipal
There are several aspects I loved about my online learning journey with Online Manipal. The programs are designed in such a manner that learners can understand concepts without any difficulty. As an Army man, I don’t have much time to dedicate to my academics. But the study material is easily understandable and includes pictorial representations of concepts.
The weekend classes turned out to be very convenient for me. I usually attend Saturday classes after work. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed Sunday classes. Moreover, the recordings of the live classes are immediately available on the LMS. This has been extremely helpful to me when I missed the live sessions due to work commitments.
The course mentors are approachable at any time in the day, and they have kept a check on me throughout the program. The webinars and guest lectures also turned out to be fruitful. The guest lecturers are experts in their field and have guided me in understanding several management related concepts. Even though I took up HRM as my elective, I got an opportunity to get an overview of other electives like marketing and information technology.
I completely made use of free access to paid Coursera content offered by Online Manipal. The courses in HRM and computer science were extremely helpful to me.
Did you attend the industry readiness webinars organized by Online Manipal ahead of the placement assistant drive?
Yes, I attended the industry readiness webinars, and I must say that Online Manipal has taken great effort in preparing learners ahead of the placement drive. From resume building, interview skills and group discussion skills, they have played a key role in guiding students and preparing them for interviews.
I would like to make a special mention to the student support team at Online Manipal. They’re exceptional. I faced a technical glitch in one of the examinations and I immediately received help and was able to complete my exam. This kind of support is very helpful to a jawan like me, since I often face network issues.
Has Online Manipal played a part in helping you fulfill your dreams?
For the last 8 years, I’ve been wanting to pursue my MBA degree. I faced several difficulties with other universities and had to drop out of the degree midway. Moreover, in the Army, we get posted to different locations across the country, so there is a great chance that our education is discontinued. However, Online Manipal is a great platform for the armed forces to pursue their higher education in the online mode and I’m extremely happy with the experience.
On Army Day, what would be your message for today’s youth and the armed forces?
It is very important for today’s youth to understand what happens within the armed forces. If they ever get a chance, they must spend at least 4-5 years in their lifetime serving the Army. The armed forces instill valuable lessons that no other profession can.
Speaking about the armed forces, I can’t thank it enough for the once-in-a-lifetime experiences it has given me. They not only take care of us, but our families too. I would like to thank and salute every Indian Jawan on this Army Day.
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