I am pursing an online BBA, and plan to do an MBA too: Lt Lalita Thambi
Lt. Lalita Thambi is an ex-army person who has served in the Indian Military Nursing Services (MNS), a part of the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) of the Indian army. MNS officers are an integral part of the country’s war efforts, humanitarian assistance, rescue operations, hospital ships and submarines, and serve the Indian troops from the highest battlefield to the vast desert lands of India. Lt. Thambi shifted to the private sector about three decades ago and is now working for Fortis Healthcare. She is pursuing a BBA from Online Manipal, with the hopes of completing an MBA as well. We approached Lt. Thambi for an interview, and she agreed to share her experience in the army and as a civilian with us.
Why did you decide to join the army?
I was fascinated by the dedication of soldiers at the border and wanted to learn and experience their tough life routine. Also, the uniform itself was quite attractive with stars on the shoulders!
At the time of my admission into military nursing, there was only one gateway for women to enter the Indian Army and that was via the Army Medical Corps. I was in my final year pursuing B.Com (Hons.) at Delhi University when the Indian Army opened the intake for non-science students. I was fortunate to get into AMC despite being a commerce student. Indeed, the process for the same was quite robust!
Describe your military experience
Since I was part of the MNS, I was part of the rescue team of 181 MH, responsible for handling emergencies like accidental fall of vehicles and buses into the deep valley. I also trained in rifle drills and weapon safety since all MNS personnel are expected to serve in field areas. I also took part in inter-unit badminton matches both doubles and singles and was a champion!
What were the life-altering lessons you learnt during your service?
Customs and courtesies are ingrained at every level in our military. Respect for chain of command, for each other, for civilians, and even for enemies is always first and foremost. This applies while working, training, and even during your personal time. We learn to be good at a handful of things through specialization and that sets us apart. Last, but not least, by learning to obey, I learnt how to command.
During my service, I learnt values like discipline, bravery, selflessness, and adaptability. We were all taught how to make winning a habit and to never shy away from hard work. Military life and service requires a sharp eye and attention to detail, which helps me in everyday life. I was able to develop leadership and ownership skills during my service.
Military rejuvenates your sense of optimism and passion to achieve lifelong goals. It is undeniable that military service changes you for the good and makes you want to be the person your society, colleagues, friends, and family members can be proud of.
How does it feel transitioning back to civilian life?
The decision to separate from the military and transition into the civilian workforce carries many challenges. Both work-role and personal identity transitions occur when one leaves the military. There are the practical considerations, such as where to live and what sort of education or work to pursue. But there are also emotional challenges for service members and their families. Whether it’s a short stint in the military or a long career, it can be a tough change in the first few months – and even years – after finishing your service.
How did the shift to the private sector happen?
It was not a choice but an opportunity that fell into my lap. I was approached by an Australian laboratory that wanted to launch in the Indian market with 32 branches across the National Capital Region. They were looking for a supervisor with a military background to train their nurses and phlebotomists. I was offered this opportunity and successfully launched my career as a Staff Development and Education Officer.
I have been working in the private sector, corporate offices, international and national NGOs for almost 30 years. I always wanted to pursue an MBA in HRM but somehow my hectic work-life schedule after the army didn’t allow me any ‘me time’. Now that I have that in hand, I’m doing what I always wanted to and will look for a different line of work to start as a challenge.
What does your future look like?
I have keen interest in starting a small-scale business of my own and a human resource management organization which has both training and development streams. My total work experience has helped me acquire the skills required for both. After my online BBA from Manipal University Jaipur, I will complete an MBA and supplement my learning with industry-relevant Coursera courses that are provided by Online Manipal.
Information related to companies and external organizations is based on secondary research or the opinion of individual authors and must not be interpreted as the official information shared by the concerned organization.
Additionally, information like fee, eligibility, scholarships, finance options etc. on offerings and programs listed on Online Manipal may change as per the discretion of respective universities so please refer to the respective program page for latest information. Any information provided in blogs is not binding and cannot be taken as final.
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