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Meet Viren Rasquinha - Olympian (12/25/2008)
Viren Wilfred Rasquinha, Olympian and India's hockey captain, gave up the game six months ago to join the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad. Rasquinha, who turned 28 on September 13, played for India in 180 international games.

Far from the hockey circuit now, Viren is enjoying his time at ISB, India's only B-School in the global Top 20. ISB has tie-ups with international schools like the London School of Business, Kellogg Graduate School of Management and The Wharton School.

Viren went through the entire competitive route of the admission process. He studied 3-4 hours every day, and scored 710 out of 800. He then made it through the Personal Interview and Group Discussion, and got selected to the ISB.

Viren's first exposure to the ISB campus was when he stayed there for the 2003 Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad.

Campus life interests him, especially the diverse backgrounds of his fellow students, many of whom are the best in their particular fields. There is a National Defence Academy topper with 5 gold medals, a Carnatic vocalist who has done more than 100 concerts, an Indian Police Service officer, and a doctor - Shankha Brata Bagchi - who has also served as a Superintendent of Police.

Says Viren: "It's not an easy life here. The ISB curriculum, which covers a full-time 1-year residential Post Graduate Programme in Management, can keep a student fully occupied. They say that on a good day at ISB, one gets five hours of sleep. But it's a fantastic experience to be surrounded by people who come from such different walks of life."

According to the ISB web site, the programme is comparable in rigor and content to a regular 2-year full-time MBA offered by global business schools.

Rasquinha says he learnt a lot as a hockey player from playing with people who came from various parts of the country. But this is something else. "I am sure being here will definitely make me a more knowledgeable person and I don't mean that in terms of academics alone."

So, does he miss hockey? Yes, but Rasquinha feels that he quit at the right time, even though he was among the most talented on the circuit. "I enjoyed my career thoroughly, but I always wanted to quit at the peak."

Among his special hockey moments, he counts representing the country at the Athens Olympics, and his first time as captain of India when he faced traditional arch-rival Pakistan.

Is he also glad that he quit before Indian hockey plunged into new depths as of late? "As a fan, I want to see the revival of Indian hockey, and it does pain me to see my former teammates going through such a phase." A phase, he is confident, that will pass.

Rasquinha does not think he will change the face of Indian sports when he graduates in 2009, but does intend to make an effort.

Says Viren: "Sports is my passion, and, eventually I want to do something related to sports management, marketing, media, or a combination of all three. There is very little organisation in Indian sports, and there needs to be a change in administration, and hopefully I would be able to work in that direction. An MBA in marketing will give me a broader base to do so."

Having lead the country's team, Viren takes with him into the corporate arena some hard lessons learned on the pitch

Viren likes to lead from the front. "I believe in leading by example. If you are not ready to get your hands dirty and be a hands-on leader, you will not get your team to do the same thing."

Viren quotes from the book 'One Minute Manager': "When you criticise a subordinate or a team member, criticise only his work, and for just one minute. Let him know that you expect from his work. Make no personal remarks. Similarly, if you praise someone, do it for one minute, or else it may go to his head! It's a very simple concept but the simple concepts of life help you a lot in your daily life."

Viren shares a lesson on self-belief that he learned on the hockey field.

"We had an Australian trainer for the Indian team. One Sunday I invited him for a Sunday mass with my family and me. The Australian told me 'I don't believe in God, but I believe in myself'. That's when it struck me - even if everyone else in the world does not believe in you, you should believe in yourself," Viren recalls.

Viren signs off: "I am very ambitious, and want to get to a position where I can take my own decisions and make a difference, be it as a CEO or anything else. I want to be in control of my destiny."

Based on articles in Business Standard and


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