Ankit Khandelwal, former chemical engineering student at Technical University of Denmark, created an alternative way to educate himself with a programme of self-directed learning. Patricia Mascarenhas reports
Twenty eight year old Aniket Khandelwal, a chemical engineering major, always loved complex engineering and mathematical problems. But in early 2012 he his potential of becoming a global business manager. “I had the confidence, knowledge and experience that made me realise the hidden potential I had to become a leader, a doer and a change maker,” says Khandelwal adding that this motivated him to have a clear vision of what he wanted to do. “First I went through an idea gathering which later turned into an implementation phase,” he adds.
So as part of his long term plan of becoming a 21st century global manager, Khandelwal started developing soft skills through participation in different activities like European Parliament Open Days, Young Environmentalist Camp in Azerbaijan and One Young World Leadership Summit. “These activities gave me the courage to believe that I had the ability to handle complex situations at a global scale,” he says adding that through conferences, networking, reports and related responsibilities he felt the excitement of being involved with people talking about complex issues.
To further understand global trends, Khandelwal read up on business news from USA, Germany, India, China, Russia and Latin America. “These readings have help me put many the economic, finance, and strategic theories in practice and understand them in real situations.,” he informs.
With so many elements attached to his ambition plan, following his dream with traditional university education seemed impossible, “Especially since the concept of ‘global manager’ has not yet developed in our curriculums,” says Khandelwal. Also, taking huge student loans to fund such expensive managerial education was out of the question. “My obsession was more with skills rather than degree therefore I decided to do things on my own without spending too much money and using easily available resources,” he adds.
That's when online education kicked in. “Online education has proven to be a disruptive factor that enables you to have access to seemless knowledge,” Khandelwal informs. However, it is crucial to pick the right ones that will suit your professional profile the best. Khandelwel used MOOCs and Open Course Ware (OCW) from schools like Harvard, Stanford, and MIT, through the platforms such as Coursera, edX, Eliademy. “My self designed programme list included courses on general management like operations, human resources, business strategy, studying culture and learning languages,” he informs adding that he practiced all the knowledge he learned in real life. “Knowledge cannot become skill, until it has been tested in real situations. I did not have luxury of internships, my best bet was to make the best use of available online and offline situations,” he adds.
Speaking about how this experience helped him he says, “The self study project is the biggest I have ever undertaken with information/ knowledge drawn from 50 direct and 200 indirect resources.” Although Khandelwal started working on this two years ago, it was more than seven to eight years of hard work that came together to redefine his profile to become a 21st century interdisciplinary professional. “Today, I am an engineer, who knows about market trends, can plan business strategies, take part in trade negotiations, understand government policies and guess the impact of monetary policy changes,” he signs off.