Sunday, July 16, 2006

Maverick Profile

Hi. I'm taking time out from between hurried efforts at completing the Services Marketing assignment that needs to submitted tomorrow and frantically searching for my lost napkin (to be later converted into a mystery titled "The Case of the Missing Napkin").

Maverick Profile is a component of our Services Marketing module, wherein we need to profile a "non-placement office choice of an MBA". So, here's what I wrote.


“Never Give Up, Never Give In!”

This is the account of a man who had the courage to climb the highest mountains known to man.

Not opting for campus placements from one of the premier management institutes in the country was just another pebble in the path.

Malli Mastan Babu was born to a farmer’s house in Gandhi Jana Sangam village in Andhra Pradesh. He attended Sainik School at Korukunda, where he came in contact with army mountaineers and was fascinated by their sense of adventure. “Lt MUB Rao was with the Indian Army Expedition team who lost their lives in an avalanche while trying to scale Mt Everest,” Mastan says.

Whether it was this hero worship, longing for adventure or just a natural talent that had to surface, we do not know. What we do know is that Babu started excelling in sports and academics early on. He won the best swimmer award, passed NCC A&B Certificates, obstacle competition races and stood in the merit list of National Level Science Talent Search exam at school.

Babu went on to complete his graduation in Electrical Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur (1992-1996). Here too he continued to excel in sports; he became the athletics captain, was a runner-up at the All India Volley Ball Tournament and stood 1st in a 6 km cross country race.

Next, the man from Nellore headed for IIT Kharagpur (1996-1998) to pursue his Masters of Technology in Electronics. Here too his passion for sports showed up. He won prizes in water polo, aquatics and volley ball tournaments.

He went on to work as senior software engineer at Satyam Computer Services Ltd for three years. This was followed by pursuing an MBA degree from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (2002-2004).

Here, ambition started taking a more definite shape.

Mastan Babu founded the Adventure Club of IIM Calcutta. The club organized several events ranging from health weeks, hiking, high altitude trekking (upto 15,500 feet), skiing, snow climbing, ice climbing to Yoga, Art of Living and Vipassana meditation course. For his initiatives at IIM Calcutta, he was awarded the “Dr. B.C. Roy award for best outstanding contribution to campus life”.

However, mountaineering always remained close to his heart. He attended several mountaineering and adventure courses in the Indian Himalayas. He underwent snow and ice climbing training. He also did several solo high altitude treks in Gangotri region such as Tapovan and Nandan Ban including spending a solo night in the formidable Gangotri glacier.

The time had come to take a decision.

Malli Mastan Babu opted out of the placement process in 2004, opting to start his own adventure tourism company by the name 'Mast Adventures'. But first, it was the call of the peaks.

The Nellore man now wanted to set a world record by scaling the seven highest summits in the seven continents in the shortest time. And in the process, also become the first Indian to attempt the 7 summits.

Obviously, climbing these mountains is no joke. From Malli Mastan’s website (, “Oxygen deprivation, 40 degrees sub zero temperatures, wildest snow storms, avalanches, extreme fatigue and exhaustion, days of despair and whipping weather are the unavoidable challenges encountered by those aspiring to achieve this feat. Physical stamina, mountaineering skill & experience, mental strength and complete knowledge about these peaks will only prove to be very good tools of survival.”

Lack of oxygen was not a problem for Mastan Babu, but lack of funds was certainly a problem. The cost of the seven climbs worked out to $ 110,953. Babu sought help from friends and alumni of IIM-C. Help came in the form of veteran mountaineer Capt. (retired) M.S. Kohli of the Himalayan Environment Trust in New Delhi. The trust sponsored Babu's ambitious project to climb the highest peaks in all the seven continents of the world within six months.

Malli Mastan Babu’s conquest over the next six months can be summarised thus:

January 19, 2006 à Mt. Vinson Massif, Antarctica

February 17, 2006 à Mt. Aconcagua (Argentina), South America

March 15, 2006 à Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Africa

April 1, 2006 à Mt. Kosciuszko (New South Wales), Australia

May 21, 2006 à Mt. Everest (Nepal), Asia

June 13, 2006 à Mt. Elbrus (Russia), Europe

July 10, 2006 à Mt. Denali (Alaska), North America

Barely a week ago, Malli Mastan Babu has smashed the world record to become the fastest to ascend the 7 summits (171 days).

Next on his agenda?

“I want to roll out my own business by promoting adventure sports for personality development,” says the electrical engineer, management graduate and adventurer.

Doesn’t opting out of the placement process by an MBA sound almost mundane in comparison to Malli Mastan Babu’s other achievements?



arpz said...

a good write up , unbeaten track , im reminded of this IIM passout from who wants to start a catering company rather than opting for placements

Shekhar said...

arpz: Thanks arpz. And if you were talking about the person who graduated this year from IIM-A, it was Mr. Sarath Babu. You can read more about him here:

arpz said...

hmmm , so was this piece inspired by him or how?

Shekhar said...

My article was actually a submission for a class project...but midway through my research on Malli Mastan Babu, it acquired a much larger scope. I visited his home page, which again bore down on me his HUGE accomplishment. And...just like that, he became one of my heroes. :)

Anonymous said...

It is easy to lead than to inspire. It is easy to manage than to motivate. Live not just for a living but to chase your dreams while you neither give in nor give up. Thanks for a well written summary of a truly endeavouring character.

(junior to Mastan at SSK, AP.)

Shekhar said...

Gagan: Thanks Gagan.

balaji said...

Good one!

Anonymous said...

nice 2 meet him 2day..................good piece filled with all qualities
but 1 thing .. his english was not perfect...........being of iit and iim