The mindset of a transition by former IPL player

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Sushant Marathe played for the Mumbai Indians, one of the Indian Premier League (IPL) most successful franchises, for four years. He played alongside cricketing greats, Sachin Tendulkar, Michael Hussey, Ricky Ponting and was coached by the likes of Shaun Pollock and Jonty Rhodes

Through the IPL Sushant got to meet people from different cultures and witness how the definitions of professionalism vary from one country to another. How different players approach their games and their lives outside the game as well.

“The one thing that stood out for me and has stuck with me ever since is that in India cricket is viewed as a sport based on skills. So if you are talented enough people give you the time of day, whereas for Australians and South Africans they value attitude over talent. That’s something that I found fascinating.”

Sushant Marathe

Sushant says that Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar or Michael Hussey wouldn’t stress on the skill levels or the natural talent of a player, but would rather observe if the attitude of a player was appropriate. Attitude is something that is very intrinsic and it’s very difficult to coach someone to have a good attitude. If you show the right attitude they were of the opinion that skills can be taught.

Having spent countless hours in net sessions, video analyses, airplanes and hotel lobbies with top sports performance minds, Sushant explains the key takeaways for him. “They would essentially focus on the process and not so much on the outcome. Everyday the quest was to perfect the process and to have the belief that the outcome would take care of itself if you had followed the right processes.”

sushant marathe

According to Sushant, in India, the focus instead, is on getting the job done: “Ultimately this leads to some level of chaos and more often than not you were not successful because you were not following the right processes.”

The former wicket-keeper batsman has taken this into different aspects of his life, and in particular, into his transition to a career in finance. He is officially retired from cricket and is currently completing his MBA through the London Business School.

“Preparing for the MBA entrance exam and applying to some of the top colleges in the world and getting through one year in an extremely competitive environment has been a challenge. For me, staying structured and focused on the process and not worrying about the eventual outcome has really helped.”

Advice for the corporate world that Sushant learned from playing sport:

 

  • Turn pressure into a positive Being comfortable under pressure is something that you tend to learn very quickly in your sporting career. If you cannot handle pressure you cannot go up the ranks. As you go up the ranks the pressure increases and there’s a lot more at stake. You can go one of two ways; you can wither away or you can rise to the occasion and let the pressure stimulate you and stir you on rather than having a negative effect. 

 

  • The ability to lead and to follow orders is crucial. In cricket one day you may be the captain and then at a later stage you may be an ordinary team player who has to follow orders. You have to be comfortable doing both otherwise you will not have a sustained career in a cricket side. For me, as a previous captain, this will be invaluable in a corporate team.

 

  • The ability to deal with failure This is a comparison I have been able to make since I came to the London Business School and saw how people from different backgrounds handle failure. In cricket the law of averages is such that you will fail more times than you will succeed. In spite of having an average of more 99, Sir Don Bradman failed more then he succeeded. How you pick yourself up and ensure that the failure doesn’t play on your mind is crucial and something I have become accustomed to over the years.

Thinking of a move to business? Here’s how Sushant views the role of Finance and why he is drawn to it.  “Finance is the nucleus of business”

He worked on his own startup before attending London Business School. “Working in a team of three or four you tend to do everything possible, from operations to marketing, to finance. Having been through that I realised that finance is the nucleus of all businesses. All other departments have to flow through finance in order for the business to make financial sense. It allows you to go really deep into the business and to take a step back for  a holistic view on things. That is something that attracted me to finance.”

Finally he believes that finance can play a positive a positive role in today’s changing world: “Most decisions today are driven by macroeconomic and geopolitical considerations. Given the fact that things are so volatile, individuals and corporations are going to need even more assistance in how to manage their wealth. Having professional, technical advice in how to maximise your investment portfolio will be on the rise rather than on the decline. At least that’s how I see it.”

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