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Working @ Mahindra
My role has evolved over the last year as a corporate resource on several initiatives and primarily on two new businesses: leisure boating and solar energy.
The boat venture was effectively a start-up. Thus, I got the best of both an entrepreneurial experience and access to the resources of a large organization. I was integral to developing a 5-year financial business plan for the boat company, based on which the company received venture funding from the Group. I also liaised with our internal Corporate Communications office to ensure broad press coverage of the company at the time of the launch in February 2009. Lastly, along with a team member, I was in charge of selecting the branding for the company, from power point design, to boat decals, to launching the company website. Over the course of my time on the boats project, I realized that not only are there exciting projects continuously taking place at the Group, but it is part of the Group philosophy to assign responsibility and accountability to all employees, right from the moment they join.
And speaking of exciting projects, I have spent the majority of my past few months on the Group’s solar energy venture. The solar space in India is at an inflection point, with proactive global interest, new and encouraging government policies and, importantly, abundant sunlight. The Group has been exploring the solar space in India and much of that evaluation has involved research on the industry and discussions with various technology players from the U.S. and Europe. So, my assignments have ranged from in-depth research on the industry, including an understanding of global and domestic players and tracking news on the sector, to making internal presentations on companies and the industry, to engaging, in meetings and conference calls, with people from across the globe. The breadth of my learning from my research, presentations and interactions has been remarkable and I believe that this exposure was, again, made possible by the Group’s emphasis on assigning responsibility to employees from the get-go.
The India Experience
I lived in India for my first 10 years, U.K for the next 8 ½ years and the U.S. for 4 years. So, India certainly wasn’t unknown territory for me. That said, before I came back to India last year, I hadn’t lived in India for 13 years. Together with the fact that India has changed dramatically over the last 13 years, adjusting back to a relatively new lifestyle in India has been a refreshing and enjoyable experience. How can I describe India? The “land of contradictions”, as Shashi Tharoor suggests, I think, is the most fitting description. For example, whilst Mahindra and many other companies make global business acquisitions, many Indians, especially in cities like Mumbai, don’t have a place to live. Facing these realities is part of the experience of living in India. But, while there is both success and strife, the openness of the culture – the fact that people across the country are friendly and always helpful - is widely evident and has certainly characterized my impression of India.
Hence, my adjustment to the social life in India has been unproblematic. As I have been in Mumbai over the last year, I can speak more about the people in Mumbai, who, in my opinion, are particular open and sociable. And because of the fact that Mumbaikers are willing to meet new people, I have continuously been able to meet a broad mix of new people.
Present: Associate, Mahindra Partners, Mumbai