I have lived and worked on three continents, but I still love to travel. I try to visit a new country every couple of months. This year I am spending my summer in Africa.
I find entrepreneurial satisfaction at McKinsey
I worked for McKinsey in India right out of college, then left to start two companies—one in travel services and one in software. I had a specific goal in mind: to learn the operational aspects of a business. Because I was so young when I started at McKinsey, I felt I didn’t really understand operations—things like how to look at a profit-and-loss statement or manage a large staff. My goal after selling the companies was to move back to McKinsey.
It was not hard to make the transition back to McKinsey, because you can be an entrepreneur within McKinsey as well. We help our clients with entrepreneurial issues.
My work is challenging and exciting
I was first exposed to the pharmaceutical industry as a junior associate in India. I liked it immediately. Now I serve pharmaceutical and medical products companies almost exclusively, mostly in sales and marketing.
There are three reasons why I love pharmaceuticals. First, the industry saves lives. We hear negative reports about pharmaceutical prices in the media, but the fact remains that the industry makes lifesaving products. Second, it’s highly innovative, constantly investing in new products and technologies. But because those innovations might not earn any returns for 10 years, the business requires complex thinking, which makes it more interesting. And third, it is a high-growth industry. Despite the risks, some new products go from nothing to a billion dollars in a short time.
I enjoy being a mentor and coach
We develop and coach people at multiple levels. It’s important, because you want to make sure you have good people on your teams who want to work with you. You coach people on content issues, on how to structure documents, how to communicate, and how to solve problems.
Often you counsel people on both work and personal levels. I was working with an associate who was a brilliant problem solver, but did not have good dynamics with other team members. After sitting down with the person to discuss the issue and figure out a resolution, the dynamics on the team changed dramatically.
Maturity has strengthened my relationships with clients
At McKinsey, I’ve become more mature in the way I work with senior client executives. I’ve learned to help them solve their problems rather than trying to solve the problems for them. Two years ago, as an engagement manager, I focused simply on solving the problem so as to have the highest impact. Now, although I still focus on having the highest impact, I work harder to have the client’s senior leaders be the ones to achieve that impact. That distinction has had a huge effect on me.
|Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta
||MBA, Strategy Studies
|Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi
||BEng, Information Technology