Global Programme Director, Shell
Mr Ravi Jain is an alumnus from the 1992 batch of the MMS Programme and is currently in a Global role as Programme Director at Shell India. With over 20 years of Industry experience, Mr. Jain has worked in various sectors such as FMCG, Healthcare, Retail etc. He is an Executive with proven success as a global business head with expertise in driving P&L, business leadership, sales & marketing, delivery, operations, project management, business strategy & brand management. He also has experience in building new business, setting business direction, managing global client relationships and global delivery models.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q1) What is/are the most cherished memory/memories that you can recollect from your times at NMIMS?

From academics, my most cherished memory was that of case studies, because we had to form groups for them, work in collaboration with a lot of people, especially the hostel junta and also brainstorm on ideas as well as timings that would fit all. Along with all this we also had to make presentations as well as present counter arguments, thus helping us learn a lot.

My second memory revolves around my teachers, especially Mr.Dadbbawala who taught us finance & Mr. Mankekar, who was for another section, and both of these teachers influenced our deep understanding and interest of stock market. Another teacher I want to talk of is Dr. Rajan Saxena, who taught us marketing and had a unique style of teaching. Besides academics and professors one of my most cherished memories is my hostel days. I lived in the SVKM hostel, which was real fun with gossip sessions, movies, group studies, friendship & some “interesting parties”, especially in Centaur hotel.

Q2. Which books find a place on your bookshelf ?

The first book that comes to my mind is “First break all the rules” by Marcus Buckingham
“Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind” by Al Ries and Jack trout. I still read this book once in a while. “Power of now” by Eckhart Tolle is another brilliant book and I read this book once every now and then. Apart from this Shiv Khera has written some brilliant books.

Q3. Which hobbies do you pursue?

Currently, I have been doing yoga, as it helps in making my body flexible as well as has a calming effect on the body because of meditation. It also helps in self-reflection. I have made yoga an early morning habit and try to keep myself physically fit. I also play tennis and swim regularly and enjoy doing physical activities in the mornings because if you feel good in the mornings, you enjoy the entire day. The second hobby I would say is music, and this something that I have enjoyed from college days and my taste varies from Kishore Kumar to rock music. The third is travelling, “the holiday travel” part and not business travel. I always try & travel every year with my family. I have travelled to 25 states in India & about 15 countries; only four states are left from the seven sisters in the east. When I was working for Gillette in Calcutta as Regional manager, I got the opportunity to see various parts of north east.

Q4. Can you please share any insights from your professional life that inspired or motivated you?

For this question, I would like to talk of both my IIT days as well as my NMIMS days. In IIT, I learnt that hard work always pays off, and once you get into the rigor of hard work it stays with you for the rest of your life.
In NMIMS we had a teacher, Mr. Gondlekar, he was a visiting faculty from Godrej, and taught us operations. He would always scold us when we did a bad job, and he pushed us to our limits so that we do better work. And this helped me realize that we must always put our best foot forward. When I was working in Satyam, now called Tech Mahindra, back in the year 2007 – 2008 in the US, I would hear of people closing deals at 40 – 50 million dollars, and this was something which eluded me. But my boss would always motivate me, increased my zeal and gave me examples of all the people who reached that level. And this motivation inspired me to achieve my personal best, which was 25 million dollars pa deal, and I must thank my boss then for having the faith in me and an attitude of “one can do”.

Q5. How did you shape your career from the time you left NMIMS and what lesson does it have for students?

I split my career into two parts, the first ten years I worked in FMCG, like typical MBA, desiring to go to the hot sector. I did my best and joined a FMCG company via the placement process, after which I went to Marico followed by Gillette P&G. My role in each of these companies was in the sales and marketing domain. After this I moved to IT marketing, by
moving to Satyam (Tech Mahindra). The one thing that I have learnt from my father and others is that adaptability is very important, so when the FMCG sector became stagnant and I got an offer from the IT sector, I switched my job from Gillette to Satyam. . Over the years, I have realized that we need to have people management as a core skill, be it managing your bosses, your peers or your juniors since it is the team which makes all the difference. These are a few of the things I would like to point out, and the lesson I would like to leave for the students is that be adaptable and open to change as the career progresses, and also do what you like, where your “heart” is .

Q6. Looking back at the past, is there something that you wish you had done differently with respect to your student life?

By and large I feel my student life was pretty decent, but maybe I could have deep dived into some of the topics or subjects would have been more helpful to me in my career.

Q7. What are the habits a student must inculcate to gain the most from an MBA course?

There are about three to four areas which are very important as you move up your career ladder or the entrepreneurial ladder. First and foremost are the communication skills and these come into play by the means of presentations, case studies, meetings and group activities. I feel students should use these two years to hone their skills as much as possible,
as this will help on both corporate ladder and entrepreneurial ladder. And this also includes the written communication and your physical communications. The way you sit, stand, speak, your behavior in a conference, people observe everything.

Second is the people management, the way you manage your juniors, bosses and peers, how you interact with them, build relationships all of these matter because the people around have a deep impact on how you move up to the next level. For e.g. in a company like Gillette, the offices are spread across 50 countries, and If you want a report or information from someone in another country who doesn’t report to you , all of this will depend on your art of managing people.

The third habit is evaluating what is the value that you are adding to the organization. Because people like to see value addition, so as an employee or a student you must always ask yourself- “I am adding value to this group?” So it’s very important to bring out the value element in yourself. Only then your job, and career is secured and this helps you enjoy your work and also gives you satisfaction. These are the habits that students must build along with must have qualities like respect, integrity, ethics etc.

Q8. Any advice that you would like to give our budding managers at NMIMS drawing from your own journey?

The way I have gone about my journey is that I have always made the short term plan, like where do I see myself in the next 6 months to 2 years? In order to achieve my short term plan, what I need to do and how should I go about it. For long term, I make a 3 – 5 year plan, I am clear about what my next position will be , I then plan for it and go from there towards my goal. The second important advice would be, if possible choose good bosses. Whenever we go for jobs or interviews we focus on the companies whereas the boss or your manager makes the most difference, so if you get a choice or opportunity, choose a good boss (little tough but if there is an option in existing company try and do this ). Also try and do variety of roles, because now there is no concept of retirement, and even when you do retire you work on something different. Most of us will work for almost 40 years, may be in different roles after 55 or 60. I have lived in about 5 different cities in USA and in India. It’s good to build variety but don’t go completely off the track, as that becomes a little risky. So you have to learn to balance as well. Important to enjoy the journey!!!. All the best to everyone.