Mahendra M. Barve, GM, ITC (Batch 2011 - Goa Institute of Management), on why RESTLESSNESS IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS
In 1996, the world seemed to be at young Mahendra’s feet. He had just completed his M.Sc. in Food Tech from the best institute in India, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore, and cracked a campus placement with the dream company for any food technologist - Nestle. He joined Nestle as a QA & Production Officer - Coffee and Beverages. The initial years were full of opportunities: challenges of Quality Assurance, working in shifts, Production of variety of products, leading Packaging Development, participating in international projects to set targets for Asian and European markets, leading Innovation for Chocolates and Confectionery business. The going was tough and the learning steep; but Mahendra loved every bit of it, as it gave him a 360-degree exposure to the most prolific food business in the world.
Circa 2007…Mahendra was restless. He loved his work, and12 years into his career at Nestle, Mahendra was promoted to a Senior Manager level heading the Chocolates and Confectionery Innovation and Renovation. He was eager to make an earnest attempt to shape his career. Posted in Goa, Mahendra would often pass the Ribandar campus of Goa Institute of Management on his way to work.
“While passing GIM I would often dream of pursuing a course there,” recalls Mahendra Barve of those days. “I gathered inputs on PGDM (PT) and soon realised that it’s a wonderful platform for professionals like me. I wanted to add to my personal development and felt that GIM was the place that could take my professional contribution to society to a new level.”
Mahendra Barve applied and was selected to the Part-time PGDM (PT) batch of 2008 at GIM. “The Part-time program gave me an opportunity to instantly apply at my workplace what I learnt in the course. Work experience coupled with the curriculum was the best blend, I guess.”
As Mahendra realised, the Part-time PGDM at GIM had 760 hours of class work. In essence, it had the same academic rigor as any regular course. What particularly impressed him was GIM's great balance in the management curriculum. It comprised of a variety of facets that impact business: Consumers, People, Product, Customers, Finance, Revenue, Ethics, Information, Communication, etc.
“There were hands-on projects in a variety of subjects,” he says. “The faculty always took it up as serious business. It never felt that we were pursuing a part-time course. Some of the business simulation courses helped immensely. I recall Capstone particularly, where we run a company similar to the one where we work. This gave a great perspective in co-relating with nuances on how an actual business is run.”
While straddling between various priorities, Mahendra kept in touch with different subjects of management through books, TED talks, magazines, discussion with colleagues, etc. “GIM has a very good library as well,” he says.
Mahendra completed his PGDM from GIM in 2011 and within 6 months he found an opportunity with PepsiCo, a result of the business acumen he had gathered. His new designation read ‘Vice President –New Technology Development’.“GIM had delivered way beyond my expectations - both in terms of education and experience,” he says. “Leaving Nestle after 15 years was tinged with nostalgia, but I was moving to PepsiCo. It’s also an organization that truly cares for its people and has a focused approach to Innovation. The biggest honor was to receive the Innovation Excellence award from Ms. Indra Nooyi, CEO and Dr. Mehmood Khan, CSO at PepsiCo, and mentoring from some great coaches.”
In March 2015, Mahendra Barve was promoted to Associate Director at PepsiCo, but by then he was already mulling the next level. He made the switch to ITC in July 2015 as General Manager.
“Doing something you have a passion for is one thing; making a successful professional career out of it is quite another,” ponders Mahendra Barve. “GIM helped me understand how I could transcend this barrier.”
Mahendra, like every manager, knows he’s expected to shoulder the responsibility of an entire team. However, he credits his stint at GIM for opening his eyes to the importance of discerning impact-makers beyond his team.“In an organisation, beyond your own team there is a matrix team that does not report to you, and yet is important to your success and failure. It’s critical to know all these people in your matrix, and keep in touch with them. My experience suggests that an informal relationship and rapport that you build helps in getting more things done - and quicker - rather than just adhering to a reporting structure.”
He advises the young lot of GIM to look beyond the visible challenges like job profile, organization, customers, boss, salary, etc. There are many intangible challenges like location, travel time, accommodation, work station, colleagues, initial induction, gelling with the team, etc. which are equally important to enjoy your job.“If these are minor,” he explains,” take them in stride. In case they are making you restless, it is better to speak about it to your Manager. And if the restlessness persists, rise to the next level by empowering yourself with the right education.”In everything that you do, give 100% and don’t leave things to chance. Ordinary actions will give ordinary results – think out of box. Try to be the best in the field that you operate. Every individual is a brand and it’s in their own hands to create a brand value. It matters the way you dress, you speak, operate, and how you position yourself – this will all determine something called a “Brand”. Every individual is a brand.
Be restless and be successful!