Mentor Stories

Sales and Marketing Career Journey – Insights from our mentor Ninad

Hello everyone! We the entire team of GoCrackIt feel immensely delighted to bring a stalwart in the area of Sales & Marketing, who believes that success never comes handy nor is it a family owned honor. Presenting insights from our discussion with Mr. Ninad Bhave, an IIM Ahmedabad alumnus and the Director of Client Success at Visionet Systems Inc.

Shobha:   Ninad, it’s a pleasure having you with us today. GoCrackIt family extends heartfelt gratitude for giving us the opportunity to share your career journey and learning, with the vibrant young professionals who stepping into the corporate world.

Ninad: Thank you Shobha. I am pleased to be associated with GoCrackIt since last year. And, it was a great opportunity to interact with various mentors and students and I’m looking forward to more years to come.

Shobha: You started your journey at San Jose State University. From there you joined Plantronics as Patent Engineering professional in 2007 and then you moved back to India in Transparent Energy Systems. Tell us about this journey.

Ninad:I went to the US to do my Bachelor’s and Master’s and yes, it was tough because I was also paying for it myself which was not easy as a foreign student but it was a very rewarding journey. I remember, I was part of a team that designed and launched a satellite, when we were in college, which for me, even now, is a proud moment.

I came back to India in 2009 and started working in renewable energy for the next 5 years till I went to IIM Ahmedabad.  There were times when I questioned my own decisions, after coming back to India. From Plantronics, as an Engineering Analyst, with a good pay, back then it was making $70-75000/year then coming back to India and being in an Assistant Manager role, which is quite junior – back in those days I used to say this to myself – ‘you have made the biggest mistake of your life, as here you are going to struggle’. But, in terms of using my core skill set, it gave me a big-time opportunity. This I felt was more important to me. Assistant Manager was really the lowest level in the management hurdle that one could start at, especially sales. That too in India, which was a new environment for me. It was challenging but the company had a very strong technical background so I was able to learn a lot and had a very good exposure.

Shobha:You had a commendable working experience with lot of business exposure. So, what made you stop and pursue your MBA? And what transformation could you relate in both your journeys?

Ninad: Great question! I always thought technical skills are harder to acquire and marketing is just something you pick up. As I started working I realized that marketing is a zone of art, and sales is really a zone of dark art. In the US the technical degree is valued more. It’s a very matured decision and as a result most people in the US who do MBA have some experience definitely.

In India, its different. It was actually a sentence from a recruiter that hit me, “Sir, aapke pass to MBA BHI nahi hai.”

I took up an MBA just for a tag on my profile. But that one year at IIM Ahmedabad changed my life. It gave me a perspective to see things, both at the granular level and at the 30,000 ft. level, from a diverse peer set and of course world class professors & environment. All my experiential knowledge had a theoretical basis to it. It taught me that look here is the theory, here is the practical and here is the gap. So, you are able to look at things from a 360-degree angle. Second, I have never been exposed to Finance, Organizational Behavior. So, from that formal training, I started to look at businesses holistically. So, how a business makes money is no longer a mystery. One recognizes that it is difficult to do. It has parts and those parts can be broken down. It was a great learning time for me and that has taught me skills about Indian Industry which I will carry with me forever.

Shobha: Great to know about how your life transformed after graduating from IIM Ahmedabad. So, how much do you think that being a fresher or being experienced matters? And if it does then do you think that later also in their career will experienced people have an upper hand over the inexperienced ones?

Ninad: See, there are a couple of things right! First, let us just look at the MBA experience itself. When you come purely from a college, assuming you have never worked before, you have no exposure to the workplace and when you come into an MBA, there everything is about the workplace. Even when we did engineering, in our college, we have practical along with theory, we want to see things in action. I personally feel that people will actually benefit the most from an MBA when they have spent a little time in the workplace, before they study management. That’s my personal opinion.

The person who is going to get recruited from the campus as a fresher is going to be put into a set development track by an organization, which understands very well how to groom them. Whereas the person who already had experience and then gets an MBA, is not expected frankly and also will not accept, going back at the ground level, unless they are completely changing track. I admire the dynamism of courage of such people who decide to make the choice despite many facts, because they know that the MBA will be a favorable direction for them. So, I don’t think there is any comparison between the two frankly.

Shobha: I am sure this time is too short to capture your career journey. However, it surely gives the idea to the students who are about to enter the corporate world and its know-how. Can you please throw some light on key skill sets in the area of Sales and Marketing, which would be relevant now? And, how does MBA help in upskilling ourselves?

Ninad: Right now, people are very fortunate, that they live in an era of cheap internet. So, learning opportunities are infinite and, whether you are an MBA student whose internship is on hold or a person who is working, do not lose the opportunity to learn online. Secondly, I feel that a lot of people go into their shell when things become uncertain. No, this is the best time in the world to network. Networking also means being willing to help for no return. One of the reasons why I love to mentor through GoCrackIt is, I’m working with people who have significant experience, who are adults, and it becomes an interaction. It becomes an exchange medium.

Shobha: Thank you so much Ninad for your valuable inputs for our students, our readers, and working professionals. We would love to hear from you in future again to learn from your experiences

Ninad: Sure! whenever you want to, happy to talk, happy to help in any way.

Interviewed by Sobha Mukherjee

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