Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tête-à-Tête with Abhinav Agarwal

Abhinav Agarwal
Director of Product Management

Total Years of Experience: 17
Role Before Joining PGSEM: Product Management
Role After Completing PGSEM:  Product Management

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have been living in Bangalore for the last 10 years, am married and have two daughters. I have a BE (Hons) degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Mumbai, and in 2006 graduated from IIMB’s PGSEM program. My hobbies are mostly reading and photography, and I cover both of these on my blog, at http://blog.abhinavagarwal.net/  

Q. Please describe your current job/role that you perform?
My role is product management at Oracle, and I am a Director of Product Management and Strategy. In that capacity I am responsible for our company’s Business Intelligence Mobile product, advanced data visualizations, and spatial analytics, all within the Oracle BI EE suite. I also engage with partners, customers, and our marketing and sales organizations to help our customers be successful with our company’s tools and products.

Q. What would be the most challenging aspect of your role?
 Managing the time difference between Bangalore, where I live and work out of,  and Redwood Shores, where the development of the products I am responsible for happens, has been the single most challenging aspect of my role.

Q. How did PGSEM help transform your career?
 PGSEM helped provide a broader perspective to what I do. The disciplines of marketing and strategy mostly so, but also other disciplines like Human Resources and Finance helped me better understand the context and background in which companies operate. Certain theories and constructs like Porter’s Five Forces, Christensen’s Theory of Disruptive Innovations, Moore’s Chasm Theory, and Teece’s complementarity's of assets - have all hugely influenced me. I was fortunate enough to be doing product management when I joined the PGSEM program, so the learning’s from the PGSEM program could be applied directly to my job.

Q. What are the trends that you see in the business space today in terms of the skill requirements and the supply of the same?
The rapidly growing market and the spread of technology is enabling the rise of a new class of techno-entrepreneurs in India today. The scale of the market affords Indians today the opportunity to create new businesses and ventures that can be originated, funded, staffed, launched, and made successful entirely in India. This was not the case even five or ten years ago. The next ten years will see several billion dollar startups emerge from India. While entrepreneurs will be the original product managers of new ventures, what these companies will need and require will be world-class product managers - to articulate and drive strategy and product direction. The companies that can find and retain such product managers are the ones that will stand a greater chance of succeeding in the marketplace.


Q. Describe THE incident which has influenced you the most to be what you are today.
 There has not been any one single incident, but there have been a few incidents that have helped me evolve my philosophy towards my professional and even personal life. The most important I would consider the birth of my daughters to be. That helped me realize and better assess what was more important in life.

Q. What do you think are the key attributes of a good leader?
A good leader must be, fundamentally, a good person. Everything else is secondary. A good person will be able to take the decisions a good leader has to take. A person with a selfish, short-sighted, or individualistic attitude towards life will take decisions that reflect his/her own value system.

Q. Whom do you consider as your Role Model and Why?
At work my role models have been a few over the past several years. Some have been people I directly worked with in my teams, while others have been people I have had the good fortune to observe closely while at work, even though I did not have a direct working relationship with them at the time. From executive management to fellow product managers to my direct managers, learning and role models have been there to help guide me. 

Q. What is your take on the importance of a value system in business?
A value system has to be the articulation and enforcement of a set of guiding principles that are inviolate. Anything else is no more important of relevant than an election slogan or a marketing gimmick. The value system a company and its leaders articulate and follow and hold themselves and others to is what differentiates a successful company from a great company that people want to work at.

Q. What is your Mantra for work life balance?
 If there is a mantra for work-life balance, then surely I am still trying to discover and learn it! A work-life balance is difficult to achieve, and certainly an optimal balance even more so. We each have to evaluate our priorities in life, and the decisions we make based on that assessment are what determine how much balance we actually attain in our professional and personal lives.

Q. Your message to students at IIMB-PGSEM today?

The PGSEM program is an investment in your future. As with investing, remember to invest for the long-term. That is what will result in the largest payout.

2 comments:

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anand swarup said...

excellent blog, keep writing

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