Monday, September 17, 2012

Tête-à-Tête with Sai Sreekanth M

Sai Sreekanth M
Product Manager
Total Years of Experience: 18
Role Before Joining PGSEM:
Engineering Manager
Role After Completing PGSEM:  Product Management

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself. [Family, Education, Hobbies]                         
I am a Telugu speaking person from coastal Andhra but have lived in Bangalore (in fact in a 5 sq. km area) all my life. I speak 5 Indian languages, enjoy reading about India and travelling within India. Think I have a good understanding of what Indians do and think. I listen to Carnatic music a lot, have been learning it for a few years (can’t sing well though). I follow other arts such as theatre, dance, lectures and discourses based on literature, films and documentaries.  
I have an undergraduate degree in Computer science from University Visvesvaraya college of Engineering, Bangalore and have completed the PGSEM programme (first batch) from IIM Bangalore.
I am married to Sheela who is currently teaching and we have a son(6 years old) and a daughter (3 years old).  

Q. Please describe your current job/role that you perform?
I am a Product Manager in the Emerging Markets team at Google. I have worked in Emerging Markets teams at HP and Yahoo for the past 9 years. Over these years and now at Google, I am interesting in conceiving and delivering useful technology applications to emerging market users. Would like to leverage my understanding of emerging market user needs and technology background in rolling out impactful services for users.

Q. What would be the most challenging aspect of your role?
Product management involves orchestrating several teams and stake holders in delivering impactful solutions. Very often, we need to do this without any explicit authority over other teams and this requires a great deal of tact, rigor and understanding of wide range of issues.  

Q. How did PGSEM help transform your career?
PGSEM did transform my career in moving from a software engineering management role to that of product management.
More important than the career shift, was the education that I obtained through the PGSEM programme. I learnt to analyze industries/economies, understand how businesses are managed, learnt about users and people behaviors, got to work really hard on complex problems etc. This knowledge is an asset that I put to use in several contexts and not just in my professional career. 

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?
Nothing profound to share here. I do notice that there is a significant increase in the quantity of skilled resources (engineering, management, legal, finance) but do not see a change in the quality.

Q. Describe THE incident which has influenced you the most to be what you are today.
 Can’t think of an incident that has influenced me the most. Have been lucky to come across several skilled, well-meaning people and they have had an indirect impact in developing my own perspective. 

Q. What do you think are the key attributes of a good leader?
* Lead by example
* Honesty of purpose
* Focus, sustenance, perseverance

Q. Whom do you consider as your Role Model and Why?
Again, can’t think of one person. Have been lucky to come across hundreds of good people who are doing great selfless work in serving people and bettering their lives.

Q. What is your take on the importance of a value system in business?
Find it strange that such a question is being asked. A good value system is not a negotiable thing not just for businesses but also for living your life well. Can’t see how businesses derive their value systems independent of its owners/founders/workers.

Q. What is your Mantra for work life balance?
Do what you like to do and are good at and the question of work life balance does not arise.

Q. Your message to students at IIMB-PGSEM today?
Identify an area or two that you are really passionate about and have a good ability in. Work to be the best in that area.

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