Institute of Product Leadership
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Ajay Nair EMBA Class of 2015-B

Program Manager, HP to Partner Integration Manager - IOT, HP


“I have 15+ years in Communication & Technology industry. I have worked with companies like Nokia Siemens and am presently with HP where I work with Consulting. I have varied experience in Business Development, Partner Integrations, Technology Program Management and Consulting for Technology-led Transformation Programs. I am always looking for the next challenge."

Product Management in India

“Product Management in India is an interesting transition on the horizon. The perception to the Indian Industry, so far, has been service-oriented, which has been good in terms of driving world-renowned brands.” “However, the last five years has been conducive for young Indians to take the entrepreneurial route, whether in products or services. It’s kind of a mixed bag Product Management has been there a long time, but there is a more conducive support from the industry and the resource pool for people to come out and create new products. This is a good next-step for India, where we create products that could be the next Google or Facebook.”

Why I chose to go the Product Management route

“I have worked in various roles in the last 15 years. After Engineering, I did direct and institutional sales for five years. Thereafter, I was more into Consulting, where I got to meet customers, and create value for them.”

Applying the Jack Ma philosophy
“There was a phase when I wondered what to do next. At the same time, I did not want to do something new. As Jack Ma says, ‘Between 30 and 40 years old, you need to think clearly whether you want to work for yourself, if you really want to be an entrepreneur; When you’re between 40 and 50 years old, you must do all the things that you are good at.’ The Product Management space fell into that sweet spot. You have to have an entrepreneurial mindset, to actually look at something and see if there is value. My past sales experience, customer engagement and program management provided a good fit to Product Management.”

IPL Experience

“In addition to the subjects, the IPL program has “capsules” of career sessions. For example, you get dedicated half –hour to one-hour time with Professor Pinkesh or Professor Ranjan, where you discuss your personal and professional perceptions, and get honest feedback on that. This lets you introspect and think about changing your compass in terms of what you want to achieve in your life. Professor Vishy handled the HR and career coaching, and shared exercises on assessments about your leadership and professional development. I looked into those assignments very seriously in terms of where I am and what I want to achieve.

At the start of my career, I did not have a mentor, and I was pretty much like an unguided missile, trying various things, because I was ambitious. At IPL, I had the support of mentors who were not just academicians, but practitioners. They actually spent time with me and did a course-correction in terms of what I want to do in life.”

Message to a wider audience / peers

“It’s never too late to go back to school. You need to know your priorities, and take a wise look at the time, effort and money you spend, and the school you select. Some of the other courses expect you to spend a full year or all the weekends – which sometimes is not so practical. Take a look at all the aspects before you decide on a school or a course.”