I was born in Pune, a sprawling city in western India, where I was raised with strong middle-class values. My father is a doctor and my mother is a psychologist. They both grew up with no money, and relied on scholarships to get into medical school and university, so the importance of education, ethics and value for money was drilled into me from a very young age.
Having discussions around the dinner table was a big part of family life and taught me a lot about logic and reasoning. We’d make decisions together as a family, weighing up the pros and cons of household purchases and whether they’d be worth the investment. My father would never make a decision on behalf of the family; he’d always bring it home and discuss it with us first. As a doctor, he’d also speak about the importance of professional ethics. Giving commissions in return for patient referrals was rife in India’s healthcare industry at the time, and it was something my father refused to do. Integrity, along with my diagnostic abilities, were two of greatest things I learnt from him. My courage came from my mother, and discussing, debating and decision-making skills were something both myself and my younger brother developed from our experience of growing up.
My father’s passion for medicine rubbed off on me, and led me to a career in healthcare. I studied Electronic Engineering at Pune University, choosing to focus on medical electronics in my final year. As part of my studies, I worked on a project with Nasan Medical Services, a medical equipment manufacturer. After hearing about my father’s work for so many years, the medical world felt both familiar and exciting. Nasan offered me a role after graduating; I joined them in 1999 as a Product Manager in the cardiology department.
“A programme like the Sloan gives you legitimacy; it shows that you’re serious about your career and willing to invest in yourself”
I spent the next 20 years in healthcare, nearly 11 of which were spent at GE Healthcare. I first joined in 2005 as a Strategic Marketing Manager, progressing to CT Segment Manager soon after, where I worked on raising funding for Indian product prototypes, while growing the business and managing profit and loss. I spent nearly six years there before leaving to join DuPont’s Marketing and Leadership programme for two years, after which I returned to GE Healthcare as General Manager. I did various leadership roles in sales management, managing different divisions for another five years. At this point, I was nearing the 20-year mark in my career. I could have continued working, but instead wanted to think about my future in the industry and what I wanted it to look like.
I’d completed a number of business school programmes during my career, so had a real appreciation of the value of education. In 2004, I gained an MBA from INSEAD – which was my first experience of high-level business education. I had also joined a number of GE Crotonville leadership programmes, which accelerated my passion for learning. I had a solid foundation, but wanted an immersive experience at one of the world’s top business schools to take my leadership understanding to the next level.
In 2019, I’d been working for 20 years and wanted to think about what my next 20 years would look like. I knew I had to take stock and refine myself, personally and professionally, in order to remain relevant. This is something the Sloan focused on. It also addressed my desire to be surrounded by a diverse group of people. I’d spent my entire career in India, so I didn’t have a lot of international experience. I wanted to learn with people from different countries and cultures, and explore their individual experiences and perspectives. Finally, I wanted to go from working in a single role to taking on multiple projects, dabble in different fields and see how I could use my experience in the healthcare industry elsewhere. The Sloan felt like the perfect fit.
“My Sloan classmates included a NASA engineer from the US, a pharma industry executive from Brazil, and an Indian-born tech specialist who worked in a global role for Apple”
The programme content – in particular my classes with Andrew J Scott, Professor of Economics – completely transformed my career perspective. Through Professor Scott’s sessions, which focused on his book, The 100-Year Life, he explained how I still had a long future ahead of me, both in my career and personal life. Tying that concept into economics and the working world, we explored what it means for businesses and business; it was truly fascinating and completely changed how I thought about my career. We also examined our privileges. As a middle class Indian boy and the child of two working-class parents, I’d never considered how privileged I was, but my classmates and I discovered that most of us were actually in the world’s top two per cent. Professor Scott then went on to emphasise the importance of inclusive growth, and how hiring people from different cultures and classes is ultimately what will make organisations thrive, which, as a leader, I found incredibly compelling.
My Sloan classmates included a NASA engineer from the US, a pharma industry executive from Brazil, and an Indian-born tech specialist who worked in a global role for Apple. Our discussions and debates were so rich as result, and opened my mind to new ways of thinking, helped me consider new possibilities and explore how I could apply these different perspectives to my own career.
The power of the Sloan isn’t so much about what you learn, but how it makes you think. Learning with such a courageous group of people and being exposed to the insights of the School’s faculty ultimately gave me a new sense of confidence. This now shows in my day-to-day life; I no longer worry about what I’m saying or doing because I’m much more aware of my accomplishments and how they can serve me going forwards. I now have a long-term career perspective and have stopped focusing so much on the immediate future.
A programme like the Sloan gives you legitimacy; it shows that you’re serious about your career and willing to invest in yourself. You’re making a big commitment from both a financial and time point of view, but the intention is clear: to emerge a more confident, well-rounded leader, ready to take on the next big challenge.
“The programme has only increased my confidence and excitement for what I can achieve in the next 20 years”
After I graduated and joined Philips as Business Head for CT (Computerised Tomography) and AMI (Advance Molecular Imaging) Business, the Sloan’s impact became clear. With my newfound confidence, I was able to demonstrate my leadership abilities by achieving close to 50% growth for the business in just one year. In March 2021, my responsibility was expanded to cover Philips’s MRI vertical, both business sectors account for around 35-40% of our business in the Indian sub-continent space. Going from handling $12-13 million of business to more than $50 million has been a surreal experience and one that I don’t believe would have been possible without my time on the Sloan programme.
I left LBS with a truly global network that I know will provide me with advice and investment opportunities in the future. I now have connections all over the world – in London, Canada and China – who I regularly bounce ideas off and receive valuable advice from. During my time at LBS, I also connected with a Masters in Analytics and Management student – who came to me for guidance on whether he was cut out for the corporate world; following several discussions, I thought he’d be better suited to entrepreneurship. And after completing his MAM he launched a mental health app. When he called me up and said he wanted to get me involved, I decided to become an angel investor and join their advisory board.
Before joining the Sloan, building my global network and creating multiple career opportunities were two of my biggest priorities. I’m happy to say that the programme delivered on both fronts, which has only increased my confidence and excitement for what I can achieve in the next 20 years.