Naveen Prasad reveals how his PGCIM at SPJIMR led to a flourishing career in France with Amazon..
“Distractions are alluring and can show you a fast way to success. But I believe there is no easy road to success; you have to be focussed and find your way to it.” These are the wise words of Naveen Prasad, who embarked on a career path many years ago and then followed it with the PGCIM programme at SPJIMR and its partner institution IESEG School of Management, France. Today, he works as Product Manager for Amazon in Paris and has found his place in the dynamic field of product management.
Naveen started as a Product Engineer with Huawei, where he worked for two years before moving on to Oracle for a short stint. During his early years as a professional he was commended for his leadership qualities, which is something Naveen decided to continue to develop in the PGCIM: “Since I was being recognised for being a motivational leader, I developed this urge of building on it and boosting my management skills. I believed an MBA from a top tier institute would help me tremendously, and it definitely has.”
Naveen’s decision of joining the PGCIM programme at SPJIMR, rather than the illustrious IIMs, raised eyebrows; but, he focused on what was best for him and followed his instincts. He compares the decision to choosing this difficult path to being on a trek because that’s where you go to find adventures. Today his decision has paid off, as he says, “I saw the course as a journey that no other institute would offer me. There is apprehension about finding jobs in Europe but the fact remains that it gives you a platform to explore possibilities outside India.”
But above all, it’s the life changing experience of studying in a foreign country and interacting with students from all over the world that made the programme worth it for Naveen. He admits that the experience had its ups and downs and twists and turns, but it was definitely worth the ride. “It was a transition in the real sense of the word; right from the look and feel of the place to the people and language,” he says. “SPJIMR helped us quite a bit with preparatory French classes etc. I have constantly learned and grown since.”
Studying in a completely different environment from what you are used to is also an eye-opening experience. It certainly has been one for Naveen, who can now discuss the differences in the education systems in France and India. “I loved the teaching culture, which is more focussed on practical applications rather than theory. That keeps things exciting and you are constantly on your toes,” he explains. “What is perhaps lacking in the study environment is the competitive spirit, but that’s something SPJIMR prepared me for already.”
In fact, the strong sense of competition amongst his PGCIM classmates at SPJIMR is something Naveen relished and thrived on. He talks about building strong bonds with his colleagues, but believes that the competition only pushed them to work harder and do better for themselves: “One thing I learned pretty early at SPJIMR is that things are not going to be easy. We had a diverse group of students that was very competitive, which helped the batch grow. I learned to stay focussed on your goals amidst intense competition.”
According to Naveen, it’s a notion that helps him in his professional sphere till date. Working with a big name like Amazon in Paris is a big high, which is why it’s not surprising that he doesn’t want to talk about coming back to India. “Honestly, I can’t say that right now. I love my job and the responsibilities that I am given here,” he says. “I love travelling and Europe is traveller’s paradise because there are so many places you can go to. I have been to almost 20 countries and counting.” Clearly, Naveen is going places – and, with his education and experience, there are no limits.