Alumni Speak

‘Define your own version of success’

If you run after others’ idea of success, you’ll never achieve it, advises AIMETC, Jalandhar, alumnus Virender Rana, National Commercial Sales Manager – Air Conditioning B2B LG Electronics

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Hailing from Hoshiarpur, Punjab, Virender completed his MBA from Apeejay Institute of Management & Engineering Technical Campus (AIMETC) – Jalandhar in 2001. Initially, he had a passion for Pharma Sales and as a result he started his career as a Medico Marketing Associate with Pfizer Pharmaceutical India Pvt. Ltd. After nearly 2 years’ he joined Ranbaxy. Though, for various reasons he was not satisfied with his job and realised that he has no future in Pharma Sales. Hence, he decided to switch industries. He accepted an offer from LG Electronics and moved to Seoul, Korea. He has now spent nearly 17 years with LG and is currently stationed in Sydney. In a candid chat, Virender talks about things to keep in mind if you are looking to relocate to a different country, how India differs in work culture from other countries, the definition of success, and more.

What are the things to consider when moving to a new country for work?

In 2004, when I decided to move to South Korea, the idea was to explore a new culture and working environment. I thought I would be the only Indian there, but to my surprise there were around 40 Indians already working there in different roles. I experienced a huge culture shock in Korea. Remember at that time the internet was still in its nascent stage in India, so I have little clue about the Korean way of life. Adjusting to the food, landscape and overcoming the language barrier were a herculean task. Their work culture was also pretty hectic. They start their day around 7 am and continue working till 8 or 9pm. This is the reason why Korean brands such as LG, Samsung, Hyundai and others are known worldwide. After a couple of years, I noticed half the Indians went back home as they couldn’t adjust to the new environment. However, due to globalisation, professionals right now are more open to shift to other locations. My only advice to those looking to relocate is think thoroughly and most importantly, have perseverance. If the going gets difficult, hang on. Don’t throw in the towel. It will help you be successful in life. I ended up staying close to 7 years in South Korea, before moving to Singapore where I worked for nearly 8 years. I moved to Sydney, Australia in 2019.

Talking about success. How do you define it?

You have to dwell deep inside to define your own version of success. If you’re running after other’s idea of success you’ll never achieve it.  Importantly, success is not just about money, it has to be looked at more holistically. It has many different parts, not just one part.  When I started my career money mattered a lot, but not now. The priority now is job satisfaction and learning opportunities. If you are good at your job, money will come. You should be clear as to what you want in life. If you don’t know that you will remain in a muddle.

You are exposed to different work cultures in your career. According to you, what can Indians learn from other cultures?

Unlike India, countries like South Korea and Singapore have a huge participation of women in the workforce. India has among the lowest female labour force participation rates in the world. Though things are getting better there’s still a long way to go. However, the biggest strength of India is its fantastic human resource. There’s no dearth of talent.

A piece of advice to young professionals?  

Don’t set long-term goals. Create short-term goals because the world is changing at breakneck speed and the future can be unpredictable. I have coined an acronym called AKS (meaning shadow in Urdu). It stands for Attitude, Knowledge and Skills. Out of the three, you should give a special emphasis to Attitude. Our attitude is what influences our behaviour. A positive attitude increases your self-confidence and helps you make right decisions in challenging situations.

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]

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