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‘Stepping out of your comfort zone is a prerequisite for success’

Vinish Bawa, Vice President – Sales, Nokia and an alumnus of Apeejay, Panchsheel Park, says in order to grow one has to embrace the discomfort.



Vinish Bawa

Vinish has more than 25 years’ of experience in the telecom industry and has worked around the world. In an interview, he explains the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone, the significance of work-life balance, the future of the telecom industry and much more. Edited excerpts:

You’ve lived and worked in different parts of the world. How important is it to adapt to changing environments?

If you want to grow in a professional set up, you must show flexibility in terms of your job profile and the willingness to relocate if an opportunity arises. You should not hesitate to take on new roles and responsibilities. We become comfortable in a set up and get used to a routine, but stepping out of your comfort zone is a prerequisite for success. It is also critical for your personal growth as you will get to meet new people and be exposed to fresh ideas. Talking about myself, I started my career in 1995-96 in India. After a couple of years I shifted to Nuremberg, Germany. From there, I moved to England and lived there for 10 years before returning to Bengaluru. I am currently working in Gurugram. I also took up different roles within the company. I started my career in Project Deployment then moved to Customer Service followed by Product Development, Systems Engineering, Business Development and finally got into Sales. As a result, I have become a lot more resilient. One must get comfortable with being outside your comfort zone. That’s the only way to grow.

Which is more challenging – working in India or abroad?

It depends on the role as it’s the role that’s challenging not the country. For example, the sales profile is a lot tougher in India compared to other countries. However, one thing I have observed is that in India, though we put in more hours, our efficiency is not that high compared to developed countries. Here things are more chaotic and less organised. 

You’ve seen the telecom industry up close and personal. Tell us how it has evolved over the years and its future.

When I started my career telecom was in its nascent stage, and now it has become an inseparable part of our daily lives. We can’t imagine our lives without phones, Wi-Fi or the internet. They are perceived to be almost as essential as food, clothing and shelter. Telecom will play a critical role in enabling next gen services such as remote surgeries and driverless cars. The internet of things (IoT), virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI), for example, will benefit tremendously from the speed and bandwidth provided by 5G and 6G. It will make our lives much easier. Talking about telecom in India, I see a bright future. Historically, India has been a laggard in introducing new telecom technologies. We were way behind the world in launching 2G and 3G. Though things are gradually improving as our 5G deployment will be more or less on the lines of global roll-out. I am also happy to see that the telecom penetration is helping rural India grow digitally.

What would be your advice to freshers?

First, as I had suggested earlier, get out of your comfort zone and adapt to new circumstances as they arise. I started my career with AT&T, the world’s largest telecommunications company. In 1996, through the divestiture of the former AT&T Technologies business unit of AT&T Corporation, Lucent Technologies was formed. Lucent was merged with Alcatel SA of France in 2006, forming Alcatel-Lucent. Alcatel-Lucent was then absorbed by Nokia in 2016. Secondly, keep up with changing technology trends. Don’t become complacent. Thirdly, have a healthy work-life balance to improve your productivity, and ultimately performance. Lastly, work on your communication skills to help facilitate better interactions with others.

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]