A mechanical engineer from Jadavpur University in Kolkata, Arijit Ghosh's first job was with Larsen & Toubro at Powai near Mumbai in 1992. He considers this experience one of the big turning points of his life. In 1995, he had a shot at the Civil Services examination and got into the Indian Foreign Service. This took him to Japan and China. In Japan, he stayed on a university campus where everyone spoke only Japanese, so he picked up the language very fast. He quit the IFS to do his master's in business administration at Harvard.
From Harvard, Ghosh joined McKinsey & Co and was responsible for its B2B strategies for telecom, chemical and paper pulp clients. In 2008, he joined Honeywell, an aerospace and defence equipment company. He strives to customise strategies to the Indian context, and not adopt models from the United States. Strategies developed here will work better in other emerging markets such as China, he says. Honeywell has three R&D and five manufacturing centres in India.
Ghosh has never been to an English medium school, which explains his Bengali-accented English. (His Japanese and Chinese have no accent, though.) He still takes time out to visit Kolkata once a year and chat with his childhood friends at an STD/ISD booth, which one of them owns. "We chat about matters which have no relevance outside our circle (of friends)," he says.
40, Country Head, Defence & Space, Honeywell India
Been there: Served in the Indian Foreign Service. At McKinsey & Co, worked on B2B strategies
Done that: Created strategies in India that support the needs of other emerging markets
A-ha moment: The civil services had an aura of impossibility... Joining it changed my career from an engineering track to a general one and helped me understand people
The linguist: Speaks Japanese and Chinese fluently