It was while working in the United States with management consultancy McKinsey & Co, and later with Microsoft, that Sanket Akerkar learnt the tricks of the trade. Akerkar soaked in whatever his seniors had to offer and picked up helpful tips from his peers.
All that has stood him in good stead since he was posted to India seven months ago as Managing Director of Microsoft India. It was his first job in the country and gave him an opportunity to put all his learning to work. Having already learnt how to create business value for customers, he is now at a sweet intersect: deliver business value while being a passionate leader of people. For Akerkar, it is more important to understand and solve people-related problems rather than business problems. "Most people solve business problems, but they don't solve people problems," he says.
According to Akerkar, the information technology industry in India is a conundrum. Connectivity will drive growth. From Microsoft's standpoint, he sees devices becoming more ubiquitous. Looking at the downside, his plum role has come at a cost - Akerkar has had to give up dirt biking, a popular adventure sport in the US. He has adjusted quickly, now plays squash and golf on weekends. And while on vacation, he does not work, does not even take phone calls or read mails. "When I am off on vacations, I am completely off. Finding downtime is important," he says.
So, does he have a mentor? Someone famous? The answer: an emphatic "no".
38, MD, Microsoft India
Been there: His role has been enterprise focused, identifying areas that will create business value
Done that: Dealt with people problems
Anecdote: I was 24, working with McKinsey & Co. When I introduced myself to a client, he asked: "When did you graduate from kindergarten? Yesterday?"
My response: "No, two days ago"
Fitness: Was a dirt-biking enthusiast in the US. In India, plays golf and squash