Business Today

Wheels and deals man

Suman Layak        Print Edition: May 15, 2011

Sunish Sharma loves to drive into new territories. On family holidays abroad, Sharma usually rents a car and drives around. He has already done that in the United States, Turkey and Austria and hopes to do it soon in Italy. "The best way to see a place," he says. For a person who loves visiting new places, Sharma has been lucky because his job - first with consultants McKinsey & Co. and now with General Atlantic, a private equity firm - requires travelling all over the world.

Mumbai, where he stays now, is one of Sharma's favourite cities, second to New York. Sharma had joined McKinsey straight out of the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. "I was placed on the first day - within five minutes....It was a dream come true," he says.

The move to General Atlantic in 2004 showed that he could put his money where his mouth was. He started when GA had just two employees in India. Now it has ten, with $800 million invested here. It also allowed him to gather some learnings from the downturn - to prepare for a downturn and then again prepare for the upswing too.

Sharma loves action. He played basketball in school and still plays with his son. Till recently, he used to jog home after work. Then, his wife gifted him a 24-gear Trek bicycle on their 10th wedding anniversary this February. Sharma has since been cycling to office at Nariman Point from Tardeo at 7 in the morning.

Wheels and deals get this guy going, in a nice way.

Sunish Sharma, 36
Managing Director, General Atlantic
Been there: In 1999, when the Indian information technology industry was nascent, his team at McKinsey & Company had said it would grow business to $50 billion in 10 years.
Done that: Working on developing the Young India Fellowship, on the lines of the Rhodes Scholarship
A-ha moment: When McKinsey made an offer on Day 1 of placements at IIM-C, in five minutes. He had been grilled the previous day, Day 0 of placements
Fitness: Cycles to work when he is in Mumbai. You can see him on his Trek bike, gifted by his wife this February on their wedding anniversary

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