HAPPENINGS @ FLAME

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"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." ~LaoTzu

Such has been the journey of FLAME alumnus Pratik Ganatra, who has accomplished a lot in a short span of time. His experience has led him to develop the skills as a young professional that only veterans once possessed.

Pratik completed his Masters from FLAME, and had the opportunity to learn about different areas of interest. Due to the guidance and support of the former president, Prof. Indira Parikh, former Dean-FLAME School of Business, Prof. P.M. Shinghi, and the faculty, Pratik had the opportunity to interact with industry leaders. In the process, he chose marketing and finance as his core domains, building a strong foundation for the years to come.

The curriculum of his course at FLAME helped him gain cross-functional understanding that was required in the current and future business environment. This involved varied and innovative methods like case-based application of business concepts and interaction with industry experts. Other courses such as Rural Marketing Fare (RMP) and Rural Entrepreneurship Appreciation Programme (REAP) also gave him grassroot insights. Thus, at FLAME, he developed soft skills such as task management, leadership, teamwork, and effective communication as a professional.

Later, Pratik chose the automotive industry to spearhead his career. He knew that this industry is known for its ability to adapt to new trends and technology. Therefore, he believed that becoming part of this industry would suit his love for problem-solving, as he liked tackling ever-changing environments and working with like-minded and passionate professionals.

He also believed that the automotive industry played an important role in industrial disruption and social change.

Pratik started his career at Tata Motors as a Territory Sales Manager, handling a network of dealerships in Rajasthan. Working at the company gave him extensive field sales experience and a valuable understanding of the business. He also gained an understanding of retail and various business processes, enabling him to take up the leading role in planning sales operations and retail marketing in the western zone.

The automotive industry has been going through one of the most disruptive phases. The competition was increasing and consumer needs were rapidly evolving upon an ageing product portfolio, creating a dent in the share market.

It was challenging, but with the support of his mentors, managers, and a passionate team, he was able to thrive in that environment. Pratik gets candid about looking back at that moment, which became the defining moment of his career. It was when he learnt the most in trying times.

The role he played gave him extensive field exposure and a valuable understanding of the business that went beyond market reports and data trends. He not only appreciated the diverse cultural nuances but also leveraged his experiences, translating them into meaningful retail marketing and sales strategies. In the process, Pratik gained a holistic understanding of the retail operations, intricate details of various business processes, and how all of it translated into efficient customer interactions with the products and services.

As the years progressed, Pratik had the opportunity to work with PwC at a time when India was set to become the third largest automotive market in the world. At PwC, he was engaged in a retail team focusing on helping leading OEMs develop business strategies and processes. This experience helped him with data analysis for leading companies such as Audi, Hyundai, Honda, Tata Motors, Nissan, and Renault.

Furthermore, he works as a manager for National Market Representation and Strategy at Nissan Canada Inc. This experience helped him develop a strategy for market representation. His work consisted of defining the future status of the Nissan and INFINITI dealer networks with e-commerce and omni-channel strategies, which work on developing extensive forecasting data models. Here, the responsibilities such as preparing mid-term plans by analysis and research, households' and income trends, and industry volumes were under his direct leadership. The system uses large amounts of data to identify new market opportunities.

Pratik confides that in the past decade, having experienced the nuances of the automotive industry was fulfilling for him. He thoroughly enjoyed his journey across different roles, organisations and countries. "It is a complex business and the business environment changes rapidly. With all the complexities and involvement of so many stakeholders, I would often find myself in situations where I was required to handle a problem or make a tough decision. It was particularly challenging when I found myself either lacking experience or knowledge, or when I was too afraid to fail. These instances of uncertainty have been particularly challenging while I am navigating my career. These were the times when we had to move ahead with an incomplete picture." says Pratik.

He goes on to say, "When I look back at these instances, I think I was able to handle most of them fairly well. I was only able to do this because of a strong network of mentors, managers, and colleagues. Asking for help can be hard, but we underestimate how willing people are to lend a hand."

Pratik finds himself fortunate to have forged strong relationships throughout his career with those who helped him navigate his journey. He was able to move forward because of the ecosystem of compassionate and kind individuals around him.