The skills collector
I come from the milk capital of India, a city called Anand in the western part of the country. Though it has fewer than one million people, it contributes to India being one of the world’s biggest milk producers. Now I live in Bangkok, Thailand, and work for one of the largest energy companies in the world, helping to drive its growth by ensuring customer loyalty.
Specifically, I manage the customer service function for the chemical company here. I oversee a team of around 175 people, helping to grow demand for our products in one of the world’s most dynamic regions. Actually, make that 176 people. No, she doesn’t work for ExxonMobil yet, but my 10-year-old daughter is one of my biggest supporters, and I certainly oversee her! In fact, she’s practically an ExxonMobil mini-me in the making.
I’ve had a number of roles during the past eight years at ExxonMobil. Each of my new assignments—be it in sales, manufacturing or supply chain—has provided me a distinct developmental experience, and that is something that interests my daughter and that I share with her.
Even though you may not think you have all the skills you need going into a new role, you have the opportunity to unearth those skills, so that you’re using and learning a new part of your brain. It’s something I’ve found to be unique here. Growing and developing in this way is something I’m proud of, and I want to infuse my daughter with the same sense of pride in accomplishment and growth.
Getting an MBA has been instrumental in furthering my career. Nothing can beat the actual experience you have as an employee, but with an MBA you have more of a holistic business perspective, because you have had some sort of training to go along with it. Then, what you studied and what you’re correlating to that experience through your business courses becomes more enjoyable.
My work experience definitely translates into my personal life. I talk with my daughter about what I do at work, and she tells me when she thinks it sounds “cool.” Every time I move roles, I openly discuss what the job is, and what the demands of the role are, calibrated to what a 10-year-old can understand. She loves getting to go to new places, and moving with work is a way I can introduce her to different cultures.
Whether it is ethics, exposure to diversity or even safety practices, I owe a lot to how the company has shaped me. I learned it in my work life, and I try to accomplish it in my home life as a mother.
Speaking of home life, in June I began an assignment in a commercial role based out of Bengaluru, India. I’ve transitioned from being a customer service manager to taking over the southeast and south Asia sales manager position. I’m now covering many countries, including my home country, India, and I look forward to continuing my quest to learn new skills.