Sumeet Khanna, Director – Windows Business Group, Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt. Ltd.
Q. Your academic background?
A. Electronics Engineering from Nagpur University and International Business from IIFT.
Q. Experience at your first job?
A. I joined HCL Hewlett Packard as Account Manager in 1994. Getting into the corporate world for the first time, we learnt that success comes from marrying your priorities to others’ priorities. It was the first time we had targets!
Q. What helped you realise your interest in IT and IT services?
A. It was purely by accident! You do not always know what to do after college, so you look for a good brand name.
Q. What makes one successful in this dynamic field?
A. You should be very clear about what you want and then work towards it; develop competencies or qualifications and keep talking to people in the industry.
Q. Your best day at Microsoft?
A. In my Sales role, we closed a multi- million dollar, multi-year contract, which even the management was not expecting to be closed.
Q. What lessons have you learnt for managing people?
A. It is very important to understand what stage people are at in their career, and align one’s management style accordingly. Trust will help create a long-lasting relationship.
Q. What is your leadership style?
A. I believe in people, give them space, and let them come up with their own solutions.
Q. Any mentors you have had?
A. Dr. Arvind Shukla has coached me.
Q. The most prominent HR trend?
A. Company cultures have become very open. They are now adjusting to different work styles and focussing more on work-life balance than before.
Q. The best advice you got?
A. Never believe in others’ opinions before forming your own opinions on something.
Q. Any alternate career choice?
A. I am very good at administration so I would probably be in Civil Services.
Q. Your favourite book?
A. Know-How by Ram Charan.
Q. Any movie that you loved?
A. 3 Idiots; it reminded me of my friends from engineering.
Q. Your dream car?
A. Land Cruiser.
Q. Your most-used MS products?
A. Windows as well as SharePoint.
Q. Best gadget?
A. My smartphone (that is, Windows Phone 7).
Q. A lesson that you want your kids to learn?
A. Be respectful and mindful of others. Do not take things for guaranteed.