This is part of the #CareerAdvice series - featuring successful professionals who share their advice to people who would want to take their career to the next level.
With great passion for successful innovation and deep understanding of businesses and consumers needs, Sharat Menon, previously Global Product Manager at Standard Chartered Bank, shares how he started his career and shares some golden nuggets on how one can fast track his career and succeed in their own fields.
He recommends that we think of our careers as collection of wonderful experiences, so that when faced with vital career decisions, we can focus on whether the opportunity at hand will actually and eventually propel us forward.
Sharat Menon, Global Product Manager, Standard Chartered Bank
Can you tell us a bit about how you started your career? What are some of your best moments in your professional life?
Engineering in computer science from a premier institute helped me get placed into India's top tier IT outsourcing firm where I started my career as a Java Developer, but soon had a fast track career growth in the business analysis and consulting space.
It was during my consulting stint, where I often had to travel to client locations, that I realised it is important to understand the customer's business needs and imperatives before suggesting the product/solution.
This helped me in my transition to Standard Chartered and progress in my role to be an integral part of the now multi-award winning Digital banking team. As I continued learning about the importance of knowing the market and customers, I got better at understanding the market's opportunity and building the products' unique value proposition.
If you could advise your 20-year-old-self today, what would tell him?
I'd tell him, "You'll never have it 'all figured out' so stop trying to get to that point!"
20's is not about making money, as most 20- year-old would perceive, but about creating your network, about being keen to learn and going that extra mile.
No one ever made it to their dream career, got their dream job, or started a business without going above and beyond.
People who do that in their 20's have an excellent platform to soar in their 30's.
Plan but be flexible. Life's too amazing to stick to a script.
I would also feed in the importance of mentoring relationships and the role they play in growth and success.
What has been the most valuable advice you've ever gotten when you were facing challenges in your career?
There are 2 valuable pieces of advice that I've received which I'd like to share:
Your employer can't be responsible for your career. You have to take charge of it yourself. Those who expect companies to take care of them, or to "do the right thing" are often disappointed.
Chances are, no one will ever care more about your career than you do.
As someone rightly said, "Think of your career as a public relations campaign, much like running for political office. Your goal is to get as many people to like you as quickly as possible (And keep liking you.) "
What would you advise the millennial just starting with their career or aiming to take their careers to the next level?
I'd say, "Don't settle for a job you're not passionate about".
I would tell the millennial to keep as many options open as possible because the future is wildly unpredictable.
The best way to improve your options is to continually learn as much as you can in fields that are complementary to your main interests. It also helps your odds if you stay networked with as many influential people as you can.
You need to think of a career as a collection of experiences along a journey and leverage everything you can to propel yourself forward.
Learn more from Sharat by connecting with him on LinkedIn.