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Looking at the big picture

Follow your heart and map your career growth. This is what Vikas Guliani recommends people do for the first five years after they zero in on a job they want to take up.

mumbai Updated: Dec 09, 2010 01:52 IST
Rachit Vats

Follow your heart and map your career growth. This is what Vikas Guliani recommends people do for the first five years after they zero in on a job they want to take up.

This is what he did about three years ago, when he made the jump from working on the client side to moving to a consultancy firm. He started working as an infrastructure consultant with CRISIL Risk and Infrastructure Solutions (CRIS), wholly owned by CRISIL (Credit Rating and Information Services of India Limited), a rating, research, risk and policy advisory firm and a subsidiary of Standard & Poor’s.

Today, he is part of the Rs 17,000-crore consulting sector in India, which is growing at 30% a year.

The 31-year-old, who had earlier worked with an oil and gas infrastructure company, found the motivation to make the shift when he saw that infrastructure consultants get to work with the senior management of client organisations at strategy levels very early in their career.

This kind of exposure offers in-depth perspective on the strategies organisations adopt, adding substantially to the consultant’s understanding of the subject, he says.

Guliani, an engineer from Bhilai Institute of Technology with a management degree from Nirma Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, has worked his way up the ranks at CRISIL - from manager to team leader.

“Although I did not start my career in a consultancy company, I certainly mapped my career path,” he says. “The opportunity to be able to contribute at strategic levels to clients ranging from governments of various countries to multilateral bodies and other large private players was what drove me to become a consultant.”

Guliani took this step three years ago keeping in mind the growth infrastructure is going to see. Today, he

is benefiting from the boom in the construction and power sectors in India. With a spurt in infrastructure projects, power plants and real-estate development, there is a lot of work for professionals like Guliani.

“Infrastructure, not only in India but also in other emerging markets, is developing rapidly and there are a lot of opportunities. CRISIL Infrastructure Advisory has undertaken assignments in more than 20 emerging economies, which demonstrates the growing demand for consulting around the world,” Guliani says. “I am proud to be working in a sector that contributes to India’s overall economic growth.”

His work allows him flexibility. His schedule depends on projects in hand and deadlines. Sometimes, he needs to travel out of town for meetings. A lot of his work is about talking to clients and business associates to understand what they need and to work out suitable models for them. In his spare time, he likes reading Chetan Bhagat or autobiographies. A good game of table-tennis with friends perks him up.

Guliani believes working as a consultant in the infrastructure sector offers a lot of opportunity in terms of where you work and what you do. “In consulting, there’s more interaction with different clients in one go, which adds to the learning,” he says.

Education alone will not be enough if you want to be a successful consultant, he says. One needs to have hands-on experience and a track record that proves you know your industry and your concepts. Guliani has worked on the client side before getting into consulting and that has given him a better understanding of client organisation and corporate strategy, he says.

Even then, he asked himself many questions before making the shift: Would he be able to handle the research? And maintain relationships with multiple potential clients at the same time? How would he make a presentation to a group of senior executives, solve problems and contribute at strategic levels? “It’s essential to ask yourself a lot of questions before taking the plunge,” Guliani says. “I prepared myself for it.”