Ramendra Pratap Singh has had a successful career working as a hospitality professional with Indian branches of global firms. In fact, he was previously named General Manager of the Year by both Hotelier India and the International Society for Hospitality Education. While he appreciated his success, he was ready for a new challenge.
“At some point in time, I realized I needed a global perspective and I decided to pursue an EMBA program,” he said. “I wanted a look at business beyond hotel operations.”
Singh chose to pursue his EMBA at HEC Paris because of the program’s diversity, and its emphasis on sustainability. Once enrolled, though, he found the leadership program was the most important aspect of the curriculum for him.
“It has helped me to transform myself and understand that a leader needs to be future-looking and future-ready, and that shaped my view about business,” he said.
Landing his dream job
The future certainly was bright for Singh: while he was studying at HEC Paris, he received a job offer from ATALIAN, a global leader in facility management. They were looking to expand to India and needed someone to lead the initiative. Singh was excited because he was looking for a challenging opportunity to build a business from scratch.
“This was my dream, to build businesses and large organizations in India, and contribute significantly,” he said. Singh credits the education he gained at HEC with helping him get the job.
“The reason I joined HEC was I wanted to gain a large canvas where I could paint a positive picture of business,” he said. “This was what I was working for. I think facility management gives me an opportunity to build a business across India very, very fast with the right approaches and practices.”
Now, as CEO of one of the largest facility management companies in the world, Singh is using all aspects of an HEC education, from cash flow management, to strategy, to corporate governance, to marketing.
“Everything I studied at HEC comes into practice,” he said. “There was a focus on SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) throughout the program, and how all the functions of businesses are required to adjust this new reality.
Singh had very limited exposure to some of these aspects in his previous roles. “I knew how to manage a Profit and Loss (P&L) unit, but managing P&L for an entire country is very exciting,” he said.
Because of the education he received at HEC, he felt well-prepared for his new career. “Now I’m accountable for generating and expending cash for this business,” Singh said. “I am now managing the whole business rather just than a piece of it.”
Friends for life
Singh is proud of earning his EMBA. “It has been very exciting,” he said. “I hail from hinterland and have spent most of my early life in towns and to now have an EMBA has been a very, very exciting journey. It has helped me to understand the value of learning.”
The logistics of attending the program weren’t easy; Singh had to travel from India to Paris almost every two months over the course of the program, for one to two weeks each time.
“It was a challenge, but the opportunity to learn and engage with my cohort kept me motivated,” he said.
He credits his classmates for helping to make it such a positive experience. “In our cohort, people came to study from all over the world and from various walks of life and industries,” Singh said. “The program helped me to understand not just an Indian, but to have a global perspective of business and policy from the view of the US, Canada, Europe, and countries in Africa. I can understand now how global organizations do work in various parts of the world.”
The cohort members not only provided differing perspectives, they provided friendship. “The cohort is a family now,” Singh said. “We interact about life, challenges, strategies. Each person in my cohort has faced different challenges and their valuable guidance helps me to navigate my career path. I realize the cohort has helped to shape who I am today.”
Singh said members of his cohort keep in touch with each other on a regular basis, even though they’ve graduated, and even during the pandemic.
“While I had global exposure to connect with people professionally before this, personal relationships in the Cohort is something totally different,” he said. “They are not your career friends; they are more like family friends. You can open up easily with each of them about everything. The value that comes from that is very appreciated. It’s very emotional. It wasn’t like we were just networking to secure our next role; it’s much more than that. We’ve become friends for life.”
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