Guest lecture – Mr. Pawan Shetty, Director, Porsche India

It was 31 st of July, only a second day of the induction program for the new batch. I remember, despite having a long day full of lectures and activities ahead of them, the students were very excited. After all the Director of Porsche was coming to the college to address them. The lecture was arranged by the Alumni Committee of SIMSREE. As much as everybody was fascinated by Porsche , they were even more excited for the man himself, Mr. Pawan Shetty. He is the alumnus from the batch 2002-04. They were extremely eager to hear what he had to say and to listen to his experiences at his alma mater SIMSREE.

Mr. Pawan Shetty addressed the batch in such a wonderful manner that students felt they were listening to someone who is one of them, with youthful energy and enthusiasm. Mr. Shetty shared his experiences of his time at Sydenham as a student. He spoke about why SIMSREE is better than the other top tier B-schools in India. “Sydenham offers you the freedom to do things, which you don’t have in other top B-schools like IIMs. We have a far better ‘adaptability', something you require day to day in your business.”, he said. That is why Sydenhamites perform better in business world and end up in top management positions. Sharing his experiences as a student in SIMSREE, he said that he was just like the students in front of him, nervous but excited. But he worked very hard for those two years to develop himself, participated in lots of competitions, exposed himself to lots of challenges. He advised the batch to do the same and to learn as much as they can in these two years.

Then, Mr. Shetty told how his professional life started. After his internship at Castrol while doing MBA, he was placed in Tata Motors for his executive placements. The division he worked there was of the commercial vehicles. “I was sent to Kochin”, he said, “Nobody talked Hindi there and very few knew English. So to connect with my customers better, I had to learn their language, Malayalam. I learned it in a month.” This shows the adaptability he previously mentioned and how he practiced what he preached. He told students not to run behind the packages at the start of their careers, but to choose a company where they can learn the nitty gritty of the business to ace their trade. After a few years at Tata Motors he decided to move on. He worked at Ford for a while but was not interested to go abroad to work. He then was offered a job at the Audi, but he didn’t like the offer so didn’t take it. But the people at Audi were very much impressed and then they offered him an exciting job at Lamborghini. At that time, Lamborghini had just entered the Indian market and was looking for people who could lay foundation to their business in India. Mr. Shetty was 1 st hire of Lamborghini in India! Mr. Shetty was proud to say the business in India was profitable from year 1. Now Lamborghini has many showrooms in cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, etc. The students were curious about how he switched from heavy commercial vehicles to luxury cars. “Selling a luxury car is not much different than selling a commercial vehicle.” he said, much to everybody’s amusement, “ You have to focus on individual customer and his dream. A truck driver may be different than an affluent Lamborghini customer, but they both have the dream to own the vehicle. I appealed to dreams of both of them.” How often do you get to hear these insights of the real world business! The students were awestruck. He also said, “The real business lies where the customer is, and you have to reach out to your customers.” He mentioned that more you talk to your customer more you are able to fill the gap between him and your product.

After a successful stint at Lamborghini, Mr. Shetty was given responsibility to handle the business of Porsche, where sir is the Director today. “Porsche has different business than Lamborghini, it has a wider audience and product range, and again I adapted to this new challenge.” Mr. Shetty said. He spoke about the history of Porsche, how it was started. He provided many insights about how the marketing is done for Porsche, how the company leverages the BTL techniques and the digital media marketing. “Porsche cars defy physics as well as economics! But when a customer has an experience of driving a Porsche, you know he cannot resist. It’s not just a car, It's a dream!” The Porsche today has a profitability of 17.3%, more than any other luxury car brand in the world. Mr. Shetty is now spearheading the company’s success in India.

The students were curious about many things and they kept interacting with Shetty sir. When he was asked what does one need to be successful, he said, “Be real! It’ that simple. Be who you are and have intense engagement with whatever you want to do.” He underlined the importance of having entrepreneurial outlook in your work. He emphasized upon the adaptability in your manner of work. He also told that marketing lies in observing people and figuring out what they want.

The batch was showered with these and many more valuable insights. Last but not the least, he said not to forget to have a fun! Develop a passion or a hobby and work on it, enjoy it apart from your business. “I would not be here if it was not for Sydenham.” he added expressing his gratitude towards his alma mater,” Sydenham changed me completely and I urge you to learn as much as you can from it.” The students were delighted, amazed and inspired when he said,” Sydenhamites are dynamites!” Mr. Shetty answered all of students’ queries with utmost promptness. He engaged students, showered them with knowledge, enriched them with deep insights and inspired them to follow the path of success!

We, the Alumni Committee of SIMSREE, on the behalf of all the students want to express our gratitude to Mr. Pawan Shetty for taking time from his busy schedule and coming to the college to address the new batch of 2018-20! Thank you Sir!

(This article has been written by Avadhut Mainkar, a first year management student at SIMSREE)

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