Punch, Lunch, and … Punch!

Naya biwi. Naya desh. (New wife. New country).

Still gummed to social media. Entire Saturday. The only saving grace is that this bearded UP bhaiya is “counseling.” His busy work schedule from Monday through Friday in one of the world’s busiest verticals, the electric vehicle, leaves him little time to look at his LinkedIn message box flooded with seeking “advisory” from fellow Indians.

So AdityaTiwari reserved Saturdays for responding to those 50-odd guidance-seekers on what to do and where to go in the hot potato EV domain — in India and abroad. This crowd consists of freshers out of college with a degree in electrical/electronics, some with a few years of exposure to the automotive segment in India, and some experienced brains exploring avenues outside India.

Between sipping innumerable cups of garam chai and tasty Indian food made at home by you-know-who throughout Saturday (weekly off), the bearded 29-year-old resident of Rahul Gandhi’s erstwhile parliamentary constituency (Amethi, Uttar Pradesh) and career solution-provider sitting at his Hanoi residence in Vietnam is “engaged.” “Mind you, I charge no fees,” he butts in via WhatsApp video call on a Sunday early morning maiden session.

Tiwari got married recently and shifted to Hanoi to lead a specific vertical at the renowned and one of the biggest industrial conglomerates, the Vingroup (For more, https://vingroup.net/en/about). Does his highly qualified software professional working remotely get pissed off with Tiwari’s Saturday routine? He responds with the usual apologetic new husband shy-smile. Perhaps his spouse understands his mission: to help others to move up their career ladder.

What kind of counseling does he dish out? For freshers, his advice: avoid big names and look for small companies. Why? The “Punch, Lunch & Punch” syndrome, he blurts out. I am clueless. Sensing my discomfort grasping what he said, he quickly rushes in to remove my mental cobwebs.

“True, there is a craze across the globe for EV. Something like Covid. The climate change and carbon emissions debate added extra fuel to the save the world campaign by embracing the EV shift. Therefore, there is a huge demand for electrical/electronics candidates in the US, Europe and of course, our India,” elaborates Tiwari. Big boys in the Indian automotive segment — you name them, and they are there fishing in the EV pond — are on the inevitable talent search.

That’s good, no? Big company. Good compensation. “In big setups, you are absorbed, no doubt, and once in, you truly get to do very little. You are a cog in the wheel. So, you end up punching the biometric machine to enter, lunching at the well-stocked and aesthetically-decorated cafeteria as much as you wish and punch out again at the end of the day or shift. I call this process’ Punch, Lunch & Punch’,” explains Tiwari. What a sense of humor!

On the other hand, several small and medium-size business enterprises in India have a huge opportunity to learn more quickly because speed is vital for business sustainability. Remember Peter Schumacher’s “Small Is Beautiful” precept! Tiwari, coming out of Visveswaraya Technological University, Bengaluru, with an electrical engineering degree, traversed through several small business enterprises in the EV segment — several of them in the startup mode — in his career thus far before landing with Mahindra R&D Centre Chennai and later a stint at Volvo, Sweden to sharpen his knowledge in the EV vertical. Then, he landed in Hanoi, Vietnam, to work for the Vingroup.

He knows his onions. Not the garden variety career counselors with limited or no exposure to the real world, operating in the cocoons of airconditioned ambiance in prestigious business towers in metros. It is tempting to ask: is this youngster with less than a decade of exposure in the business world yak-yaking?

It does not appear because whoever has gobbled him believes in his intellectual caliber and rigor. He’s young. Ready for hard toil because the domain of R&D, particularly in the current EV craze, abhors clock-watchers.

Above all, the R&D spends in the Indian business world is nothing to gloat over. Listed companies spent Rs 36,000 crore on research and development (R&D) — just 0.9 percent of revenues. As a percentage of GDP, R&D spends in India have averaged 0.7 percent in the past six years, ICICI Securities’ analysis showed. India’s R&D spend is “relatively low as compared to other emerging economies (1–1.5 per cent) and significantly lower than developed economies and China (more than 2 per cent),” said Vinod Karki, Siddharth Gupta, and Anagha Deodhar, analysts at the brokerage. (1)

According to Tiwari, the R&D activities in India more or less halt post product launch. He jovially says this “highly qualified tech talent is pushed into sales, marketing, after sales service.” Is the R&D talent misutilized? Probably. Outside India, the R&D spend — irrespective of the vertical — and activities are on non-stop mode, and, ipso facto, opportunities galore for the Indian talent.

As far as the Indian talent in the specific EV domain with a few years of experience, he guides movement either within or without. For seniors with ten years plus domain experience, he guides them too to potential suitors. “It is an exhilirating expeirence,” admits the Amethi-born electrical engineer. The middle category has a large scope because there is a huge thirst for quicker implementation of EV rollout.

Besides a professional degree in electronics and electrical engineering, Tiwari suggests acquiring knowledge in artificial intelligence, data analytics, and machine learning to succeed in the current EV-mania-filled world. Specific and smaller niches are created, thus enabling youngsters such as Tiwari to be asked to “lead” a team of 10 bright and brilliant brains drawn from across the globe. Age is no bar if one has the quiver full of the right caliber and ready to roam around, possibly in an EV vehicle.

Winding up the conversation on other related issues, Tiwari braces for an outing with his better half to compensate for the Saturday loss of togetherness. New biwi and new desh to explore before someone else plucks him out of fast-developing Vietnam to speed up their electrifying dreams!

Ref:
(1) https://www.business-standard.com/article/markets/listed-firms-spent-rs-36-000-crore-on-r-d-in-6-years-just-0-9-of-revenues-120102000037_1.html#:~:text=Topics&text=Listed%20companies%20spent%20Rs%2036%2C000,years%2C%20ICICI%20Securities's%20analysis%20showed.

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