Hari Krishnan, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific & Japan at Linkedin tells us about his global MBA experience at INSEAD and how to leverage your network.
- You have worked in different organizations – Large companies, Fast growing Silicon Valley Companies and Start Ups. What have you learned from each?
My aspiration has always been to be a business builder and leader. To do so, I needed to work at different companies, different industries and companies at different stages of development.At Cisco, I worked for a large company at the peak of it’s powers. To be in the Silicon Valley during the dotcom boom and bust periods was a very educational lesson which has served me well. Above all, I learned how good companies manage employees, take strategic investment decisions and build business.I worked/co-founded 2 separate startups – Travelguru and Stylkist. While one exited successfully through an acquisition, the other one grew well but eventually was sold after breaking up its core assets. I learnt how to build an industry (E-Commerce in India) and build a company from the ground up. Struggles such as figuring out how to make payroll, manage cashflow, hive off business lines etc are so much more existential in nature at that stage of a company’s existence.I also helped 3 American digital companies enter India – Yahoo, MySpace and most recently LinkedIn. I learnt the challenges of being an MNC subsidiary, setting up tax entities, and managing expectations across cultures and geos.All of this has allowed me to be better at prioritization, focus on talent and growing businesses.
- How has your MBA from INSEAD enabled you to lead?
It opened me up to cultural differences especially in the professional context. It allowed me to face up to and conquer my own biases and understand how to be successful in global settings. It also showcased the strength of a strong network and good old fashioned hard work.
- You have studied on three continents. What would you say to students looking for a global experience?
Be flexible in your approach, open-minded in your thinking and let the experiences wash over you. You will be so much better as a person and a professional once you have done this. But do not underestimate how uncomfortable the actual process of studying in another culture may feel. Its character building stuff!
- Business today is becoming social. How would you encourage students to foster social engagement at school and at work?
Professional networks are about making yourself more successful and productive, if they are done well. I would encourage three things:
- Be authentic: be yourself, don’t pretend to be something/someone you are not.
- Share more freely: The more you contribute, the more value you will get out of your network.
- Quality over quantity: A network of trusted, high quality people is worth much more than just arbitrarily networking with all and sundry.
- Any tips for our aspiring MBA’s ?
Understand WHY you want an MBA. It can be a wonderful experience, but don’t expect a silver bullet. It will not make you a superhero, just a little better at things like time management, people management and perhaps fill skill gaps like finance, negotiation ability etc.
- Can you tell us a bit about Linkedin University?
LinkedIn has 238M+ members globally and this means we have a large number of career paths and we know the career outcomes for the alums for thousands of schools globally. We believe we are uniquely positioned to help university students build a path from college to their career. In the future, you could also foresee a time when highschool students apply to colleges and specific programs using the career outcome data of alums of that college/program, which they will find on LinkedIn. We are only just getting started with services for this key stakeholder group.