When I look back, I think it was my destiny to be in Steel Industry as Steel started to be a part of my life at a very early age of 10.
It all began in 1991, when I was 10 and I shifted to a new school in grade 6 and that’s when I became a part of “Steel Plant Matriculation Hr Sec School” in a town Arakkonam, located at 70 kms from Chennai.
This school was originally meant for the children of employees of the mini steel plant producing re-bars.
I did not realize during the plant visits during my school days that I would be making a career in steel. I used to see the mammoth (everything looked huge those days in my eyes) steel melting furnace in awe and it continues to be.
There was a chapter “Metallurgy” in my 10th grade in Chemistry and for reasons unknown I found it interesting. I still remember the experience of learning the differences between metals and non-metals.
Destiny had it and I joined Government College of Engineering, Salem (one of the cities in Tamil Nadu) in 1999 , to purse Bachelor of Metallurgical Engineering.
I was humbled by the “Best Metallurgist Award” received at Salem Steel Plant in 2002. Unlike all Metallurgists I too had the inclination to pursue my masters in a Metallurgical specialization. But deep inside I felt that research is not something in which I would build my career. I started to find techno-commercial genre more interesting and apt for me.
As any young kid, I was absolutely elated to attend the 2nd round of interview during mid 2003 at “Sunflag Iron & Steel Co”, at India’s center point, Nagpur and still I can’t forget that train journey. To continue my steel journey, I joined them as a Graduate Engineering trainee.
I took up the job in Sales in Chennai after training at the plant for 6 months. Those six months gave insights in to what actually happens in various departments in a steel plant and had the opportunity to see the art of making steel. I spent almost 4 years being a key account executive selling alloy steel bars, wire rods to auto ancillary industry. That was when I really felt that my Metallurgical knowledge came handy in job. First job, as everyone might feel, was special for me, not because I started to earn, but for the exposure and changing my personality. When I look back now, I could realize that instilling confidence on a young, aggressive person would bring in the best in them.
While I was in Sunflag, I did my part-time Masters in Business Administration in Marketing specialization in one of the renowned business schools in India, LIBA – Loyola Institute of Business Administration. I realized that pursuing management after having gained some years of work experience makes on to visualize and understand the management concepts more effectively.
I decided to move on to explore some other products in steel and I landed in Essar Steel towards end of 2007 as a Territory Sales Manager. It was a completely different world as it’s is a much bigger company and the way sales operation conducted was different. The role of “Key Account Manager” and later as “Service center sales manager” were quite challenging. This is where I learnt a lot of co-ordination, tried to better my interpersonal skills as in any big organization, there are always unpleasant people and we have to face, handle and work with them. I got a hold of flat products (strip based) in Essar during my 2 and half years tenure.
After Essar, I got an opportunity to work with an international Steel trading firm, SteelFORCE since early 2010. I got to know/see how the international steel industry functions. Experience of handling different steel products (high strength, alloy steel, commercial, semis etc.,) and getting to know the different business perspectives and interaction with other country steel professionals helped is gaining more insights. Exposure of handling international steel mills across Europe, China, Ukraine, Turkey, etc., Being a buyer and seller and switching chairs across table is a challenging task that I’m trying to live up to. The journey in SteelFORCE as a key account manager & trader for India and Sri Lanka continues….