Hello & Goodbye from SUMS Alumni: Vimal Menon (2003)

— 22.08.18

by Adam Greenwood

Growing up in India, Vimal Menon, moved to the UK in order to study at the Management School, graduating in 2003 with a Sheffield MBA. Now living in Bolivia, Vimal is a Project Director for Leela Anand International Inc, a company involved in Mining and Trading of Minerals across the Globe. Vimal kindly gives a few prescious insights into his work, the perils of getting Wi-Fi in the forest, his involvement in e-learning, and his love of cricket. Howzat?

“Handling situations in real time, without your project management tools and executing a project with minimum flaws, is a great challenge.”

1. You grew up in Mumbai, India but have settled in Bolivia. What made you decide to relocate to South America?

I moved to Bolivia, South America, in 2012. I fell in Love with a Bolivian lady who is a leading Medical Doctor in Bolivia. That has been the main reason for my move.

2. You gained the Sheffield MBA in 2003. What did you find most useful about the course in terms of applying to your working roles?

When I was entering the e-business course, I was fresh out of the Dot Com Bubble. I had a lot of advice not to enter the (e-business) course, as it would not help, and follow a more traditional Marketing or Finance modules. My vision was the world would do commerce via the net and I had to understand this module. Today, I have deployed quite a few projects from e-learning to e-governance. I've worked with interesting people in the M-commerce world too. Apart from the theory part, the course taught me to use my skills as a people-person and work with a multi-cultural and multi-lingual work group.

3. What are you enjoying most about your role as Project Manager for Leela Anand International PLC?

Well my LinkedIn has to be updated, as now I am promoted to Project Director at Leela Anand. I enjoy the challenge of working in the mining industry where technology is limited when you enter a mine or a thick forest. Handling situations in real time, without your project management tools, and executing a project with minimum flaws, is a great challenge. The workforce is a team that works in a traditional manner, speaking Spanish and with limited education. They are managed by a team that has high tech skills and mining knowledge. Apart from this, I play my role in helping the Indian Embassy establish their footprint in Bolivia, from Lima in Peru, as we do not have an embassy. A mix of blue collar, white collar and diplomats makes my role really fascinating and exciting.

4. You are a Digital Marketing Consultant for the Universidad Privada Franz Tamayo in Bolivia. Tell us more about your involvement working within academia?

This was more of an accidental venture than a selection! I used to present to students in various opportunities as an expert in e-business. Unifranz asked me to help build a course in digital marketing. The first one was from Ireland and they needed an international Teacher. There, I set foot in the world of teaching, and, since then, it has been a amazing journey with interesting people. My role involves creating the modules and getting it approved by the Ministry of Education and delivering the same with a group of experts to post graduate students.

5. From roles in e-learning, to marketing, business development to project management, you appear to have a rich and diverse CV. Do you find you have created a set of core skills that are transferable into each new position?

Yes, I have learnt a lot and developed many new skills. I have positioned myself as an important person in the Indian community that takes care of, not only helping the local Indian communities in Bolivia, but also working at a high level with Diplomats in cracking the most challenging and large projects (Bolivia and India).

6. What are the opportunities and challenges of working in the mining sector?

Language, lack of technology, dynamic changes in real-time and risks.

7. You have lots of recommendations on LinkedIn, do you think building up a network of contacts has supported your career?

I have been lucky to have so many recommendations. LinkedIn has helped me reach out to new people and new ventures. But I use LinkedIn to be in touch with the business world. Of late, I have found LinkedIn losing it’s touch as a professional network.

8. How do you unwind after a long week in the office?

I live in La Paz, Bolivia at 3600mts above sea level. I normally go out for long drives in the Andean altiplano with my family and our pets. Driving the altiplano is a real big challenge and thrill as you change altitude by the mile from 3600mts to 5000 mts above sea- level. I also play cricket and have been featured in, The Shorter Wisden 2017, the chapter Bolivia!

Do you want to be interviewed? Alumni can ask for an interview by emailing mgtalumni@sheffield.ac.uk