Parimal was on an academic path toward a Ph.D in Materials Science & Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin when he realized that prospects in his field of studies were getting limited, especially for international students.
So, Parimal changed his path and pursued an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.
After progressing through the usual rungs of Associate to Senior Associate, and then Vice President to Sr. Vice President to Director, he realized that further progression was dependent on how much business he could generate for the bank. Parimal assessed his selling abilities and decided to pivot to the corporate side.
He had heard a lot of excuses for why investment bankers did not make good corporate executives, but ultimately, he was successful with his client, Terex Corporation. He had a very productive 14 years defying all those naysayers who claimed he could not be successful in the corporate world.
When Terex changed its acquisition strategy, Parimal pivoted again and found himself an operating role in Italy. He was managing a multi-product business with three manufacturing facilities, multiple international sales branches and approximately a 400 person organization reporting to him. For a business that had processes stuck in the 1990’s, he made significant improvement in a short time. This was ultimately made possible by winning his team’s trust and respect.
Today, Parimal enjoys mentoring young companies. He is currently a mentor to three startups. He assists them with ideas on financing, strategic planning, financial modeling, and negotiations. He likes that this gives him the opportunity to learn about different industries and newer technologies.
We recently had the chance to catch up with Parimal to learn a bit more about how he became so successful.
How did you get started?
When I was about to graduate with my MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, I had to decide what kind of a business career I wanted to pursue. I had heard that investment banking was really competitive, and I liked the idea of going after something that was hard to get.
I packed my bags and drove to NYC with just $5,000 that I had saved from my previous work as a research assistant. I rented out the basement of a house in New Jersey and started mailing my resumes.
Beginning a career in investment banking proved rather difficult. At that time, the country was just coming out of a recession and employers were required to demonstrate that they were unable to find a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to fill the position before hiring someone like me.
I picked up some odd jobs here and there, but I was running out of money and needed to make some decisions about what to do next. I sold my car and moved in with a friend to make ends meet.
I began interviewing with Bear Stearns right after I had booked a one-way ticket back to India. After four or five rounds of meetings, I finally asked the Managing Director what I should do with my one-way ticket. He advised me to cancel it, and after sixteen separate trips to Bear Stearns I was finally offered the job of Associate in investment banking.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I think it’s my honest and direct approach which allows me to build trust in my business relationships that has made me successful.
Many of our competitors had a reputation to bait and switch, promising a higher value in the beginning but jamming up the client after a three to six-month due diligence process. I’m not your typical smooth salesman and I can’t put on a face and fake a persona. I found that people were drawn to my consistency and would come to trust me.
It also helps that I have good business judgement and a great ability to get to the core of any situation quickly. As a result, unlike my competitors, my pre and post due diligence business valuation did not change dramatically and that helped strengthen the trust with the counter parties further.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
My most satisfying moment in business came as an accumulation of incremental improvements that I made while managing a multi-product line manufacturing business in Italy.
When I arrived, the business was underperforming and employee morale was at an all-time low. I quickly worked to remove the dictatorial GM of sixteen years and won the trust of the entire team. From there, I made significant improvements in spare parts fulfillment, supply chain lead times, service training, safety record, quality and inspection protocols and monthly financial closings.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive?
I try to find balance in my approach to anything. I emphasize excellence, but not necessarily perfection. Real life situations require making decisions in the face of uncertainty and waiting for perfection could result in failure.
I plan before executing, but I am decisive and do not suffer from paralysis from endless analysis. I prefer not to be reactive, and instead of putting out fires, I plan to avoid them from starting.
How do you manage your workflow effectively?
I manage my workflow by prioritizing and communicating. I set expectations by keeping my team and superiors informed on deliverables and timing. I believe in under promising and over delivering.
I’m accustomed to working at a faster pace than most because of my investment banking training, so setting realistic expectations and delivering on time comes easy to me.