Charting Success with Purpose
Sanjiv Gupta’s journey from a small industrial suburb of Rourkela to becoming a global leader in the IT-BPM industry is a proof to his resolute determination and passion for success. Hailing from Lathikata, Odisha, he cherished a close-knit community and shared a strong bond with childhood friends, which remains steadfast to this day. As he recalled, “My childhood friends still remain my closest amongst all the friends I made in life.”
His dreams of exploring the world led him to pursue Electronics Engineering at MNNIT Allahabad and later a PGDM at XIM Bhubaneswar. His career took flight in 1994 when he joined Price Waterhouse Kolkata, allowing him to apply his management education and indulge in high-end consulting. However, it was the ERP era in 1997 that marked a turning point in his journey. Seizing the opportunity to relocate to the United States as an Oracle Applications functional consultant, Sanjiv embarked on a transformative path in the realm of Information Technology. Reflecting on that pivotal decision, he asserted, “That was the start of my career in the industry that defined my life over the next two and a half decades.”
As he passionately stated, “For a service provider company in the IT-BPM industry, there are three broad stakeholder groups … people, client, business. My strategy has always been ‘people first’ driven by the belief that if people are well taken care of, then they will take care of our clients, eventually helping our business succeed.”
His commitment to prioritizing people and clients has earned him the highest NPS scores for IBM’s global delivery center in the Philippines, a feat that speaks volumes about his compassionate leadership. As he humbly expressed, “I have been lucky to have worked under very empathetic leaders who gave me the space and empowered me to succeed. I have never been micromanaged in my career and for sure that has been one of the biggest motivators for me driving stickiness towards IBM.”
Despite the challenges it may pose for his dependents, he embraces adaptability as his guiding principle, thriving in any environment worldwide. As he eloquently puts it, “Comfort and success do not co-exist. This obviously poses challenges for my dependents as I tend to make fast decisions for myself.”
Sanjiv’s passion for empowerment is fueled by his desire to provide his children with boundless opportunities and freedom to pursue their dreams. Inspired by his father’s selflessness, he vowed to create a life where reasonable aspirations and needs of his immediate and extended dependents are not curtailed by financial considerations. As he fondly shared, “I told my children that they should pursue their educational dreams wherever in the world they wished, and I will back them up.”
Upon his arrival in Manila, Sanjiv Gupta set his sights on transforming IBM’s delivery capabilities, further enhancing the center’s stature as a global destination for IT and BPM services. As he emphasized, “Having headed one of the largest delivery verticals in India in my prior role, I have a fair understanding of the sweet spots of both India as well as Philippines in the ITBPM industry.” He believes he can actively contribute to the vision of creating 1.1 million additional jobs in the Philippine IT-BPM industry over the next five years. He continued to share, “My philosophy has been to ‘nurture organic talent’ and in the process support the aspirations stated by IBPAP and PSIA.”
Sanjiv’s defining keywords encapsulate his approach to life: Attitude, People Centricity, Empathy, Flexibility, and Responsiveness. Coupled with the core values of IBM, he has fostered a supportive and empowering work culture across the portfolios he has led over the years.
Sanjiv Gupta’s exceptional achievements were celebrated at the prestigious Asia CEO Awards 2022 in Manila. Proudly receiving the “Circle of Excellence” trophy for Expatriate Executive of the Year, he showcased outstanding leadership and visionary prowess. Under Sanjiv’s leadership, IBM earned “Circle of Excellence” trophies for Diversity Company of the Year and CSR Company of the Year, highlighting his commitment to diversity and social responsibility.
Sanjiv Gupta’s mantra for success: “Your career maneuvers within the three dimensional space. The more flexible you are on each of the dimensions (e.g., role, skill, location), the bigger the space for your career mobility.” During an engaging leadership development session called “Your Next Move,” Sanjiv shared insights on becoming an IBM Executive, emphasizing planning, preparation, mentorship, sponsorship, and the importance of creating a distinctive identity for professional growth.
Sanjiv Gupta’s pursuit of excellence, evident in his achievements and expectations from others, inspires us to reach our best. Rejecting mediocrity, he urges us to embrace determination and passion for greatness. As he remarked, “All that matters is ‘Experience’. Don’t have a ‘chalta hai’ attitude in life. Strive to give your best and demand the best you deserve.”