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Winning Stroke: Interview with Mainak Dhar, Managing Director, General Mills

In an interview, Mainak Dhar, Managing Director, General Mills, speaks about his achievements, dilemma and more

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An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Mainak has  spent more than two decades in the corporate sector. He began his career  with Procter & Gamble, spending almost 18 years there in marketing  and general management, 15 of them outside India. In 2014, he moved back  to India as the Managing Director of General Mills India. In early  2017, Mainak took on a new role at General Mills, heading up the IMEA  Region (India, Middle East, Africa, Asia Export Markets). A  self-described cubicle dweller by day and writer by night, Mainak is  also the author of over a dozen books, some of which have been  bestsellers in India and abroad. These books have been translated into  Turkish, Vietnamese, Japanese, French, German and Portuguese reaching  millions of readers worldwide.

If not in the current profession,what would you be?

Realistically, probably a Professor of Economics who has a night job as a novelist writing dystopian thrillers. Had a scholarship to go and study Economics at Cambridge which I didn’t pursue and did my MBA instead. Of course, the night job as a writer is something I still do!

One tune you always hum?

When you say nothing at all.

One book to read when you want to motivate yourself?

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

One Dialogue of a movie that motivates you or you like the most?
‘Wounds heal, chicks dig scars but glory is forever’ from The Replacements
‘With great power comes great responsibility’ from Spiderman

The Place you never been to and always want to go?

Loch Ness in Scotland. Would love to go on a boat ride and see if Nessie is there after all.

An animal that signifies you & why?
Fish. I’m a Piscean.

A Movie Character you most resemble or resonate with?
a)     Marvel or DC- Marvel- more relatable heroes and more of ordinary people discovering what they are capable of. Also, of late, far better movie adaptations!
b)      Batman or Superman- Batman. Rather ride in the Batmobile than fly around- especially with the pollution and smog around, Superman would likely keep bumping into tall buildings.
c)       Tom or Jerry- Jerry. Rather be nimble than be stupid.
d)     Chacha Chaudhary or Super Commando Dhruv- Neither. How about Sabu? So cool that an alien would choose to remain on Earth because he loved parathas and halwa. Sounds like a kindred soul!
If your life was to be turned into a movie who would you like to play your part?

I’m not presumptuous enough to imagine a movie being made about my life. The chances of that happening are about as high as my being a movie star- so why not star in it myself?

Luck or Hard Work, What do you think weighs more in defining a successful Person?

What is the definition of a successful person? To me the most successful person is one who has clarity on what success means uniquely to them, is able to work towards it and be happy with their choices. So, self-awareness is more important than either luck or hard work.

One best decision you ever made?
Marry my wife, Puja.

A strategy that you always use to take your decisions in Personal or Professional life?
Ask if I can look myself in the mirror and be at peace that I’ve done the right thing.

Whose advise you seek when in dilemma?

My wife.

What has been your biggest achievement?
Getting promoted to ‘father’ nine years ago.

One thing that you want to change in yourself?

Nothing. We’re all imperfect, unique and crazy in our own way. I like myself the way I am.

A line said by your closed one that you never forget?
Always keep writing, always keep smiling. One of the last things my mother told me before she passed away.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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mainak dhar Winning Stroke General Mills

Jeet Sharma

Jeet works for BW Businessworld

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