Sandeep Sethi, Managing Director, Corporate Solutions, JLL, West Asia

On today’s episode of The Brand Called You, we have with us the Managing Director for West Asia, Corporate Solutions, JLL. He has worked with Telecom in Africa, Carrier in China and The Johnson’s Control in USA and Singapore. He has finished his MS and MBA from the US. He has travelled and worked around the world and is a professional from the real estate industry. In this conversation with Mr. Garg, Mr. Sethi shares his professional journey and the three key milestones of his career and life. He tells the viewers about the transitions of his career from one successful company to the other. He also shares his experiences in working with these companies.  Talking about Corporate Solutions, Sandeep mentions that it is a company that serves three stakeholders- Investors, developers and corporates.

It is a business unit that addresses all the products sold to corporate clients. Sandeep also talks about how big organisations like JLL have changed the market scenario and the real estate business. He explains why the young generation avoids purchasing residential spaces and how this can be changed. Sandeep also throws light on why this pandemic has been a difficult phase for the real estate industry. They discuss the impact of the global economy on real estate in India.

“To me it’s not the destination, but the journey that matters”

Sandeep’s business stands on the core values of integrity and sense of purpose. He believes that while learning is important, unlearning is also very important in the modern world. His goal oriented approach has led him to be the successful individual that he is today!

Sandeep Sethi, Managing Director, Corporate Solutions, JLL, West Asia

Profile

I am an engineer by training. Grew up in Pune (Poona then) and studied there till graduation. Growing up in a small town in a small family was fun and interesting. Left home at the age of 20 for higher ed in the US. Went to do a Master’s in Mech Engg with a focus on energy management. Having come from a small town and that too at a time when there was no internet, I felt like a mushroom. Landed up in NY with a thick jacket. The first semester was tough in many ways. I did odd jobs at odd hours to help pay for my expenses. I even mopped pavements, washed dishes and did food delivery. It all seemed like a great adventure. While I was working on my thesis, I got picked up by Johnson Controls as an intern. I stayed with them for 15 years. Went from entry level design engineer to Area Manager in a short time.
 
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I was leading teams and running large P&Ls. After almost 11 years in the US, I moved with JCI to Singapore in 2001 to run Singapore operations for couple of years, following which I moved with JCI to Mumbai as India MD for 2.5 years. I was the youngest MD at 32. I was instrumental in turning around the operations and put the company on a profitable path. I then relocated back to Singapore in 2006 to run the Service business across APAC. After 15 years, I then decided to try something different and moved to China with Carrier (part of UTC then) as Head of their APAC business for Commercial Refrigeration. Living and working in China was like a dream assignment. I immersed myself completely in the local culture. Took up Chinese lessons, made local friends, travelled extensively across China. My next assignment was in Paris, however I had to return to India for personal reasons and joined Acme Telepower as their global CEO. This is a company that went from start up to 15000cr valuation in 4-5years. Working for a promoter led firm for the first time was an amazing experience. Manoj Upadhyay is one of the smartest entrepreneurs I’ve ever come across. The India telecom business wasn’t doing too well, so I spent a lot of time in expanding the business across Africa. I travelled extensively across sub-Saharan Africa setting up entities across 17 countries. That was an amazing experience. After almost 3 years, I had set up a team and I felt it was time to do something else. I took a break from work and thought I’d go chase my dreams of climbing mountains (I climbed Kilimanjaro). I spent a lot of time soul searching, trying to decide my next step. I thought of trying something very different professionally. I explored an opportunity to run a hospital chain and another one to lead a subsidiary of a  global logistics company; I even thought of getting into the social world. I was clear about what I wanted – to be in an industry that had runway, that had the potential to be connected with a social cause, huge untapped potential and not fully organized yet, and one that would require innovation. I came across an opportunity in Real Estate and it seemed to check the all boxes that I had. I joined JLL. I’ve been with them for 7.5 years and I’m having the time of my life.
I’ve learnt so much in the last few years and the more I learn, I realize that there’s so much more to learn. What I love the most is that RE can make such a big social impact. That’s the part that gets me going the most. Today, I play an active part in the firm’s sustainability agenda, am on the firm’s D&I council. I also chair a subcommittee on industry placements for one of NSDC’s sector skills councils. My experiences have provided me with great opportunities to travel, live in different countries, work across diverse industries, in different corporate cultures (blue chip and promoter driven). I’ve met some amazing people and I’ve
grown stronger each year. Along the way, learning has been the most important driver for me. Learning comes in different formats these days. I’ve been fortunate to have received good formal education – MS and MBA in the US, summer school at the LSE and couple of leadership development programs at IIM A&B. However, life’s best lessons are learnt daily when you roll up your sleeves and immerse yourself in life… with an open mind.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Gender

Language

English

Location

India

YPO

No

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