Welcome to our February edition of our GDT Employee Spotlight. Our Culture & Engagement Manager, Sydney Johnson, interviewed Anirudh Raghavan, Associate Solutions Architect, with our Professional Services team this month.
SYDNEY: Hi, Anirudh! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions for our February Employee Spotlight. You have a fantastic story that we want to know more about. How long have you been with GDT, and what does your role entail?
ANIRUDH: I’ve now been with GDT for eight months. I initially started as a Business Analyst Intern with the Tools & Automation team at GDT. I later transitioned to a full-time role as an Associate Solutions Architect with the Professional Services team as part of a rotational program. On a high level, my current role is a combination of Automation, Data Visualization, & Project Management responsibilities.
SYDNEY: We are so glad you joined the GDT family! Please tell us a bit about yourself & your story.
ANIRUDH: I’m originally from Bangalore, India. Being the only child born to professionally diverse parents has shaped me to develop a strong corporate work ethic following my Mother, who has been in HR with multiple MNCs for about 30 years. I am also greatly inspired by my father, who runs his own business. The inspiration from my parents’ careers and my passion for technology & businesses drove me to pursue my Master’s in Engineering Management from Northeastern University, Boston, where I specialized in Product Management & Data Analytics.
SYDNEY: That is amazing! You have an incredible story. What is your favorite part about your job?
ANIRUDH: My absolute favorite part of my current role here at GDT is the amount of collaboration with coworkers and constantly being able to learn. Another key stand out would be the vastly experienced & most approachable leadership team I’ve had the opportunity to learn from daily.
SYDNEY: We have some wonderful leaders here with a lot of knowledge. What led you to join GDT?
ANIRUDH: Post my Master’s at Northeastern University, I was introduced to GDT by Elizabeth Kapoor. I started researching the company and read about the internship opening. I spoke with Ed Jolly & Sydney Johnson as part of my interview process, & strongly felt that the company and its culture aligned with my professional goals. The company’s rapid growth, the direction & mindset of the leaders & the board, like in MNCs, there was no second thought but to work towards growing here long term.
SYDNEY: We hope you will continue to grow with us! Have you faced any unique challenges or opportunities as a global employee, and how did you overcome or leverage them?
ANIRUDH: Since GDT was my first experience with corporate life in America, I did feel the difference in the work culture compared to India. Overcoming this was a team effort over time. Collaborating with various teams and professionals was a great experience that helped me better identify and work on myself to adapt to the new setting I was part of.
SYDNEY: I can only imagine how different it must have been, but you have made the transition look effortless. How has working in both India and the US shaped your professional experience?
ANIRUDH: As we all know, the work culture varies with every country, company & team. I believe that the exposure I’ve gained so far by working both in India & US gave me a lot of key takeaways. Over time, I’ve had to learn and unlearn many of these takeaways from new experiences, and I believe that has made me the professional I am today and will enable me to advance in the future as well.
SYDNEY: I think it is important for all of us to learn from other cultures. Can you share some fundamental cultural differences you’ve noticed between working in India and the US?
ANIRUDH: One of the key differences I’ve noticed so far would be regarding communication. In India, professional communication is more respectful & formal, whereas in the US, it’s much more open. Also, organizations in India are big on following a hierarchy, leading to more centralized decision-making, whereas, in the US, it’s more flexible, leading to more decentralized decision-making.
SYDNEY: That is very interesting! If you could do anything for a job or career, what would it be?
ANIRUDH: As someone who enjoys sitting down with friends & family to brainstorm business & personal finance ideas, I would love to eventually start my own startup or be a leader at a fintech company.
SYDNEY: You would make a fantastic leader. What’s a fun fact about you that most people may not know?
ANIRUDH: I love almost all genres of music and driving, and I usually end up going on tons of solo night drives to clear my mind. This, in a way, is my version of meditation.
SYDNEY: That is awesome. We all need an outlet to clear our minds. Where would you say is your favorite place to be or travel to?
ANIRUDH: Manchester, UK, has been one of my dream destinations since I started following Manchester United in 2008. Watching a game live at Old Trafford is one of the top items on my bucket list.
SYDNEY: I hope you get to go one day soon. Do you have a motto or personal mantra that you live by?
ANIRUDH: There are quite a few personal mantras I’ve been trying to imbibe over the years, but if I had to choose one that I currently relate to the most, it would be “MTB- Maintain the balance.” As simple as it sounds, it’s hard to live by on a day-to-day basis, especially considering the fast-paced world we live in. I strongly believe that living this mantra is one of the keys to true peace and happiness.
SYDNEY: 100%. Balance is important for everyone. If you could meet anyone in the world, past or present, who would it be?
ANIRUDH: I’d love to meet Warren Buffett and learn from his experiences about leadership, building a business, and investing, as I’m big on personal finance and am an aspiring entrepreneur as well.
SYDNEY: Is there anything you are currently loving and want to share? This can be a podcast, book, tv show, music, activity, anything!
ANIRUDH: Suits is one of my all-time favorite TV shows based on corporate law. Aside from the show’s entertainment aspect, I’ve learned a lot from it as well. From relationship management in personal and professional life, the power of body language to handling, learning & growing from difficult situations, the show also has immense learning clubbed with great banter between the characters. It’s definitely a must-watch!
SYDNEY: Thank you, Anirudh! Sitting down and learning more about you has been a treat. We are happy to have you as a part of our team.