In the second episode of our Shaping What’s Next podcast series, we sat down with Anshul Jain, Cushman & Wakefield’s Country Head and Managing Director for India. During the discussion, Anshul shared how he started in real estate, how he spends his time as a country head, how reliability plays a significant part in innovation, and his vision for Cushman & Wakefield India into the future.
Here are some of the highlights from our conversation:
Anshul initially got into real estate by accident.
“I have spent nearly 25 years in the commercial real estate industry, but given the excitement that this industry has had for me over the years, it actually does not feel that it’s been almost 25 years. How I got into it was very much accidental. The real estate services industry had just literally started in India back in 1995, and I was actually selling consumer products – fixed deposits – and I knocked on the door to sell a product to a senior professional within a competitor firm at that time. And in the conversation, he just said, ‘Look, we are starting up this particular business, would you like to join?’
It just seemed pretty interesting. I had no idea what services was. It was a bit of a risk but it certainly sounded interesting given that my job was to really roam about in the heat of Delhi selling fixed deposits and this seemed to be a nice environment to work in. And literally, I just accepted the job and that’s how I started. Little did I know how this industry would expand and what kind of careers this industry had the capacity to provide.”
To be reliable is to be innovative.
“I don’t think you can be reliable if you’re not innovative because innovation in my mind is just simply a cleverer way of solving the same old problems. So if we are not innovative, we are not bringing in cleverer solutions, whether it’s technology-centric or whether it’s just how we think of a particular solution. If you’re not bringing that to a client, you’re not adding value to a client, and therefore you’re not reliable.”
A day in the life of a country head is unpredictable.
“My days are unpredictable. Usually what I try and do is spend at least 50% of my time with clients. I see myself as a chief relationship officer. So my time is spent in building relationship with clients – sometimes actively selling and leading significant pitches in the country. And I just love doing that.
The bulk of my time is spent with people and also making sure that we have the right set of people within the business. I have a lot of both formal and informal chats walking across the floor of whichever office I’m visiting. I love that because you get to not only pick up the pulse of the organisation but also pick up the pulse of the market because these are the guys who are out there in the market. They’re meeting the clients on a daily basis and are very up-to-date on what the market is about.”
Honesty towards what you do on a daily basis benefits clients and the organisation.
“I often say to people, ‘Don’t worry about the firm. Be passionate towards your career. Be honest towards what you do on a day-to-day basis because if you are honest towards what you are doing on a day-to-day basis and you’re honestly trying to build and are excited about your career, the clients will benefit and the firm will benefit.’”
Cushman & Wakefield India aims to maintain its position as the fastest growing service provider in the country.
“We have been the fastest growing service provider over the last three or four years and we obviously want to maintain that position, which may at some stage lead us to becoming number two or even the number one service provider in India. What we want in the next couple of years is to make sure that we grow at a pace which really gives our people the opportunity to grow and expand their careers. And of course, we integrate all the learnings from around the world to provide innovative solutions to our clients. Right now we are integrating a lot of good technology that’s out there into our services which will continue to improve the way we deliver our services to our clients. I’m very excited about that.”