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An Entrepreneur to A Corporate Executive
Here’s how I transitioned from being an entrepreneur to a corporate executive
My first job was that of an entrepreneur, when I co-founded an education company with some friends, while I was a sophomore student in Delhi University. Post that I went to pursue an MBA at Stanford University, followed by short stints at Facebook and Paytm (one of India’s largest fintech companies). But very soon, I moved back to entrepreneurship, when I started EduKart.
A lot of us plan to move from corporate jobs to entrepreneurship and this transition in most cases is a thought through and a gradual process.
But what happens when you have to transition the other way round, i.e. from being an entrepreneur to a corporate executive. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and thought that I would stay one forever! I never thought about taking up a corporate job again during my 5 year long journey at EduKart as the founder cum CEO. But the transition happened when EduKart got aqui-hired by Paytm. As a result of this, I started my second stint at Paytm. I subsequently worked for more than four years at Udacity (a global edtech unicorn). And have continued to be a corporate executive in my current role as SVP Operations at Tala (fast growing fintech that provides loans to the financially underserved around the world).
The transition from an entrepreneur to a corporate executive was not an easy one. But I am glad to say that I have really liked being a corporate executive, while retaining the entrepreneurial spirit within me to take risks and run my part of the business as if it's truly mine! Here are some learnings from my work where I have worked as an entrepreneur turned into a corporate executive.
Don't make everyone’s job your job!
This is one of the bigger challenges you face when you transition to a corporate role. As entrepreneurs, we are used to being completely in charge, which many times could mean stepping on other people’s shoes and sometimes even trying to do more people’s jobs!
But once you move to a job, you have to realise that you now have peers who might not appreciate this. Take ownership, but remember your boundaries as a collaborative team member. As the old saying goes “good boundaries make good neighbours”!
Take Risks, But Under-Control
Entrepreneurs are wired to take risks. But as a corporate executive you need to learn to manage the entrepreneurial risk taking appetite. The risks you take should align with the organization’s goals. More importantly, you must know how to mitigate these risks. I have a lot of responsibility in my role and a lot of room to take risks as well. However, I continuously remind myself that while I am privileged to have the support of my company to take risks, I must be really thinking of mitigating these risks and how my decisions would impact other functions in the company.
Learn to build consensus and then some more
As entrepreneurs, most of the time you will have final say in the decision. While you are driving consensus in your teams, you don't always get challenged by your teams, as you would in corporate jobs by your peers. Therefore it is important to build patience and skills for building consensus among peers. This will go a long way to being successful at a corporate job.
Former entrepreneurs: An asset to any organization
I have worked with and hired many entrepreneurs who have proven to be great assets for the organization. They bring in deep sense of ownership and get s**t done attitude! Many of them are great leaders and can lead from the front and build teams along the way.
So if you are an entrepreneur wanting to explore the corporate route, go do it! You will definitely be an asset to the company you work with!
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