When you are fascinated with cars, you read about them, dream about them and eagerly await the latest models.

Atul, our next pathbreaker, took his fascination for cars to the next level, as a career. As Automobile Researcher, he reads and conducts research on cars, uncovering new technology trends that are likely to impact the Automobile industry.

Atul talks to  Shyam Krishnamurthy  from The Interview Portal about his research on next generation technologies such as EVs, Connected Cars and Autonomous Vehicles and their potential impact on Automobile revenue that helps companies foresee the future.

Atul, tell us about your background?

I grew up in a middle-class family in a small town known as Bihar Sharif (Nalanda). Nalanda is well known as one of the world’s oldest universities, but it was demolished in 1193 by Turkish leader Bakhtiyar Khilji.

My father is a businessman and runs a printing paper shop in Bihar Sharif and my mother is a Homemaker. My elder brother works in Govt. of India in health ministry as Under Secretary.

I am an MBA graduate from Pune University. Currently, I am working as Associate manager – Automotive and Transportation domain in a leading research & advisory firm MarketsandMarkets research Pvt ltd. in Pune.

My main role here is to track and monitor all the advanced disrupting technologies in the automotive sector and help companies in building revenues.

I always enjoyed taking up leadership positions, may it be in my school or college as event and cultural coordinator. Taking responsibility for all my actions and for those whom I worked with molded me into the person I am today.

What did you study?

I did my B.B.A (Marketing) from Nalanda College (Magadh University) and M.B.A (Marketing) from Neville Wadia Institute, Pune.

How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and exciting career?

I have done multiple internships during my BBA and MBA programs. During BBA, I did an internship with Mahindra and Mahindra tractors where I visited many small villages to understand the problems of farmers regarding the purchase of a tractor and to make them aware about the subsidies and grants provided by the government on a purchase of a tractor to the farmers.

During my MBA, I did two internships, one with Hindalco and another with Mahindra automobiles.

For getting these internships, I contacted key personnel in these companies through LinkedIn and through direct numbers. I shared my interest and luckily got the internships.

In my internship with Hindalco, I understood the process of industrial sales while with Mahindra Automobiles, I understood and measured the Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) (an index through which automobile companies are being ranked in India on parameters such as buyers satisfaction, showroom etiquettes, loan process etc.) for multiple dealerships of the company in Delhi/NCR region. This was done to measure the satisfaction level of customers of Mahindra Automobiles. I also studied and found multiple factors which led to loss of customers for the Mahindra company.

From there my interest with auto industry got wider and I decided that I would build my career in this industry only.

To summarize, I would say that in the research industry, it is very necessary to make and build industry contacts. It can be done by increasing your participation in seminars, continuously communicating with industry people and networking on LinkedIn etc. I have more than 13k plus contacts on LinkedIn. I regularly share my thoughts and updates from the industry.

How did you get your first break?

After completing my MBA, I joined BDB India Pvt Ltd., a market research consulting firm based in Pune. The company is a well-known market research firm in the western part of India, known for their quality consulting assignments in multiple industries including automotive, industrial goods and machineries, FMCG etc.

I got the reference for BDB from my college seniors and before joining the company, they offered me an internship (free) which led to a job offer as a result of my good performance.

For the internship at BDB, i was interviewed for more than 1.5 hours where the interviewer (MD of the company) asked me questions on core research, conducting primary interviews, building contacts, mapping and analyzing things etc. Some I knew, Some I did not … but I was willing to learn and keeping the basics strong. And finally I joined there as Business research executive. In my 1st company, I learned a lot about gathering data/insights, presenting them in front of clients and extracting meaningful results from data. I visited a lot of cities/states for data gathering and collected insights from multiple industry respondents and realised that actual research lies in the Face-to-Face interviews only. Sitting inside a room, you can go through multiple published documents and research papers, but the person who wrote those research papers, journals are the real researchers who have done thorough research to bring actual meaningful results/analysis for the user. In BDB, I handled multiple domestic as well as overseas clients and got to learn research execution skills.

Tell us about your career path

From BDB, I moved to Techsci research (Noida). The company was solely into publishing syndicate reports. There I learned how to conduct a full fledge research by sitting inside a office with the help of a landline. My tenure with Techsci research was small as I quickly moved to Firstrain Inc. (Gurgaon), an analytics firm. In Firstrain (FR), I learned regarding various analytical tools such as SQL and Tableau. This company helped me in understanding the benefits of various automated tools which are very useful when you have access to multiple databases and you need to run queries to bring meaningful results from them. I was in the sourcing team in FR and my major focus/task was to bring all the news publishing websites/portals/company websites into the FR database so that we can crawl each and every news and provide the most relevant ones to the client in the form of their desired format.

Where do you work now?

I currently work as Associate manager in automotive and transportation domain in MarketsandMarkets research private limited in Pune.

MarketsandMarkets, the company where I work, is one of the world’s largest revenue impact company, serving over 7500 customers, including 80% of the top 2000 companies in the industries that we track. In the face of constant technology innovation and market disruption, we help organizations plan & operationalize their future revenue mix decisions by identifying over 30,000 high-growth opportunities ranging from $1B to $500B. Our revenue impact methodology provides actionable & quantified insights on converged, granular, and networked market ecosystems that result from disruptive technologies and high-growth markets. We provide an extended lens on not only what will impact our client’s revenue but also what will impact their clients’ revenues, thus uncovering latent opportunities.

I personally track all the advanced technologies in the automotive and transportation domain which includes electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, EV charging infrastructure, connected cars, V2X technology, autonomous vehicles etc.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are considered to be the biggest disruption which is happening with the players operating in the automotive industry. An Internal combustion engine car has more than 5000+ moving components while an EV will have just ~150 moving components. You can think of the disruption or revenue loss which is going to happen with the automotive components manufacturers.

What skills are needed for job? How did you acquire the skills?

From the research end, you need to be analytical and calculative so that you can compare things and provide insights. You must be a good reader as the research industry requires you to study a lot.

In the auto industry, you also need to possess some technical knowledge, and in case you don’t have such a background you should be keen to learn them.

The way to acquire these skills are two fold:

Firstly by experience. When you do thorough research on a daily basis for multiple projects and clients, you automatically get the experience and skills. This gets enhanced on daily basis. The more you work the more you acquire the technical skills and experience.

Secondly by reading –

Reading multiple industry journals, tracking company level product developments, research reports and news from the industry helps a researcher in analyzing things more skillfully and makes your research more trustworthy.

In today’s world everyone needs facts and figures to support their analysis, through a story which everyone believes.

Whats a typical day like?

My typical day is spread into four sections: Early morning, Mid-morning/Afternoon, Evening and Night.

Early morning starts anywhere between 6:30am and 7:00am. I indulge in some exercise, meditation and prayers. The early morning ends with me making a list of tasks needed to be accomplished in during the day.

Mid-morning/Afternoon/Evening: This time I mostly spent in my office. Checking mails, executing tasks, managing projects, and timely delivery of work, project management, workforce management are part of the daily routine.

Night is time for family, friends or personal relaxation.

My day most often ends with some form of introspection as to how my day went, based on some spiritual scriptures.

What is it you love about this job?

From the beginning I was fascinated by cars. Iam currently experiencing and enjoying my work as I love to read and research advanced and disruptive technologies which are going to impact or drive the auto industry in the coming years. Imagine a new world where you can experience robo-taxis, flying cars, talking cars and personalized infotainment. These are all very fascinating and interesting for me.

Future Plans?

I am NET qualified and in the near future, have plans to teach students market research and train them regarding the EV industry, disruptive technologies in the auto industry and their impact on the transportation domain in near future. I always love to read towards the upcoming technologies in the auto industry and would love to do the knowledge transfer throughout my life.