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Praveen Joseph Vackayil

Praveen Joseph Vackayil
Bangalore-based alumnus Praveen Joseph Vackayil (MSc Information Systems and Management 2008-09) works in India's thriving IT sector. After graduation from Warwick he joined the information security industry as a software product manager where he has been part of a team which created a piece of payment card industry data security standard risk assessment software called SMART-RA.

Praveen Joseph Vackayil

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When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I loved computers since the first time I used them. I wanted to get into something that had to do with technology.

What was the best careers advice you were given?

Be proactive. Every event or person you encounter is a learning opportunity and if it doesn’t hurt you, it just might lead you to something good. Words of wisdom from my father.

Describe yourself in three words

Can’t give up.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Creativity is a vital aspect of the job. If you want to make a great product, you need to put your heart and soul into it and figure out how best to get the user to want it and love it. This is challenging, because most times, the user does not know what she wants. You ought to find out by other means - put on your thinking cap, put yourself in her shoes, visualize the solution, and build it for her.

What have you done that you are most proud of?

After Warwick, I started working with one of the very few organisations that are heralding a change in the landscape of Indian IT – which is predominantly service driven with not enough innovation happening. I’m proud to be working with a team that has created and developed a product offering using purely Indian talent. And we’re competing in the global marketplace. I think that stands for something big. Oh, and winning the 100m relay and the 400 and 800m events back in school, was pretty awesome too.

    What drives you?

    A chance to take something and make it better.

    What single thing would most improve the quality of your life?

    I do not enjoy commuting. Not with the traffic we have today. I might sound a bit too hopeful here, but I’m looking forward to the day teleportation becomes a reality.

    What three objects would you take with you to a desert island?

    • Dell Streak 5, loaded with music and e-books.
    • Plenty of home cooked meals. Good food is one of the best things about life.
    • A pair of dumbbells to balance all that eating.

    Where do you hope to be in 10 years’ time?

    I would hope to be heading a product management division, having brought out a lot more software products that streamline organisations’ information security management. There are plenty of processes that could benefit from automation. 10 years is a long time, but there’s plenty of work to do.

    How would you like to be remembered?

    Someone who wasn’t afraid to pursue what I believed in. Also, the guy who used to run crazy fast on the tread-mill.

    What are your favourite memories of your university years at Warwick?

    I truly had the best days of my life at Warwick. Being a student is a privileged aspect of life. Being one at Warwick tops it. Studying late nights at University House and WBS, socialising at Rootes, late night shopping at Tesco, or just hanging around at Heron Bank and Claycroft with my friends, most notably, Archana, Sindujha, Ganesh, Sandhya and Archana – these are memories of a lifetime. I also made some wonderful friends outside of University and we’re all still in touch.

      Do you have any advice for new graduates?

      Be a sponge – especially when you’re starting out on your career. Learn as much about your profession as you can in the first five years. Follow your heart - Spot the things you love about your work – management, accounting, selling, writing code, making paintings, horseback riding or climbing mountains - whichever it is, find where your passion lies. When you’re sixty and looking back on your career, you do not want to regret not having followed your passion.

      Anything else you would like to add?

      Warwick is a brilliant place to get that coveted degree, but it’s also a place where there’s a great deal of knowledge exchange happening. Please do not miss out on that. Make sure you utilise all the resources you have for learning, most importantly your professors - they happen to be some of the best there are in their fields. It’s difficult to get that sort of support when you’re not a student anymore.

      Praveen Joseph Vackayil: the facts
      Age: 27
      Lives: Bangalore, India
      Education:

      Bachelor of Engineering - Electronics and Communications – Anna University, 2006

      MSc Information Systems and Management – Warwick Business School, 2008-09

      Career: Current: Associate Product and Marketing Manager at smart-ra.com
      Past: Software Engineer – Infosys Technologies Ltd.
      Interests: Meeting new people, working out, setting out on spontaneous drives down the highway.
      Links: SMART-RA
      Linkedin