Name: Praveen Manne | Designation: Principal Product Manager | Company: Verizon | Place: Atlanta, United States
(May 23, 2023) As a young boy Praveen Manne was pretty sure he wanted to be in the tech space. Growing up he was fascinated by all things technology and by the time he completed his undergrad, the interest only grew apart from a new inclination towards business and finance. Today, as the principal product manager at Verizon, a major telecommunications provider in the US, Praveen is pursuing the best of all his interests.
Growing up in the Hyderabad of the 1990s, Praveen knew he’d eventually carve a niche for himself in the tech space. After doing his graduation from Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi, he took up his first job as a software engineer at Infosys. Three years into the job he was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and co-founded ezeemeal, a pre-paid lunch/dinner delivery service targeted at the busy working couples. Given his inclination towards finance and business he knew he needed to diversify his knowledge and skill sets. What followed was an MBA from Indian School of Business that also saw him study at the Cambridge Judge Business School as a Judge Exchange student.
Reflecting on his journey so far, he surmises, “I’d like to think it was an attitude to aim for the uncommon, persistence, support from family, and a bit of luck that helped me get to where I am today.” He adds, “My stint as an entrepreneur only increased my zeal to pursue a profession that is a good mix of the tech and business skill sets; product management was a good fit here.”
Following his MBA, he took up a job with IMimobile as a senior product manager. The job took him to London as group product manager and eventually to Atlanta as AVP, products and strategy for the North America region. By 2020 he’d moved to Verizon as principal product manager where he is responsible for bringing wireless and OTT products to the market for Automotive OEMs to use, innovate, and differentiate themselves. “A typical weekday begins with getting my son ready and off to school by 7.15 am at his school. I’m at work by 8.30 and am on calls with the architecture team in India before they leave for the day. From there on, it’s all about catching up on emails, prioritising my to-dos for the day, calls with the marketing team to discuss an upcoming product launch etc,” he says, adding, “During lunch I catch up on some industry-related reading, followed by calls with the sales and engineering teams once I’m back at my desk.”
His job affords him the opportunity to work with a pretty diverse team with people from across the globe. “As a rule, I try and wrap up work by 5.30 pm each day, unless there is a customer meeting that requires my presence. Given the busy lifestyle here, I make a conscious effort to carve out time for personal activities and time with my family,” says Praveen, who also tries to stay physically active by playing cricket for a local team in Atlanta and going for a quick swim or aerobic exercises.
He’s also very connected with his family back in India, with his immediate family visiting the US frequently. “I have never missed my yearly trips to India, the Covid years being an exception,” he says, adding, “My wife and I enjoy travelling so we try and squeeze in at least a week or two to travel either within or outside the US. For instance, before Covid we were in England for the Cricket World Cup and this year we went to Costa Rica with the family.”
On the professional front, he tries to stay up to date with his industry by reading and up-skilling. “I consciously make an effort to challenge myself and push my boundaries every now and then to learn something new. I am a level 2 CFA candidate and recently finished a course in AI/ML. Next on my list is a public speaking course,” says the Indian origin professional, who believes in the power of networking. “You have to build your network from day 1. It makes a huge difference when looking for a job in the US.”
Identify your areas of interest and work towards building your skill sets there.
Stay relevant by doing courses to challenge yourself and reading up industry related news.
Networking is key when it comes to job hunting. Build your network from day 1.
Take time off to pursue your personal interests too, no matter how busy your lifestyle.