Rediff, very recently interviewd Sandeep Murthy, CEO of ClearTrip. More than talking about ClearTrip, the interview deals with Sandeep’s career progression and is surely an inspirational story (well, he is the CEO @ 30!).
A few excerpts from the interview:
- Tell us about yourself, your educational qualifications, your first job.
I was born in the US and moved to India when I was 12 years old. I did my schooling at the American Embassy School in New Delhi, graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Economics degree from the Wharton School, both obtained in 1998.
In 2005, I obtained an MBA from the Wharton School. My first job out of university was in investment banking at Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB), where I was an analyst in the Technology Group banking on high-tech companies.
- Give us a brief sketch of your career before you became CEO.
Before moving to India with Sherpalo Ventures and KPCB to focus on investment opportunities in India I was part of the interactive development team at InterActive Corp (IAC), the owners of companies such as Expedia, Match.com, CitySearch, Gifts.com and other online businesses. The focus of this role was to evaluate markets and develop business plans for new ventures. In this capacity, I had a chance to be a part of the founding team of Gifts.com. Prior to that, I worked at Sony Music Entertainment, Inc and Intraware.
Two years ago I moved to India as a partner with Sherpalo Ventures and the India representative of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. I focus on consumer technology oriented investments in India. As part of my role with Sherpalo/ KPCB, I also took on the position of CEO of Cleartrip, one of our portfolio companies.
- Which was the first major assignment that paved your way to becoming CEO?
After leaving CSFB, I went to work in strategic development at one of our client’s companies. Here I had the opportunity to interact regularly with the CEO of a public company, this provided tremendous insight into what it takes to build, grow and manage a public company. This experience in conjunction with my exposure to CEOs through my work at CSFB, really helped me develop the basic understanding of what leadership means on a day-to-day basis.
- What do you think it takes to build a successful website?
I think putting the customer first and stopping at nothing to make sure you meet the customer need is an important aspect of any business. In the web world, this starts with creating a website that offers a friendly user experience and carriers through to the fulfilment and ongoing support that you provide customers.
Marketing is important as it is how you make customers aware of your offering, however at Cleartrip, we pride ourselves on a very high repeat purchase rate which is a reflection of the overall service that we provide customers.
Our marketing plan includes a combination of print, TV, online, direct marketing, outdoor activity and public relations to ensure we interact with customers at various touch points and create top of mind recall for the brand.
Though the interview has a corporate appeal (very cliched, with standard answers), I still suggest ye all to read the entire interview: Link.