Dr. Narendra (Naren) Simone is the CEO/President of Arabia Consulting Inc. and an author of three published novel
North American and European corporations establish and conduct business in the Middle East.
On his background, upbringing and his path to IIT Roorkee
I was born and brought up in a small town of Mathura where I went to high school. In 1971 and after completing my Science Degree (B.Sc.) from the Agra University I joined the tens of thousands of ambitious candidates who in the hope of getting into the prestigious University of Roorkee (as it was known in my days) sit for entrance examinations. Waiting for the results was one of the hardest times for my young life. I could not believe my luck when I made it at the first attempt as I had known so many who year after year tried to get enrollment in to the IITR.
The very first day I arrived at the campus I felt I had made it. I felt a real sense of accomplishment and I knew I had to capitalize on the opportunity offered to me by this great institution.
On his four years at Roorkee
Once the dreaded ragging period was over the life at the IITR blossomed. I was amongst the best of the best and the whole
The thing I most admired during my four years at the IITR was the unconditional support of the seniors and the dedication of staff. The life of IITR revolved at all level based on mutual successes.
On his path to higher education after graduating from Roorkee
On his path to Management
In 1975 I was awarded my doctorate. Being a research student for four years I decided to apply my expertise into industrial research and joined one of the world’s oldest organizations, Fisons Fertilizer Ltd., to start my career as a R&D Engineer. It was a promising start that led me in 1978 to pursue my polymer engineering by joining as a process engineer the largest petrochemical corporations of England and the tenth largest in the Europe, ICI Ltd.I loved my time both as a student and as professional engineer in England but I had bigger dreams and in 1981 immigrated to Canada. Changing companies whenever opportunity arose and working towards management career, in 1985 I was appointed as the youngest director in the largest petrochemical corporation of Canada, NOVA Chemicals and earmarked to be the next president of the NOVA Husky Research Company.
Taste of International life
Having already experienced professional life in Europe, England and North America I yearned for truly global experiences. In 1987 I resigned from a senior management position with NOVA Chemicals and accepted an overseas position as a Senior Advisor to the one of the fastest growing petrochemical corporation in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Basic Industries Corp. A seven- year stint involving multi-billion dollar expansion program of Saudi petrochemicals sector gave me extensive exposure to commercial and corporate development of multi-national organizations. In 1994 I was involved in the development of a major Indi-American Joint Venture Company and headed it as its President and relocated to India. The circle was complete now.
In 1997, and due to family reasons I returned to Canada and ventured into establishing and operating my own consulting firm assisting Indian companies to find opportunities in North America and the Middle East.
Lure of the Middle East
The world of the Middle East is full of opportunities, playground of major international firms and fertile ground for mega projects. In 2000 I moved my consulting firm to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and started to consult to the North American organizations on establishing and effectively operating their Middle East operations. But a year later all that came to a grinding halt on the day the tragedy struck the New York Twin Trade Towers.
Having learnt never to quit I looked for new avenues and during the slow work period of 2001/2002 I tried my hand at writing and published my first novel in 2002. It was a mini success and led me to the path of yet another passion—writing.
As I started to rebuild my consulting business I also started to read and research romantic authors of the nineteenth century. I read well over 100 classic novels of master writers like Leo Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Somerset Maugham, Henry James, Graham Green, D. H. Lawrence, Edith Wharton, Charles Dickens, etc. To date I have written 14 novels and published three.
Back to North America
In 2010 I returned to North America and established Canada as the Head Office of Arabia Consulting and continued to advise the North American companies to do business in the Middle East and also advise the Middle Eastern organizations to find opportunities in the growing Oil Sand of Alberta, Western Canada.
On accomplishments he is most proud of
My two most valued accomplishments are my daughter who backed by two university degrees and comprehensive international experiences as a human rights officer chose to build a career as an actor in Hollywood and today is a highly successful TV personality in the US…a chip of the old block and equally valued my second accomplishment of my son who is the fastest rising star in his company and fast climbing the management ladder at a young age of 26 with one of the largest media corporations in Canada…I truly am very proud of them.
What message to the tomorrow’s management world
Today’s corporate world is reeling under the financial meltdown and has become result focused and frustratingly turning this way and that. What I suggest that they concentrate on the process of activity for the results are its byproduct. Believe in ‘Lead Indicators’ like activity driven performance process that is continuously benched marked for improvement and not on ‘Lag Indicators’ that are traditionally fiscal such as budgets, annual sales and profits targets etc.
On what attributes make some people successful and others fail?
Neither successes nor failures are a straight-line extrapolation to predict future. It is the trend based on behavior one must watch and constantly take corrective actions to stay focused. Flexibility is a key attribute to any strategy.
On balancing professional and personal life
They both can remain diverge or parallel universe, they don’t necessarily need to converge or to find trade offs to strike a balance. The trick is to develop passion for both and pursue them both with vigor. Time could be created if it could be effectively managed. Work on creating new energy by balancing your pie of life. Find work, passion, sport, family, travel, relaxation etc. in your life and it would teach you where the right balance lies.
Word of advise for youngsters starting out in their careers
Push the envelope—push it to the limit. And then raise the bar yet another notch. One has unlimited energy and drive provided passion is there. Passion is a developmental process that demands that you work hard and play hard. This is not a dress rehearsal; this is the real thing so live life to the full.
Don’t ever forget you are the lucky ones to have had IITR behind you and be proud that it is people like you who made the IITR what it is today. Mutual success is the basis of all successful partnerships—business or otherwise.