MANAGEMENT MANTRA - “Plan, Do, Review & Repeat” Rahul Jain, Co-Founder & CEO, Drums Food

Rahul Jain is a strong votary of taking calculated risk. A calculated risk that Mr Jain took in his very first job changed the entire course of his personal and professional lives.  

Working in Singapore at Deutsche Bank’s credit structuring department, Mr Jain realised that his true calling was in business. Quitting his plush job, he returned to India and enrolled into an MBA course at the prestigious Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad.

He soon realised the potential in the Indian dairy industry and started an organic milk brand to bridge the gap between demand and supply of quality milk. During the course of the venture, he met Rohan Mirchandani and recognised that they both shared a similar passion. The duo founded Drums Food to build and promote brands in the premium dairy segment.

Mr Jain is a BTech graduate in Metallurgy and Materials Science from IIT Bombay, apart from an MBA from ISB. Coming from a business family, he has grown up with first-hand knowledge of business intricacies and nuances.

Beyond work, Mr Jain loves to meet people from all walks of life and learn from their experiences. He enjoys reading and sports. A big cricket buff, he follows all games religiously notwithstanding which teams are playing. He loves to travel and explore various cultures. He also enjoys trekking and has been to multiple treks in India and South-East Asia.

Sharmila Chand meets up with Mr Jain and comes back impressed about his burning passion for business as well as his deep insights into various management principles and practices.


Your five management mantras

• Plan, do, review, repeat: This mantra emphasises the iterative process of continuous improvement. It encourages me to plan a change, implement it, monitor its effects and then adjust the plan accordingly.

• People are our greatest assets: I am a very strong believer of valuing and investing in my teams. Any organisation’s success is heavily influenced by the skills, dedication and well-being of its employees.

• Customer is king: Their needs, their feedback, and their tastes – all of them have to take centrestage. All our departments are oriented to think and act customer-first.

• Work smart: Work smart, leverage technology, optimise processes and focus on the high-impact stuff. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

• Fail fast, fail cheap: I have always believed in encouraging a culture of innovation. Be open to experimentation and learning from failures. It is about taking calculated risks, iterating quickly and minimising the cost of failures to accelerate the learning process. We live in a too fast-paced environment to learn slowly.


A game that helps your work

I am an avid Squash player, and it has become a crucial aspect of my routine. Beyond being a fantastic stress reliever, Squash demands intense focus and rapid decision-making. Engaging in this fast-paced game allows me to disconnect from the demands of my professional life temporarily and immerse myself entirely in the present moment. Squash has taught me the importance of strategic thinking, adaptability and maintaining composure in high-pressure situations, all of which are invaluable lessons that seamlessly translate into the challenges of the corporate world.


The turning point in your career life

Things were going smoothly while working at Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong. The turning point came during a chat with my dad. He asked about my long-term plans, and what I would like to do for the rest of my life, making me realise that I did not want to stick to banking forever. I wanted to make a real impact. That conversation was a game-changer! I took a bold step to leave Deutsche Bank, returned to India and took a year at ISB to introspect and figure out my next steps.

During that time, I stumbled upon the dairy sector, and it changed everything. Switching from finance to the dairy industry was not just a career move; it reshaped my life. It all started with a simple talk with my dad and led me to a place where I am passionate about making a meaningful difference in business.


Secret of your success

At the core of any success is a profound ambition. I firmly believe that dreaming big is the ultimate secret to achieving remarkable milestones in life. Once you have that ambition, the journey to success obviously begins with hard work and dedication to turn those dreams into reality. It is the combination of a clear vision and the relentless pursuit of that vision that has been the driving force behind my achievements.


Your philosophy of work

To be effective as a leader, it is imperative to foster capable and motivated individuals and empower them with responsibility and ownership of work. The next piece flows naturally from there – give those individuals the necessary resources and guidance. I am a very strong proponent of empowered teams that actually help create real action.


Any person you admire

Sounds predictable, but it would be Mukesh Ambani. I am amazed by his vision and act of fabulous diversification across sectors. His ability to embrace innovation and bold decision-making is exemplary.


The best advice you got

I think the best advice I ever got was to distinguish between “must-haves” and “good-to-haves”. It is valuable in various aspects of life, including decision-making, goal-setting and resource allocation.


Your sounding board

Rohan Mirchandani, my co-founder at Drums Food, and my father


Your favourite books

The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel – it shows you a holistic approach to finance and investing. It helped change my perspective about money and success and made me much calmer and helped to detach the two which are always considered as related topics.

Another book that I absolutely love is Shoe Dog by Phil Knight that chronicles the founding and growth of Nike. It is an inspiring example of the determination required to overcome adversity in business. A never-say-no attitude will always bring you closer to your dreams and help you achieve them.


Your fitness regime

I believe that it is crucial to listen to your body and make adjustments on the basis of how your body feels. I am a mindful eater and follow a strict intermittent fasting regime.


Your message on management to youngsters

It is important to be clear in your vision and embrace a mindset of continuous learning. Clarity of thought is more relevant today with so much noise around. It is the strongest anchor for any business.


How would you define yourself in one sentence?

A collaborative and detail-oriented individual with a keen ability to navigate and build consensus among diverse stakeholders, possessing both micro-level attention to detail and a macro-level strategic perspective.

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