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Work At 30,000 Ft: How Vikas Oberoi, Roland Folger And Other CEOs Utilise Air-Time

Flying Returns For India Inc
1/28

Flying Returns For India Inc

They travel around the world for work or leisure. But these business leaders know how to make the most of the hours they spend in an aircraft while travelling to faraway destinations:

ET Bureau
Ajinkya Firodia, MD, Motoroyale Kinetic
2/28

Ajinkya Firodia, MD, Motoroyale Kinetic

“I rarely watch movies or read books on a flight. But when I do, I usually pick new Hollywood releases, especially suspense thrillers. Flight journeys are about winding down and recharging. I begin with a glass of champagne to celebrate this break without a cellphone. I then enjoy the company around me, eat, and catch up on sleep.”

(Text: Shannon Tellis)

BCCL
Vikrant Gugnani, MD, UCare
3/28

Vikrant Gugnani, MD, UCare

“Flying gives me an opportunity to relax, and I spend most of my time catching up on sleep and reading books. Of late, I have inculcated a new travel habit of reading about the city or country that I am flying to. From their local cuisine to history and culture, I try to learn at least two new things about that place, so that I can explore it in my leisure time.”

(Text: Glynda Alves)

BCCL
Rahil Ansari, Head, Audi India
4/28

Rahil Ansari, Head, Audi India

“I am mostly a solitary traveller. However, I recently met an 85-year old gentleman, who gave me good advice for my holidays in Sri Lanka. During a long flight, I alternate between a good book, music and TV or movies. Sometimes when I’m tired and don’t feel like reading, or watching something, I prefer listening to audio books on my phone. I recently had a chance to listen to Business Adventures by John Brooks, a classic collection of defining moments which provides entrepreneurs with priceless lessons in all areas of business.”

(Text: Shannon Tellis)

Agencies
Alan Mamedi, Co-founder, Truecaller
5/28

Alan Mamedi, Co-founder, Truecaller

“I like to catch up on superhero movies that I might have missed. When I’m not at the office, I try to spend time with my wife and children so the only time I generally get to myself is on the plane. I know some bosses like to read while travelling (which I should try to do) but I find it more relaxing to watch Superman.”

(Text: Shannon Tellis)

Agencies
Charles Spencer, Author
6/28

Charles Spencer, Author

“I tend to fly a lot for work. Much of my time is taken up with writing, or researching my historical books.”

(Text: Glynda Alves)

BCCL
Hitesh Dhingra, MD, The Man Company
7/28

Hitesh Dhingra, MD, The Man Company

“I travel twice or thrice a month and mainly spend my time reading or watching a movie. I enjoy French dramas/comedies as they’re progressive, bold and yet very realistic. On my recent business trip to New York, I started reading Leading: Learning from Life and My Years at Manchester United by Sir Alex Ferguson. There’s a lot on team building and leadership skills (in the book) that entrepreneurs and managers can learn from the greatest football manager ever.”

(Text: Shannon Tellis)

BCCL
Rohit Dhingra, CEO, TAGG
8/28

Rohit Dhingra, CEO, TAGG

“Whenever I am on a flight, I try to relax by staying away from my phone or any sort of electronic gadgets. Apart from devoting some time to reading a book or a journal, I talk to my fellow passengers. Talking to people from different age groups, cultures and backgrounds helps me in expanding my knowledge and gives me a fresh perspective on life.”

(Text: Glynda Alves)

BCCL
Marthesh Nagendra, Country Manager - India & SAARC, NETGEAR
9/28

Marthesh Nagendra, Country Manager - India & SAARC, NETGEAR

“Flights give me an opportunity to be alone to increase selfrealisation and help discover more about myself. Air travel is like meditation for me. I hardly sleep on long flights as I feel closer to my soul and understand myself better.”

(Text: Maleeva Rebello)

BCCL
Bojan Jankulovski, Head Of Operations, Maserati India
10/28

Bojan Jankulovski, Head Of Operations, Maserati India

“Flying gives me the perfect opportunity to unwind, relax and catch up on my favourite music. I have an eclectic taste, ranging from classical greats, hits from pop stars as well as current chart toppers. I am often airborne, hopping between countries, caught up in meetings — critical and the usual. As a result, work-related stuff often takes up a lion’s share of my mind but the music helps me relax.”

(Text: Maleeva Rebello)

Agencies
Stephane Michelin, CEO, Sodexo BRS India
11/28

Stephane Michelin, CEO, Sodexo BRS India

“As the CEO of a global company, I often travel on work and hardly get time for myself. During short flights, I spend my time reading newspapers and responding to all pending emails and messages from friends. On longhaul flights, I choose not to work and make sure I get enough rest. Once I am relaxed, I tend to read a book or talk to someone sitting next to me.”

(Text: Glynda Alves)

BCCL
Vikas Oberoi, Chairman, Oberoi Realty
12/28

Vikas Oberoi, Chairman, Oberoi Realty

“I love to fly. I am one of those people who can eat, sleep, read and dream better on a plane than anywhere else. I’m a kid when it comes to flying. I feel I don’t have enough hours on the plane to do so many things that I want to do. I want to sleep. I want to read a magazine or book. I want to watch some television. I want to eat great food. I want to enjoy a glass of wine. I want to do all of that and there is never enough time. I love the 16-hour long flights because you can do many things. It’s such a high.”

BCCL
Satyam Kumar, CEO, Loantap
13/28

Satyam Kumar, CEO, Loantap

“Flying is a forced break from work. I use it to reflect upon life. It also gives me the space and time to assess gaps at work. Reflection for me is the best way to become a better leader, a better husband and a better human being. Flying is also a good time to catch up on reading which otherwise gets lost in my busy schedule. I like to revisit Rashmirathi by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. His stories and poems have been part of my upbringing.”

(Text: Maleeva Rebello)

BCCL
Arun Nathani, CEO, Cybage
14/28

Arun Nathani, CEO, Cybage

“As soon as I get oon a plane, I change into something comfortable and treat myself to a glass of wine. I am a passionate writer and use most of my hours penning my blogs, annual speeches or company reports. I also make it a point to watch the latest action and adventure movies. When flying with family, we carry a set of playing cards, Taboo, and other travelsize board games.”

(Text: Maleeva Rebello)

Agencies
Former German Professional Cyclist Jens Voigt
15/28

Former German Professional Cyclist Jens Voigt

“When I fly towards the East — whether it’s India, Thailand, Korea or Australia — I watch local movies from that region. Korea, for example, does some amazing movies. During my last trip there, I watched this weird, twisted horror movie — Train to Busan. I also spend my time reading, catching up on emails or working on my monthly cycling column. I don’t have much time to read at home, so the flight for me is a mix between reading, relaxing, watching movies and work.”

(Text: Shannon Tellis)

Agencies
Vijay Mansukhani, MD, MIRC Electronics Ltd (ONIDA)
16/28

Vijay Mansukhani, MD, MIRC Electronics Ltd (ONIDA)

“I generally talk to other travellers and have made many such ‘plane friends’. In fact, our initial joint venture with JVC, Japan’s leading electronics and design major, happened during one of my travels abroad. I happened to meet a senior executive from JVC on the flight and we exchanged cards after one of my usual ‘make friends on the flight interactions’. Onida was born out of that association.”

(Text: Maleeva Rebello)

BCCL
Archit Gupta, Founder & CEO, ClearTax
17/28

Archit Gupta, Founder & CEO, ClearTax

“I enjoy listening to podcasts. The most recent one was Naval Ravikant’s interview on Farnam Street. Thanks to the airplane mode rule, I also get some interruption-free reading done. I’ve recently read Who by Geoff Smart, Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman and Poor Charlie’s Almanac. I also manage to squeeze in a power nap.”

(Text: Maleeva Rebello)

BCCL
Rachit Chawla, CEO, Finway Capital
18/28

Rachit Chawla, CEO, Finway Capital

“I read inspirational business stories and biographies of successful business leaders such as Warren Buffett, Steve Schwarzman, and Jamie Dimon. Apart from that, the alltime melodies of Kenny Rogers and Lobo work as an excellent way for me to rejuvenate when my eyes demand rest from all that reading.” (Text: Maleeva Rebello)

BCCL
TR Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, India And South Asia, Visa
19/28

TR Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, India And South Asia, Visa

“I read eclectically — a lot of fiction, a whole bunch of books on management and leadership and off late a subject which fascinates me — behavioral economics. It is such a blessing to get some uninterrupted time to read these on a flight. Music and podcasts also keep me busy. Long live offline music downloads. I usually get into a couple of albums of a particular genre or on a theme — podcasts on EQ for example are my latest category. I have waded through my fair share of box office duds and movie titles. I try to stay away from the hypnotic temptation of answering mails or catching up on routine office correspondence.”

(Text: Maleeva Rebello)

Agencies
Yogeshwar Dutt, Olympic Wrestler
20/28

Yogeshwar Dutt, Olympic Wrestler

“On long flights, I tend to meditate and listen to some music. It’s usually devotional songs or Haryanvi ragas. I read books about our freedom fighters too. I especially like reading about Chandra Shekhar Azad, Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev. This has helped me stay motivated in life.”

(Text: Maleeva Rebello)

BCCL
Aashish Somaiyaa, CEO, Motilal Oswal AMC
21/28

Aashish Somaiyaa, CEO, Motilal Oswal AMC

“I prefer to catch up on some quiet and focused reading. I never fly without a couple of books in my handbag. This works as a trigger for new insights for better execution. At times, I also write an article or a periodic newsletter to our investors and business partners. I dread mobile connectivity on flights though.”

(Text: Maleeva Rebello)

BCCL
Alok Duggal, Director, Nolte & Homestudio.com
22/28

Alok Duggal, Director, Nolte & Homestudio.com

“I travel by plane almost every week. I prefer reading a book. If it’s a good one, it makes the flight time seem shorter and the journey less painful.”

(Text: Glynda Alves)

BCCL
Anuj Srivastava, CEO, Livspace
23/28

Anuj Srivastava, CEO, Livspace

“I’m so thankful for in-flight internet. I manage to get a lot of work done. On occasion, I strike up a conversation with other passengers and have met some amazing entrepreneurs mid-flight.”

(Text: Shannon Tellis)

Agencies
Roland Folger, CEO, Mercedes-Benz India
24/28

Roland Folger, CEO, Mercedes-Benz India

“On an average, I am in the air for three-four days a month, but I don’t regret it one bit. I find flying fascinating — it’s a great example of human achievement, something we take for granted nowadays. While flying, I often relate to leadership and innovation on land, air and water — it is inspirational and symbolic of what human beings can achieve. As a frequent flyer, other than the romance of the flight, meeting new people and going to new destinations are something I look forward to. I usually work or read extensively on the plane and now with Wi-Fi on international flights, my productivity has only improved. I stay connected always. Sitting in an airplane, 30,000 feet in the air, with the muffled sensations of the jet engines, darkness inside and outside the aircraft and the reading lamp focused on my book, is my ‘me-time’.”

BCCL
Kapil Sekhri, Director, Fratelli Wines
25/28

Kapil Sekhri, Director, Fratelli Wines

“I travel almost weekly for work. When I’m on the flight, I don’t work with my hands; I work with my mind with the music on. Going through my thoughts to strategise and think. I love my peace on flights.”

BCCL
Nikhil Ranjan, Founder, William Penn
26/28

Nikhil Ranjan, Founder, William Penn

“I travel about a week to 10 days in a month. I prefer to travel weekdays and come back home for the weekends because I can’t sleep on a plane. I usually catch up on reading [if I have not yet finished reading my book for the month] or view the latest episode of a series I am watching.”

BCCL
Aamir Akhtar, CEO, Lifestyle Fabrics – Denim, Arvind Limited
27/28

Aamir Akhtar, CEO, Lifestyle Fabrics – Denim, Arvind Limited

“Saying that I travel a lot for work is an understatement. Nothing beats catching up on your reading when you are travelling. In fact, I carry more stuff to read than clothes.”

BCCL
Ananth Narayanan, CEO, Myntra-Jabong
28/28

Ananth Narayanan, CEO, Myntra-Jabong

“I try and mostly sleep or watch movies. It’s my relaxation time. Although, lately with WiFi, I have started working on flights, which is not good.”

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