Prakash Chandramohan is an experienced executive who has implemented several transitions in his career, across industries and countries. An authentic leader, he’s also recognised for his strong sense of purpose and principles while working in the corporate world. As a Protagion mentor, he guides individuals on how to manage their own transitions successfully. And, he’s implementing another transition himself at the moment too! This is his personal journey:
“Early in my career I had a mentor who gave me advice on how to go about building my career. His advice was to look for “wide-open spaces” to carve out a niche, where there was the complete absence of competition. This is harder said than done of course. It involves a lot of exploration along with a fair degree of risk and uncertainty. But the prize at the end is becoming one of a few with the ideas, skills & experience for solving a certain type of problem.
I’m now two decades into my career, and the advice still resonates with me. Having most recently spent eight years at a UK wealth management firm, I left my executive role at the beginning of 2020 because I wanted to get more closely involved in how to empower people to understand their financial world better. I was struck by how much value there is in financial advice yet how few people seek it or even consider it. I had several hunches as to how this problem could be solved but there was no way to investigate them properly without leaving my full-time job. This “middle Britain” challenge has become my passion.
The bigger and bolder you are in the transitions you seek, the greater the surprises will be for you and the more unique you will become.”
What I have found, by making transitions in my career, is that opportunities have been given to me that weren’t afforded to others and I’ve been able to crack a number of problems along the way, as a result of knowledge & skills I acquired in a completely different field. This has really kept me going and given me the confidence to stay nimble in my career...
I’ve now worked in three countries – Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom. I’ve worked in three industries – Investment Banking, Music and Wealth Management, and I’ve moved roles within my corporate employers roughly every three years.
As a result of all the career transitions I’ve made, I’ve built muscles in areas that have made each new transition that a little bit easier – like:
One of the greatest surprises in my career has been how valuable my two years spent as a singer-songwriter have been back in the corporate world. You might be wondering what on earth I am talking about!
There are three things you need to get to grips with as an aspiring singer-songwriter:
1) You need to be able to capture people’s attention
2) You need to keep their attention
3) You need to convert as many of those people into your followers.
(How am I going? Still got you?!) It’s these same three things that are crucial for any aspiring manager to become good at.
I learnt so much about leadership in fact from those years, without me ever knowing it. In the music industry, like any industry, it’s not just technical competence that counts but what you do in-between songs and how you share your humanity. My transition to singer-songwriter happened to be a commercial ‘failure’, but it was character-building and I wouldn’t have had the career I had in wealth management if it wasn’t for those nights spent performing in Sydney’s dingy pubs.
I’m not trying to convince you to pack in your nicely-paid corporate job for busking along the Thames River. But, I do believe that the bigger and bolder you are in the transitions you seek, the greater the surprises will be for you and the more unique you will become.
Knowing who we are
My value system has helped a great deal in allowing me to make the transitions I have made. I’m comfortable trading status for the opportunity to apply myself in a new area, even if it technically involves a demotion. Whilst I remain ambitious, I don’t necessarily think it needs to be a straight line to realise your ultimate career objectives. Also, I’m keen to have some career stories that I can tell future grandkids about!
If you are thinking of making a career transition yourself or are in the middle of one, I wish you the very best with the shift. My general advice is to follow your gut as to what to choose and then to launch yourself at it using everything you have learnt to date and everything that makes you uniquely you.”