Ms. Harshita Jain is Director (International Business Development) at Consulting Engineers Group Limited (CEG). She is responsible for taking her company to the international market. With the help of her techno-commercial knowledge and experience, she is driving the company to increase revenue from domestic to global markets.
In a recent conversation with Urban Infra Communication, she has frankly talked about her passion and vision to elevate CEG to the next level beyond the boundary.
I would like to start by saying that if you don’t wake up in the morning excited to pick up where you left your work yesterday, you haven’t found your calling yet. Coming from a family of civil engineers and entrepreneurs, they exposed me to the world of business and Infrastructure since my childhood. It was natural for me to get into the same field. Soon after completing my graduation in Civil Engineering from the University of Bath, UK, and then Executive Management from the London School of Economics, I joined CEG in 2014 as a young Civil Engineer wishing to contribute towards nation-building and taking CEG to new heights. Founded by Mr. Vishwas Jain, Consulting Engineers Group Ltd. or CEG as known popularly is one of the most reputed infrastructure consultancy companies in India providing services in various fields like metros, highways, railways, urban development, rapid rail, tunnels, water supply, sanitation, water resources, airports, etc.
Being a second-generation entrepreneur and with my pure perseverance to achieve great things CEG; I contributed to transforming CEG into one of the largest Indian-owned transport consulting companies in India and opening the global doors. We are currently operating from over 52 offices globally with a staff strength of over 1500. Since 2014, CEG has seen exponential growth and is currently associated as a consultant with some of the biggest projects in the country like Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Bullet Train Project, Mumbai Metro, Chennai Metro, Navi Mumbai Metro, Surat Metro, Nashik NMetroNeo, Nagpur Metro, Pune Metro, Dwarka Expressway, Nagpur Mumbai Super Communication Expressway and many more. The success of CEG has not been limited to India, CEG expanded its global operations in countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Liberia, Nepal, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Gabon, Zambia, etc.
India is a country with the highest percentage of family-run businesses. Having an already established company surely gave me a great platform to work; however, my aim was always to transform our business into a brand and take it to the next level. I always wanted to be known by my work. To achieve this, I started from scratch, learned the nitty-gritty of the work and took one step each day. My never-ending desire to learn is one thing that has helped me to evolve as a person. I have always stayed grounded. I initially worked as an apprentice in CEG and gradually worked my way up. My practical experience so far has taught me that businesses do not just purely mean money; but business is a blend of individuals, aims, ventures, obstacles, conviction, passion, failures, commitment, administration, teamwork and triumph. For me, being a leader not just means individualistic growth rather how many leaders I can create who can work with the same passion. I feel responsible towards my employees to find them new and challenging work. No employee should feel stagnated in their careers and should have an opportunity to excel and grow. I feel sacrifice and barriers are a mindset that limits us. As long as you work with a positive mindset and love what you do, these words won’t become a hurdle.
CEG’s value proposition has always been based on three core principles; Ethics, Integrity, and Timely Delivery with quality which forms the very basic foundation of the company. We understand each project is unique in its own way with a client having a different set of requirements from it. We work on the motto of accelerating the development of any project by engineering the client’s vision. We work very hard to keep client satisfaction as our topmost priority. Also, we truly believe in the power of human resources and treat employees as the most treasured asset and power of our company. We focus greatly on skill development and providing a wholesome environment both professionally and personally. CEG has remained a debt-free and profit-making company since its inception which shows its financial strength and management. Having said this, I feel perfection is a road and not a destination and there is always room for improvements. I continuously strive to make things better in every aspect of the company from strategy to financial management, project management, human resources, etc.
The Consulting Industry in India is growing at a fast pace and soaring new heights all across the world. For us, our employees are our assets. With the world changing continuously in terms of technology and digitization, we at CEG also continuously provide skill development and training to our employees to make them adapt to newer technologies and their overall growth.
I feel there is a need to embrace digital innovation in the whole infrastructure industry. We are continuously investing in digital technology resources to enhance the in-house capabilities, reduce time consumption, make a whole cohesive environment for data management, better monitoring of projects and personnel, and cater to its own needs. Most of this is done in terms of the development of new software for the in-house use of the company. We have developed an in-house project monitoring system, management of the human resources,s and smart recruitment solutions using AI techniques. Our cost of production has been reduced with increased efficiency using our customized software for different modules like business development, HRMS, project monitoring, accounts. We have also developed a 3-layer project monitoring and coordination system which gives extra confidence to our clients.
In any developing country, investment in infrastructure and construction directly adds to GDP growth. To achieve a 5-trillion economy in India, infrastructure will be one of the highest contributors. National Infrastructure pipeline has already identified projects worth Rs. 110 Lakh Crore in next 5 years. CEG firmly stands with the policy of providing best-in-class services locally through ‘Make in India’ and drastically reducing the country’s dependency on imported services. We are fully supportive of the government of India’s initiatives and will do our best to contribute to Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. Having said this, I also feel that the government should promote the Indian companies through various means who are self-sufficient in terms of experience and technology to push the Make in India initiative and reduce the dependencies on foreign companies to transfer the technology. CEG today is associated with projects with an aggregate construction cost of 2.5 Lakhs Crores and is pioneering India to be self-reliant in the infrastructure consultancy sector. CEG has been contributing to all key engineering and technological developments in the country and was fully committed to achieving self–reliance for the domestic industry and reducing dependence on imported services in the infrastructure sector to support the strong and feasible ‘Make in India’s ecosystem.
CEG today has grown to be a brand in the transportation sector and is recognized as a synonym for quality. We have been continuously growing and expanding in other sectors and are currently focusing on expanding our business in sectors like Ports, Power, Sustainable Environment, and Building Information Modeling in the coming years while at the same time focusing on incorporating the latest technologies. We are also expanding our footprint globally in the infrastructure field and looking forward to the acquisition of an International organization preferably from Europe. In terms of revenue, we have been witnessing exponential growth during the last few years and are expecting a 25% year-on-year growth in terms of our revenue in the next 5 years.
My advice to all the aspiring women entrepreneurs would be ‘Have faith in yourself and never give up on your dreams.’ If you are passionate and talented enough to bring a change, nothing can stop you. Age & gender do not define your chance at success, but you as an individual do. Also, in my opinion, learning & growth go hand in hand. Therefore, it is always essential to keep updating your knowledge and skills to carve a niche for yourself.
COVID-19 has definitely challenged the ways we conduct business. For a company operating in the civil engineering segment, the impact has been quite significant. The first lesson, of course, was to learn to work remotely. Being in a profession where most of the work is done on-site, working from home was quite challenging. But then, necessity is a mother of invention and it teaches you new ways of optimizing resources. We did have initial hiccups but overall, we have managed fairly well. In fact, in some areas, we think working remotely has been more productive than working from the office! As for business, there has been some impact, but despite these challenges, CEG experienced steady growth during the last year.
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