Breaking the mould

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Breaking the mould

CipherCloud's Dev Ghoshal is encouraged by modern-day attitudes to the value of STEM education

What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?

My first job in IT was at McKinsey where I advised several clients about their corporate strategy, including IT. I then joined the software sector with i2 Technologies, a software solution leader for supply-chain planning.

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

I like both but I'm partial to goldendoodles. They are a mix between golden retriever and standard poodle. They have hair, not fur, which makes them hypoallergenic.

What is the most important trend to follow in 2016?

Where Safe Harbour goes from its current suspension mode. While the EU and US hammer out the new privacy agreement for transmitting sensitive data across the Atlantic, in the meantime, companies must find proactive ways to assure information security, such as through technologies including encryption and tokenisation for data going into cloud applications.

What is your most annoying habit?

I'm obsessed with details, which can be annoying at times. For instance, I like to read a lot and often re-read sections of a story or book.

Do you have a favourite motivational quote?

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream" - CS Lewis.

What is your biggest regret in business?

I had an offer to interview with Apple in early 2000. The role was to work for Tim Cook in supply chain. I decided not to pursue it. That would have been an adventure.

What is your most overused word?

I've picked up a few of those from my McKinsey consulting days that I use a lot without thinking - like let's create a "storyline."

Why do you think there is a skills shortage? What can be done about it?

Until about five years ago, it wasn't cool for kids to be labelled "nerds." Consequently, you'd have kids who were naturally talented in STEM pursue those career paths but not anywhere near the numbers needed to sustain the high-tech bonanza. These days, pop culture encourages my son's generation to pursue maths, engineering and sciences. TV shows from crime drama to movies glamorise hacker culture, and celebrities such as music producer Pharrell Williams have branded "other" and "different" as cool, which encourages kids to be true to who they are versus fit into cookie-cutter moulds.

What should government be doing to help UK businesses grow?

Incentivise start-ups and large companies to open and retain offices in the UK. This can take the form of grants to help start-ups lift off, and various levels of tax breaks for companies that incorporate, relocate and or maintain offices in the UK.

Which extinct animal would you bring back?

I would bring back a woolly mammoth to see this six tonne creature in action.

What are your three greatest accomplishments (so far)?

1. Helping build up the EMEA business for i2 Technologies from inception and establishing it as the market leader in Europe in supply-chain software.
2. Helping start-ups such as Agiliance and CipherCloud realise their vision by bringing in top talent and shaping the strategy with a visionary founder.
3. Mentor and guide young executives, some of whom have gone on to become CEOs of start-ups.

What was your most important lucky break in business so far? Did you make the most of it?

Friendships are incredibly important to me. Meeting Pravin, my CEO now at two companies, has also been rewarding on a personal front.

What is your dream holiday destination?

My wife and I love art and travel, so Florence tops my list. It has amazing art, museums and history and is nestled in the romantic Tuscany region. The city is a museum in itself. We have been there and it remains our favourite vacation spot.

Career CV

Dev Ghoshal Senior vice president of Global Alliances, CipherCloud

● 2006-present Advisor, Advisory Board, Agiliance
● 2010-2011 Senior vice president, Saba Software
● 2008-2009 General manager of global practices, Microsoft

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