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Ask Hozefa Furniturewala for Advice
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Advice Request
Hozefa Furniturewala
Hozefa Furniturewala

Hozefa Furniturewala

Structural Engineer

Jacobs Engineering I Pvt Ltd

My brief description
I am a Civil Engineering post graduate with 10 years industry experience in both Technical and Business Development arena. I am currently working with Jacobs Engineering for the last 5 years serving multi regional offices in India, UK, UAE and Saudi Arabia. My major contributory roles with Jacobs have been into Operations as Structural Engineer and Business Development as Inside Sales Manager. I am currently heading the Inside Sales Department for Saudi Arabia. I report to the Vice President of Business Development – Middle East and manage a team of five (5) Inside Sales professionals.
Challenges in job
Working as proposal management professional can say that the biggest challenge for proposal team is responding under tight deadlines to deliver the most complete, compelling, and impeccable document that we can.Developing proposal content starts out with collecting and seeding through information. Working for a global company like Jacobs, with over 60,000 employees and offices in every major region across the globe, extracting the right information that can be included in a proposal is a task that requires constant work.

However since I originally come from Technical background it becomes easier for me to familiarize myself to Inside Sales. The biggest advantage of working in Inside Sales is that it gives you a complete business perspective to your thinking as a professional. This opportunity is extremely limited when you are working purely in technical fields. Responding to engineering proposals requires coordination and support from engineering leads, project controls, HSE, QA/QC, commercial/cost departments.

Due diligence and critical thinking are an extremely important aspect for Proposal management team and an important quality for an Inside Sales Manager. Our win or loss significantly depends on the proposal we submit to our clients.

Job made easy
Inside Sales is a leadership job. It requires a personality that is extremely outgoing, demands strategic/critical thinking and a power house of work force. Adhering to company policies and work process is extremely crucial to ensure success in developing value added proposal content and ensuring a quality proposal is delivered. Jacobs has its standard procedures that include bid/nobid decisions, opportunity review, proposal review, pricing review and contractual reviews. I have found that if this gated process is followed then it ensures success. Few other aspects that can make working in Inside sales fun are:
a)    Global connectivity;
b)    Knowing where the centers of excellence lies within the company;
c)    Content – If we have standard content available in the library that can be tweaked depending on specific opportunity then 60-70% of time is saved; and
d)    Lessons leant from previous proposal.

Upcoming Trends
From a business perspective I would say that China will be a biggest game changer in the next couple of years. We have seen India been a big market for providing high value engineering services in terms of Knowledge Process Outsourcing(KPO)or Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), but with the growth and services now in China it may well be the second option affecting our KPO and BPO business.
My point of view
I think India as a country has failed to prove talented professional that they can have the best of the life in their own country. They can live a peaceful life, drive the best of cars and have best of social standards. I know from my college days, most of the fellow students where planning going to either Canada, US or UK for further studies and obviously have a long term settlement plan., Its embarrassing we as a country fail to keep talent in the country. I also feel scholarship and mentorship programs in Indian colleges need work. We need to identify talented students during their college days give them a platform to showcase their talent, help them get sponsors for their work and offer them a secured environment for them to focus and concentrate on the next Indian apple product.

I see the second problem in India been low cost solutions. We always think of getting the most with least burden on pocket. This approach works in India but no in Middle East, UK and US. Hence indian products at times are limited to Indian markets only. Something like a Nano is a classic example. I read somewhere when I visited India last time that some IIT students have made a 3000INR tablet for people who fancy using an ipad/our other smart gadgets. But these will not work in International markets. Its unfortunate but true. Branding is extremely important in todays market.

My goals
My five (5) year plan is to take further experience working in Inside Sales. This is a very critical position and it is important to completely understand the rules of the game before taking the next step. As a career path I get promoted to Regional Inside Sales Manager or choose to go in direction of Outside sales,i.e. as Business Development Director. There is excellent career opportunity back into Operations into Project Management depending on individual interest and career aspirations. I may either choose to go in Outside Sales or Project Management.
family background
I originally come from Mumbai. I am currently staying in Al Khobar Saudi Arabia due to my recent transfer from Abu Dhabi, UAE. I am married and have an 8 months old son. My wife and my son both stay with me. Back in Mumbai I have my parents and a younger brother. He has done his MBA in Finance and is currently working with J.P Morgan.
Advice to professionals
I would say that Civil Engineering is an excellent field. It may be little difficult to get your step initially, but it does provide you a wider horizon playfield and career options.  In my career I have seen people who follow the crowd and then completely miss out on what they are good at, I would say to all the young professionals to clearly understand your own potential, identify early if you want to pursue a career in Field Services, Engineering, Project Management, Project Controls, QA/QC or HSE, all great functions, you need to see where you fit in the bill.
Advice to students
I would say start planning for your career well in advance. I would say the final year is a very important phase of one’s career which can decide how you will be spending the next 5 years of your professional life. Think ahead on the game, it can be pursuing further studies in India or heading towards a professional career. I also believe that a six (6) month professional internship is extremely vital in understanding job profiles and responsibilities of all the major stakeholders in a project and understand where your strengths lie.

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