As the eldest child in his family, a sense of responsibility was resonant in Shanker Adawal’s personality from the very beginning. His parents never interfered in conversations about the future, trusting that their child could choose, and choose well for himself. At a time when Economics was not the most sought-after subject in Indian education, Shanker Adawal decided to pursue it. His mother was always one to inspire him, being the first woman to attain a PHD in English Literature in Uttar Pradesh. After closing the loop with an MBA from DU, Shanker Adawal entered the professional world at DCM, when the concept of computing was something out of a science fiction novel. This was his first experience in the corporate sector, and for it to be a behemoth like DCM, set the tone for the years that would follow. In order to further his skills in strategy & engineering, he then joined Larsen & Toubro in the department of prospective planning. This episode in his life helped him look at the trees as well as at the forest. Seeing the bigger picture, and all the gears that would have to run in unison to help achieve the goal ahead.
After his experience, at the age of 27, Shanker Adawal decided to try his hand at entrepreneurship. This was perhaps, the greatest learning curve he would have to go through in the larger scheme of things. He created a factory for the manufacturing of axels for cars. While demand was always high, the output fell short.
“I always had faith in my abilities, but it takes a lot more than that to keep your own enterprise going. Even though that was my first & brief brush with failure, it taught me a lifetime of lessons that I carry with me with whatever task I undertake.” It was this loss, both in terms of time and money that led Shanker Adawal back to the corporate world. But he was now a different person; young in years but wizened by all that he had learned in such a short period of time. His stints with TATA & Nortel were exciting as that was the time the Indian economy was opening up to the world. He learned various techniques both professionally in the world of telecom, as well as personally, in interpersonal skill development. With Nortel, he was able to open his eyes to how things functioned internationally, both in terms of procedures & professional etiquette.
In 1998, Shanker Adawal entered a long and prosperous alliance with Reliance. He used all the wisdom he had gained over the years and applied it to all the various departments at Reliance, with a holistic mindset towards the smooth functioning of all the gears in the Reliance machinery. Looking back at the wealth of experience Shanker Adawal has acquired through working with stalwarts in the industry, it is safe to say that learning from him would be enriching your mind in multiple avenues, both professional & personal. When asked for any advice he had for people entering the workforce, he had this to say, “I work with a very young team and after seeing them in their natural habitat I would tell them three things: patience is the mother of all virtues, and all great things take time. Don’t be in a hurry to succeed, as you may miss out on important learnings along the way. Another thing I would tell them is to look up from their phones & computers from time to time. I know this is coming from the person who ushered in the computer revolution in India, but it has become the be all to everyone. The last piece of advice I would give the youth is that they don’t have to chase money, they must be in pursuit of wealth. Money is just one thing, wealth encompasses all the things that make one’s life rich; knowledge, a flourishing personal life, and of course, enough money to keep you comfortable.”