22 September 2016
Sushil Kumar Sayal FRICS - CEO and Managing Director of Bharti Realty spoke about how he started his career from being a simple civil engineer, to becoming the youngest Project Manager at the Ansal Group, and finally being the CEO and Managing Director of Bharti Realty.
In his inspirational speech to the students of RICS SBE, Mr. S K Sayal, CEO and MD of Bharti Realty narrated the story of his professional life at the SBE campus. He spoke about his career as a civil engineer who started from the basic and rose to the top.
According to him, the journey of a civil engineer not only involves hardships but is also rife with several moral and ethical issues and they need to balance their outlook in a mature way in order to be successful. There is a very thin line dividing real estate and civil engineering, and career choices have to be made carefully, he remarks.
Mr. Sayal recalled that although initially, he was very keen on a government job, soon he realised it was not his cup of tea as it involved bribery. He further remarks that “Earlier, I used to think that a civil engineer was only involved in a desk job; but it was at Ansals (my first employer) where I realised that I had to go on the site and spend an entire day doing fieldwork.” According to him, a major part of learning comes directly from overseeing the tasks on the field and working hard with the team, not by sitting in a jeep and driving around the site.
While giving his own example, he said that hard work can never go unnoticed. In his entire company, he was the only one who got promoted multiple times in a period of nine years and gradually became the youngest project manager. He also considers himself lucky as he got good mentors in his early days.
He also talked about the other side of this business and how he got lured to change his job by getting perks like that of a brand new car. Unfortunately, he lost a good two years of his career, learning “how business should not be done.” He confessed that he had made a lot of job switches early in his career, which he should not have done.
But later on, he eventually bagged a big assignment with the Great Eastern Shipping Company (GESCO) which was challenging because they operated only on cashless transactions and couldn’t take up many projects. This gave him a great deal of learning experience and he even completed a state-of-the-art commercial building in 18 months and leased it out for four times the market rate. This was the first accomplishment of its kind for the industry in the capital city. He also spoke about how he fetched the company a bonus of Rs 18 lakhs by delivering the project before time. “It’s a myth that buildings can't be constructed on time. I think if we have got money good infrastructure to invest into, we have got everything,” he believes.
Mr. Sayal is also the man behind the pioneering concept of real estate development called REAM (Real Estate Asset Management), which is now known as development management.
He later moved towards entrepreneurship and started a company of his own called Alfa G Corp, with Rs 15-crore equity in the year 2004. The company gave expert advice for projects and managed to get an investment worth Rs 300 crore from Morgan Stanley. Little did he know that even after reaching this high pedestal, there was something bigger waiting for him.
He soon received a job offer from Bharti Airtel and the company even offered to loop in his equity from Alfa G Corp which was about Rs 50 crore. He met Mr. Mittal and a week later decided to accept the offer.
During his speech, he also spoke about the current issues in the industry. “This business is shifting towards corporate. You might see that TATAs, Godrej, Mahindras and Bhartis of the world majorly into this business.”
At last, he told the students that the secret to last long in this business is that you need to have the right product in the right place and at the right price. He further projected that there will be a big change in this industry over the coming years and the real estate regulatory body is going to be one of the biggest transformations.
Having experienced and explored every aspect of real estate, Mr. Sayal has recently penned down an account of India's most controversial sector in a book titled, 'Inside Unreal Estate', which is based on his experiences in the industry during the last 3 decades. He shared with the students, a brief account of the instances that inspired him to write a book and how the entire journey enriched his life.
Mr. Sushil Kumar Sayal is the CEO and Managing Director of Bharti Realty. He is a fellow member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and has been an integral part of various organizations including Alfa G Corp, Mahindra group, DLF and Ansals. During his career, he successfully set new benchmarks in residential and commercial real estate development and introduced pioneering concepts such as the Real Estate Asset Management (REAM) model in the country.
He has also penned down an honest tale on India’s most controversial sector in the book ‘Inside Unreal Estate’, which is based on his experiences in the industry during the last three decades.