Industry Speak

General Manager - Quality & Processes
Nokia Siemens Networks

A seasoned strategic quality professional with sound experience in IT Services, Telecom and Financial Services shares his experience about what it takes to excel in the field of Quality Management

Industry in Focus

IT/ ITES/ Telecom

Career Path

There are two entry points for freshers. One, is a BE / BTech / MCA fresher who can join as a Software Engineer (in an IT firm) or, as an Engineer (in a non-IT firm) supporting quality processes. Thereafter, he has to undergo on-the-job process and quality training for 6 months before being given responsibilities to support projects as a Quality Executive. This is generally the longer career path as the person has to take tremendous on-the-job trainings and competency development specific to quality and process methodologies like CMMI, Six Sigma, Lean , ISO etc to name a few. In manufacturing organizations, only Mechanical and/or Production Engineers are preferred for Quality related profiles since Quality Management is a part of the curriculum in the undergraduate course for these particular engineering branches.

Second path is for an MBA graduate with an Operations or, Quality Management specialization to join as a Management Trainee. He is inducted into the Quality Function as a Senior Executive or, as an Assistant Manager (based upon his work experience). The on-the-job training time for such a person is only 1-2 months and he is assigned projects immediately.

To go up the career path, it is advisable that one should constantly improve one's competency levels and attain certifications in various quality and process methodologies.

Typical career path is:

Executive / Senior Executive -> Assistant Manager -> Manager -> Senior Manager -> DGM -> GM -> Head of Quality / AVP -> Vice President -> Senior VP -> Chief Quality Officer

Job Description

One can choose various fields like Quality Auditing, Quality Management System, Six Sigma & Lean, and Quality Assurance.

For Quality Auditing, one becomes a Certified Quality Auditor and can work with auditing organizations like Ernst & Young, PwC, KPMG, Accenture, QAI etc.

Quality Management Systems have a role in all the organizations.

Six Sigma & Lean have gained a lot of prominence over the years, but it is a highly competitive field with very strong focus on competency and expertise. For this, one has to undergo multiple level certifications in Six Sigma like Green Belt, Black Belt and Master Black Belt to be recognized as an expert. The job is to lead and drive business and organizational level process transformation across various domains like Operations, Finance, Project Delivery, Sales etc.

For Quality Assurance, one works with the Quality lifecycles and methodologies like ISO and CMMI and implements them in projects.

Essential Qualifications

BE or MCA. However, MBA or, MTQM (Masters in Total Quality Management) or, M.Tech in Quality Management / Operations research are always preferred as the job involves managing multiple stakeholders.

Good To Have Qualifications

It is advisable to take up external quality certifications like CSQA (Certified Software Quality Analyst from QAI) and Six Sigma Certifications (Green belt, Black Belt, Master Black belt) internal to organizations like GE, Motorola, TCS, Wipro etc or, external institutes like Indian Statistical Institute.

Good Institutes To Study At

MBA in Operations Management from the Top Tier institutes like IIM, IIT, FMS, XLRI, SP Jain etc; MSc / MTech from Indian Statistical Institutes (ISI); MTQM from Lucknow University; MS from BITS.

Other Qualifications

Pleasant personality; should able to work in a complex matrix-based system; logical and strong aptitude to comprehend various methodologies and to implement them across domains; ability to adapt to change; ability to work with multiple stakeholders who may not be in one's direct access/ control.

Average Salary Range

Average Annual Salary in rupees - lakhs per annum

Mid-Level Executive
Senior Management
CXO Level
IT/ ITES/ Telecom
2.5 to 5
7.5 to 15
15 to 35
35 to 50
5 to 10
10 to 20
25 to 30

Additional Comments

This is a very challenging field wherein one needs to constantly re-invent and re-learn to be successful in one's initiatives. This career is suitable only for people interested in areas like Statistics, project lifecycles, etc.

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Disclaimer: Views expressed by the author are personal

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