Our Commercial Manager, Susant Tiwari, who is responsible for all the NEXUS Centers and Projects in Nepal, offered fascinating insights into his daily responsibilities, challenges and highlights. He also shared his vision and dream for Nepal with us. Enjoy reading his capturing story.
Susant, where are you from in Nepal and what is your family structure like?
I grew up in Pragatinagar, a small town in the Nawalparasi District, 30km west from Bharatpur, together with one elder and two younger sisters. I myself was born in 1992 and am 26 years old. My parents own a small shoe and garment shop.
While I used to support them in their business, I soon started to gain working experience in other fields. A close friend of mine started to study commodity marketing and offered me to join him in starting a business together in that field. I was able to gain first-hand experience working as a counselor, informing customers how to make money in the commodity market and convincing them to participate in trainings. After leaving that job I joined the pharmaceutical strategical market, where I was responsible for visiting doctors and convincing them to prescribe to medical products, for increasing sales, following up with distributors and maintaining the supply chain for their range of products.
As I will explain further, all these experiences provided me with a valuable skillset for my position at NEXUS Nepal today. Besides working, I also studied at the affiliated Oxford College of Engineering and Management at Pokhara University, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in computer application in 2017.
What was your path to become Commercial Manager for the NEXUS Centers in Nepal?
After receiving my degree, I had in mind to jump right back into the pharmaceutical business. But as luck would have it, a friend of mine was, at that time, running the recruitment office assisting NEXUS Nepal to look for the best candidate for the position of Commercial Manager. He informed me about the post, funny enough mainly because he had just recently started his recruiting business and wanted to suggest good candidates to NEXUS Nepal. I therefore went to the interview first and foremost to help out my friend.
However, as soon as the interview started, I realized how interested I actually am in the position and fully seized the opportunity. I talked for a long time with Lars, the founder, and Simon, the intern at that time. I was fully convinced of the social business plan and wanted to devote myself to also making a social impact on society.
Already as a student, I was engaged in the political student union and interested in transforming society. I was so glad to be selected to the NEXUS Team this past May in 2017. The opportunity to work for NEXUS Nepal awoke my hidden interest to contribute to the development of my country. I am from a middle-class family and now have this vision for Nepal that I want to pursue – which I will explain in the last question.
A normal day at work…
…for me starts with a morning walk and a small refreshment. But to be honest, for the rest of the day there is not much of a routine in my job. Each day depends on the situation and the pending activities and duties. As Commercial Manager I am responsible for making a plan of the project sites I need to visit.
Thus, in the morning, I head out to visit one or several NEXUS Centers where I talk to the local operator and we jointly make plans about marketing tasks. The operators appreciate the personal meetings, which gives them the opportunity to talk about difficulties and issues faced in their daily running of the Centers. Then we mostly visit the market together where we meet potential customers and promote our product and the uniqueness of our water.
But there are many additional duties. I visit construction sites and construction workers, meet with suppliers, run errands, buy necessary goods and organize their transport to the Centers. While I cannot always be present on site, I make sure to monitor all NEXUS Centers, I go through their reports, communicate with the operators on the phone, I motivate them and gather information on progress as well as on problems. To reach the Centers, I travel on motorcycle. The longest distance is to Lumbini NEXUS Center, about 150km. I also visit the NEXUS School Projects where I meet the principles of the schools and receive information on how the project is running.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the diversity of my job very much and being able to exchange and maintain relations with all different stakeholders, from technicians to institutions and organizations. I am proud to be able to present and represent the company to them. I put special emphasize on the social business and welfare factor. Most stakeholders I talk to become very curious about the NEXUS approach.
It is also great to be able to meet up with the operators and it is a satisfying feeling every time I am able to solve their problems and motivate them in their work. My aim is to always give them a sense of empowerment and achievement. Being in the marketing and water business is very challenging and can be frustrating and demotivating, but I have learned how to share my experience with them how to deal with the situation and give them recommendations how to improve their impact.
What do you want to achieve and what challenges do you want to overcome working for NEXUS Nepal?
My childhood dream was to industrialize the agriculture sector of my country. I learned at school that 80% of Nepal’s land is cultivable. But the problem is that all young people are leaving to enjoy a more prosperous life abroad. This leads to an extremely low productivity level. Most our products are imported from China and India, we produce and sell very little ourselves, which leaves a big gap in our economy. I want to both enable a technological revolution to ensure the self-sufficiency of our agriculture and to build on the (bio)diversity Nepal has to offer. One example is the herbal market. There is great potential for example to push the Ayurveda market, but these possibilities are not utilized properly. What the country also needs is a rethinking of society about discriminating between professions and thus increase the respect for and prestige of any non-white-collar jobs.
Having the chance to work at NEXUS Nepal is teaching me so much and I am gaining useful skills and knowledge. It is the best platform to learn about the processes and details to be considered when launching projects. In the near future, NEXUS wants to implement projects in the agriculture sector that offer solutions for the problems farmer communities face. Before coming to NEXUS, all I had was a dream, without a plan how to pursue that dream. Now, I can actively follow my dream. Getting the chance to explore and understand my country’s society through the travels from Center to Center is especially valuable as it helps me to grasp and feel the sociodemographic and psychological nuances that lead to different social problems.
Source: nexus ch