6 challenges we tackled while interviewing Michel Susai

The experience while struggling to have the opportunity to interact with Mr. Michel Susai, Chairman of NextStar Ventures, Founder Chairman and CEO, NetScaler, and Founder,Chairman and CEO,NeoAccel is as unforgettable as it was exciting.
“Two weeks before the day of the interview, a list of contacts was provided by Ingle Sir to the P.I.N.G. team from which one profile caught our attention”, Shamli Singh relates as she recalls the quandary.
They immediately approached Ingle Sir with their choice. After a day’s delay, they finally got the chance to pen down the contact on the backside of a paper which contained the names of participants of the event – Unravel. The paper changed hands a lot of times and soon the contact was lost. After tracking down the IEEE members present at the desk that day, they finally found out who had the sheet of paper containing the contact. However, the person remained unreachable for a while which delayed them a little until at last word reached the concerned indirectly and they were given the contact.

“Since it was an international call, a decision had to be made. All the P.I.N.G. members had postpaid cards, except for me, so it was decided we’d call from my card.”, she added further.
They sent an email to Mr. Susai, alongwith copies of previous versions of the P.I.N.G. magazine and requesting his co-operation for an interview. When there had been no reply for 4 to 5 days, we resent another message pleading his attention.

“The message was sent at 8.30 and after about an hour, he called back! I was literally sitting on the edge of my bed; I was doing this for the first time”, Shamli exclaimed.
The 15 minute talk with Mr. Susai consisted of him expressing his interest in P.I.N.G. and its participants as well as a trip down the memory lane for the businessman as he recalled his experience in PICT , being a former student, fondly asking about the hostel, canteen and mess food and the faculty from his batch.

As soon as the call was over, the team was intimated, and everyone was excited about it. Mr. Susai had directed them to call the next day at 11.30 to fix the timing of the interview. Since the call went unanswered, they assumed he must’ve been in the middle of something and decided to go for lunch and call again later.

“Sahil Sharma, Priyanka Bhagat, Naman Mandlik and I went out for food and as soon as the order arrived, Mr. Susai called.” everyone waited in pin-drop silence in apprehension as their team member tried to communicate with him. However, due to network problem, Mr. Susai couldn’t hear and decided to message them to skype the next day.
The questions hadn’t been prepared as such an immediate response hadn’t been expected by them, so Shamli and Priyanka prepared questions within a day while Naman, Shreyas Kulkarni, Reha Musale and Shivani Firodiya set up the technical support at Shivani’s flat; taking care to test the laptop, camera, wifi, downloading softwares to record the voice and the setup was done till 9 pm on Saturday.

The next day, at around 10.30, the earlier group with the addition of Rishabh Patil decided to check if the Skype call was impeccable through an actual rehearsal, with the help of their senior Nikhil Kulkarni. After surveying their introduction, Nikhil proclaimed that it seemed as if they were reporting in a police station!

He advised only three of them to introduce themselves namely – Shamli, Priyanka and Atharva while he instructed the rest to wave a friendly hello to Mr. Susai so as to not let it seem robotic. Then it was decided who would ask which questions after which a call was made at the decided time, to wait for the skype id and then begin a skype call.

When the wheels hadn’t been set into motion till 11.30, a feeling of doom pervaded the group. Tired by the day’s activities, they ordered a pizza, edited some articles, watched a movie and left her house at 8 pm. They came back near college and went to a restaurant and ordered some food,

“I was about to take my first morsel, and -“, Shamli laughed as she remembered how some of the P.I.N.G. members joked that they should’ve simply ordered earlier since that somehow set the wheels into motion.

“I couldn’t call because I had an important meeting. I’m travelling to my daughter’s workshop, which would take around three hours and since I don’t have steady internet connection, I’d suggest a telephonic conversation.”, Mr. Susai said on the other side of the phone call.

They had their dinner and rushed back to Shivani’s house by 9.30 while their senior P.I.N.G. members Manasi Godse and Advait Kulkarni kept getting updates.

They downloaded a voice recording app on Priyanka’s phone besides using backup as Shreyas’ recording keeping the amplifier near it. Upon waiting till 10, receiving no call they decided to call him wherein he picked up the phone and said he was inside the auditorium, so he’d call within 5 mins.

Hostel in-times were nearing and the team collectively decided that rescheduling should be suggested via message and the very next moment the call was made and they finally got to interview Mr. Michel Susai. Some lengthy and irrelevant questions were cut yet the interview prolonged from 10.30 to 12.00.

Mr. Susai was very happy with the initiative and wanted to visit and gladly sent his photograph and the logo of his company upon which the P.I.N.G. team promised to send the rough draft by the next day. The interview was a mark of honor for the P.I.N.G. 11.0 and the P.I.N.G. members still recall their interaction with Mr. Michel Susai,a PICT alumni, who humbly provided us with his time and information of the real world besides the inspiration to reach heights in our own spheres.

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