We are Symphony: A conversation with Manu Kulshreshtha

Valeria Levantino
Communications Manager
Rakuten Symphony
July 21, 2023
minute read

Manu Kulshrestha shares his inspirational journey from Integration Specialist to Senior Director of FCAPS Integrations at Rakuten Symphony.

Manu taking it all in at the GALA Yuzawa Ski Resort in Japan
Manu taking it all in at the GALA Yuzawa Ski Resort in Japan

Tell us about your journey to Rakuten Symphony

I'm originally from Gwalior, a city right in the center of India. I'm really proud of my hometown - its palaces and temples are so beautiful! I started my career in 2011 as a Radio Optimization Engineer. In 2019, while working for Ericsson in India, I came across a video on LinkedIn featuring Rakuten Symphony CEO Tareq Amin talking about Open RAN. It was something new… a concept that had been talked about in theory but never actually implemented successfully. That video sparked my curiosity, and the idea of working on something so groundbreaking and innovative really appealed to me.

A few months later, my life changed completely.

I hopped on a plane in December 2019 and I started working at Rakuten’s Mobile as an Integration Specialist focusing on FCAPS (fault, configuration, accounting, performance, and security). That role was all about making sure this new concept of mobile operation was delivered to customers with the same quality of experience that they’d been getting with incumbents. As part of Rakuten Mobile, I was lucky to be able to dive deep into the world of OSS (Operations Support Systems) which I had begun developing an interest in.

Fast forward to today, and I can proudly say that my career has advanced significantly. I've reached the position of Senior Director at Rakuten Symphony, having made the transition to the technology business side of things, and I couldn't be prouder. It's amazing to reflect on how much knowledge and experience I've gained in just four years. The learning opportunities at Rakuten Symphony are accelerated and I have genuinely enjoyed the speed at which we move!

Can you share a bit more about your current role?

Yes, I’m a Senior Director now for FCAPS Integrations. My main responsibility is leading a diverse team of ten professionals based in India, Japan and Germany. Together, we serve clients worldwide. Our main goal is all about integrating telecommunication network nodes into one unified OSS system. This integration is crucial for a smooth and flawless network performance. Our Symworld platform, a cloud-oriented mobile network platform, helps us closely monitor and address any faults or performance issues that may occur.

To simplify this complex process, imagine a busy transportation system with buses and trains representing different parts of a telecommunication network. Similar to a control center managing transportation, our OSS system acts as a central control center for the network. By integrating network nodes into the OSS system, it's like connecting all the transportation modes to the control center. This integration allows us to better oversee the network, detect faults and ensure smooth operations.

I won't lie, it's a lot of work. But you know what? I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

Run us through a day in the life of Manu.

For me, family always comes first! My day usually begins with the sweet voice of my little girl. After spending some quality time with her, I get into my work. In my role, I'm involved in countless meetings and discussions, working on various projects, planning roadmaps, and making sure we meet all those important deadlines. But once I'm done with work, it's family time again!

I absolutely adore spending quality time with my loved ones, especially my daughter. She's the one who truly helps me recharge after a long and busy day at work.

At De Zaanse Schans, in Zaandam, Netherlands
At De Zaanse Schans, in Zaandam, Netherlands.

Who or what inspires you the most?

My mom is my absolute inspiration. She taught me to love big, dream big, and that hard work makes talent grow. Even in the toughest of times, she taught me to strive for the best possible outcome. Unfortunately, I lost her during the COVID pandemic, but I want to take this moment to express my deep gratitude to her for being such an incredible inspiration in my life.

Now, my ultimate goal is to bring smiles to the faces of my loved ones. That's the legacy my mom left in me—to spread happiness and make the world a little brighter for those I care about.

Looking dapper and out for a stroll at Nijigaoka, Tokyo
Out for a stroll in Nijigaoka, Tokyo.

What are some hobbies you enjoy pursuing in your down time?

Going on long walks or watching a movie with my family is the perfect way to unwind and have some fun. Let me tell you, since my daughter came into my life, everything has changed. She's brought so much joy and happiness into my world. Playing with her has become one of my favorite things to do. Now, my main focus is giving her all the love and care she deserves. And I’m happy to say that Rakuten Symphony not only allows me to maintain a healthy work-life balance but also values my overall wellbeing. It’s an incredible work environment where I can excel professionally and still prioritize what matters most to me: my family.  

What excites you the most about Rakuten Symphony?

The future at Rakuten Symphony is incredibly bright. We're delivering groundbreaking solutions worldwide, and we're at the forefront of the Open RAN movement. It's incredible to think that we started from scratch, and have come so far. What truly amazes me about this whole journey is the unexpected opportunities it has provided. As an engineer, I never anticipated the incredible experiences of meeting inspiring individuals from around the globe, and this place has surpassed my expectations with regard to learning and skill development. It's a testament to the power of self-belief and hard work that so many of my colleagues have been able to progress, connected by the mission to to shape the future together.

Do you have any advice for people who want to join Rakuten Symphony?

If you're someone who is passionate about innovation, automation and technology, Rakuten Symphony is the right place for you. It's a hub where new technologies are embraced and we constantly push the boundaries of innovation.

Here, you also have direct access to the upper management, including our CEO, which I believe is quite unique. You can ask questions and share your thoughts freely. This level of connection fosters a strong company culture. So if you're ready to embrace challenges, innovate, and be part of an amazing global team, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. We're always on the lookout for talented individuals like you!

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