#WeAreSymphony

We are Symphony: A conversation with Pratik Parikh

By
Suddhaloke Choudhury
Global Content and Social Media Manager
Rakuten Symphony
January 27, 2023
7
minute read

An affinity for the water, love for tennis, the aspiration to obtain a pilot's license and a need to explore anything new happening in tech. These are just some of the things that make Pratik Parikh, Senior Director, Digital Operation Management, SymBiz Product Department, Rakuten Symphony unique. We sat down with Pratik in our headquarters in Tokyo to get to know his story.

Pratik Parikh, Senior Director, Digital Operation Management, SymBiz Product Department, Rakuten Symphony.
Tell us about your career journey to Rakuten Symphony.

After completing an MBA, I started working for Reliance Jio, a telecommunications giant in India. This was six and a half years ago. During the initial stages of my career, I worked as a business analyst and took a special interest in IOT (the Internet of things) and the technological advancements it provided people in all areas of life. I wanted to learn as much as I could about it. Before I knew it, this became my area of specialization and I was helping create quite a few products in the space.

Then, I had the opportunity to work for Rakuten in Japan. That was 2020 and it has now been three glorious years at this wonderful organization. I started off as a Senior Business Analyst for Rakuten Mobile and worked my way up to the role of a Product Manager for Rakuten Symphony’s Symbiz product.

What drew you to Rakuten and in turn, Rakuten Symphony?

Back in 2020, Rakuten was the talk of the town as it was building a new kind of mobile network, which leveraged one of the biggest innovations of the time in telecom; virtualized Open RAN. This was something that had never been done before and I was very intrigued by it. On a more personal note, I am always curious about new cultures. I was familiar with the work ethic of Japan and the importance of discipline and process in the corporate world. So it was this entire picture where I could be a part of this revolution, expand my knowledge and learn from a different culture that made me eager to join the company and Rakuten Symphony in particular.

What does being a Product Manager mean at Rakuten Symphony?

As a Product Manager, I have a 360-degree view of every aspect that affects the lifecycle of a product. From implementing business requirements to managing daily operations and organizing market research, I coordinate our UI/UX and engineering teams to help shape our products and ensure they’re continually improving for our customers. One of the most interesting tasks is the interactions I have with our customers and end users - drawing important insights from them to implement real-time use cases that will ease their daily operations.

Recently Pratik has taken up snowboarding.
Recently Pratik has taken up snowboarding.
Run us through a day in the life of Pratik.

I like to start my day early at the office with a coffee in hand. Next up, I review and update my to-do list for the day and my weekly calendar. I believe that a clear plan is essential to achieving great outcomes quickly so this is important. The first half of the day is then usually spent on research and preparation for important meetings where I track the status of projects and coordinate a daily huddle with my team members in Japan. For my team members in India, my interactions with them happen in the second half of my day because of the time difference. Across these meetings, it’s all about open, user-centric problem-solving. We are always considering interactions with customers. Collaborating on the UI/UX of products that impact millions of users worldwide is the most motivating part of my job. As you can guess, the day ends with planning for the following day!

"The team I work with is made up of a lot of fresh and young minds who are brilliant and not afraid to take risks and put some very innovative ideas on the table. In the long run, these calculated risks end up reaping big rewards for the organization."
-Pratik Parikh, Rakuten Symphony
From a tech standpoint, what about the team that you're working with or the industry that you're working in excites you?

The team I work with is made up of a lot of fresh and young minds who are brilliant and not afraid to take risks and put some very innovative ideas on the table. In the long run, these calculated risks end up reaping big rewards for the organization. Being challenged by this constant inventive thinking daily makes my job all the more exciting.

In addition, like with IOT, I have always been drawn toward new tech that aims to simplify the lives of human beings. I’ve been able to continue this at Rakuten Symphony. Working on a disruptive product like Symbiz has been an energizing experience for me.

"My experiences have taught me that only when you have a strong foundation will you be able to know how to implement ‘smart’ solutions. Without experience, learning through trial and error, can you know how to tackle a problem better the next time."
What are some hobbies you enjoy pursuing to recharge from your busy work life?

Since I was a teenager, my love for an active lifestyle has led me to continually discover new interests. Currently, I play tennis quite regularly, I am a certified scuba diver, and I enjoy snorkeling… Recently, my interests have also swayed me toward snowboarding and I am planning to head to the mountains very soon! I like to think all of these help me stay physically and mentally sharp.

I also like to explore different cultures through food. My taste buds have come to fancy cuisines like Korean, German and Afghani. I think you can tell that I’m someone that chases new experiences! In terms of content, my recent binge has been “Classroom of the Elite.” I would recommend the show to fellow anime lovers.

Rakuten Symphony's Pratik Parikh enjoying some of his favorite leisure acitivities
Rakuten Symphony's Pratik Parikh enjoying some of his favorite acitivities
Do you have a favorite quote that you channel for inspiration or motivation?

Yes. I believe in the saying, “Unless you work hard, you will never know how to work smart.” Though don't ask me who said that... For all I know, I could have come up with this myself! My experiences have taught me that only when you have a strong foundation will you be able to know how to implement ‘smart’ solutions. Without experience, learning through trial and error, can you know how to tackle a problem better the next time.

What’s next for Pratik Parikh?

Personally, I would like to obtain a private pilot license allowing me to fly 3-4 seater planes. In terms of my career, I’m excited to continue developing my experience and learning new things with respect to the telecom industry. With all the breakthroughs and new ideas flying around Rakuten Symphony, I couldn’t imagine doing this anywhere else. I also have a few certifications planned this year to help me grow. With these, I hope to facilitate the success of my young team members and help them, and in turn Rakuten Symphony, grow to the best they can be.

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