Singh Shares Journey at W.L. Mellon Speaker Series

W.L. Mellon Speaker Manoj SinghOn October 8, Tepper School of Business students were treated to an enlightening hour with business leader Manoj Singh, MSIA '76, chief operating officer of global giant Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. As part of the W.L. Mellon Speaker Series, Singh shared his informed worldviews and pertinent advice regarding career success.

The Carnegie Mellon trustee and member of the Tepper School Business Board of Advisors opened his presentation by noting his pleasure in returning to the Tepper School, where his “American journey” started 40 years ago.

Singh began with an overview on the future of key global economies, stating: “During the depth of the global financial crisis about five years ago, I would not have said that the U.S economy is going to be kicking everyone’s butt between now and the end of this decade.” He continued, “China, while fundamentally sound, over the longer term will have some significant restructuring and policy challenges to deal with over the next several years. I think the type of growth we saw over the last ten years is going to be remarkably slower. And the impact of environmental challenges will be a big distraction in the ensuing years.”

Singh noted the importance of staying ahead of rapid innovation enabled by technological change. “You are going to be driving innovation wherever you go,” he told the students, adding, “be open to change, never stop learning and reinvent yourself.”

He spoke of his rise to the top, touching on the importance of time management despite a schedule cluttered with distractions. “It’s really important to set aside time to think,” said Singh. “Managing your time effectively is very, very important — and asking the question of how you’ve made a difference today and what will you do to sustain it tomorrow and the day after.”

On the topic of leadership, Singh advised the students to anticipate events, rise to challenges and learn to both relate individually and connect broadly. He counseled expanding personal experience to enrich professional life, and pointed out that when he retires next May after 35 years at Deloitte, he’ll be pursuing a long standing personal goal of his – trekking to the Everest Base Camp with a few close friends.

Questions from the students followed Singh’s remarks. With respect to big data, he observed that the biggest challenge for companies is obtaining the technology to narrow down choices and avoiding “getting lost” while assessing information quality and accuracy. On future challenges, he indicated that U.S. innovation and startups have had significant impact and that “to be able to continue that momentum is going to be very, very key to the continued global dominance by the U.S. economy.”

Regarding distinguishing oneself at work, he encouraged the group to “constantly learn, modify and self-correct,” credited his mentors and advised taking risks at the right time, with the example of his move to New York after 17 years with the Cleveland practice and subsequently to Asia in 2003. 

In closing, he expressed his confidence in the Tepper School and its students. “You are in one of the best places, in advanced robotics, cyber security and much more. These things will impact everyone’s life and are things you will have a leg up on others as a strategic thinker.”


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