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As part of the Ford Motor Company’s In-Plant Implementation team, current Hong Kong student Gopi Krishna Saladi sits at the juncture between manufacturing and technology. He is the General Manager of IT and leads a team that helps bridge the gap between information technology and machinery by setting up a strong foundation for Ford’s leap towards Industry 4.0.

Though based in India, Gopi’s work caters to business growth in Asia, Africa, and South America, and his business partners span across various time zones. With so many different motivations, backgrounds, and global perspectives affecting his work, he decided to pursue Booth’s Executive MBA Program in Hong Kong.

Here he takes us through the days before he travels for a week of class, and shares some insights and tips on how he balances work, life, and Booth. 

Friday, October 11, 2019 – Day before travel

Booth EMBA Asia student Gopi Krishna Saladi by desk

09:30 AM

I arrive at the office early, and my priority is to have a stand-up meeting with my immediate team to ensure that they have everything set for their upcoming workweek

As a practitioner of servant leadership, I always make it a point to understand where I’m needed the most and empower my team to handle the rest. Today, a direct report called my attention to a potential blocker in finalizing the workshop dates for an upcoming launch in one of our markets. It looks like this will be my priority for the day.

12:00 PM

The German workday has begun, and it’s time for a call with my supervisor. We discuss my regular one-on-one updates from last week’s recap but also devote time to finalizing team arrangements for the next week, and all the delegation of authorities planned during my absence.

02:00 PM

I’m back from lunch, and we found an empty slot on our business partner’s calendar, so my colleague and I gatecrashed his office to discuss the workshop dates. Thankfully, there’s nothing a face-to-face meeting can’t address. We have the workshop dates aligned and the team is back on track.

04:00 PM

I grab a cup of coffee and casually catch up with my extended team during an impromptu coffee chat.

05:30 PM

Oops, I almost shut down my laptop without putting up the out-of-office response. I quickly draft out my automatic reply that makes it clear who to contact in my absence.

Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Travel day

Booth EMBA Asia student Gopi Krishna Saladi with family

04:00 PM

It’s a few hours before my journey to the Hong Kong campus. I finish my travel routines—check-in early, confirm meal and other in-flight options and check with Airbnb host for my stay arrangements.

Having a travel app like TripIt makes my life easy because it keeps track of all my travel arrangements.

Thanks to my better half, most of the luggage is packed, and all that remains is putting together books for the class week and arranging my Financial Accounting notes so I can study for the final during my flight.

07:30 PM

It’s time for dinner and more family time. Spending quality time with them is something I never miss. And it reminds me of the most important part of my travel routine—taking down the goodies list that I must bring back home: first on the list is Garrett’s popcorn and Malteasers from the Hong Kong airport for my little one followed by a Wilson tennis racket for my elder one.

09:00 PM

The clock at my house is behind, but my chauffeur is at the door right on time. He picks up my luggage and then we are off to the airport. As always, he wishes me good luck as he drops me off.

11:00 PM

My flight has taken off and I hold onto my notes. I’m looking forward to an exciting learning week ahead of me, and meeting up with my friends on campus.

Top three tips and tricks from Gopi:

  1. Plan well and communicate at work: Keep your stakeholders well informed, give your team all the information they need to keep them running in your absence, and delegate and deputize members for all critical engagements and meetings.

  2. Embrace digital help: Consider downloading a good travel app (I like TripIt) to organize your travels. Let the app keep track of your flight status, what gate to leave from and remind you when to leave.

  3. Develop a simple travel checklist so that you don’t need to scramble on what to pack. My better-half printed a small checklist which includes medical kit, toiletries, clothing, mobile chargers and adaptors, mobile roaming initiation, and foreign currency.