Mahesh Shrestha serves as a Managing Director of G4S Security Services Nepal (P.) Ltd. He joined the company in 2008. Due to his utmost professionalism and dedication, he received the Best CEO Award within a year of joining the company. In a captivating conversation with Manisha Balami of New Business Age, Shrestha talks about his professional journey and his peaks and valleys over the years.
Born in Gorkha, Shrestha’s father was a government officer. Due to his father’s frequent transfers to different districts, as a child, he was enrolled in different schools. Due to this, Shrestha believes that he can adjust to different environments. “This was a kind of big exposure to me, to adapt to different situations and make friends. I find it very interesting and joyous recalling those moments,” he says.
The shift from Engineering to Social Science
Shrestha is an engineer in terms of his educational qualification. He did his proficiency certificate level in Civil Engineering. As soon as he joined the Pulchowk Engineering College in 1992, he was working with Nepal Telecommunication Corporation. The organisation used to be fully government-owned then. Working for almost two years, he decided not to continue with government services as there had been so many issues in terms of favouritism, nepotism and so on. Rather, he chose one of the leading private consulting firms in Nepal called East Concern. He worked there as an engineer, designing a water system for Kobe City, Japan after a massive earthquake hit the country.
After working for 8-9 months, he thought about his area of work and what kind of organisation he is suitable for. He recalls that he always had an internal feeling that he was made for some international organisation. “Although I was not familiar with the working environment of the international organisations, I had a kind of imagination in my head,” he shares with laughter. Following his instincts, he was looking for vacancies in such organisations. Having found a vacancy for an engineer in Care International in Nepal, he applied for the post. Despite having only two years of experience, he was shortlisted for an interview. He had more experience in building, construction, and designing and had no experience of working with a humanitarian organisation.
He recalls that the interview was very challenging for him. Other people had more than a decade of experience while he had only two years of experience. So he was not hopeful about being selected for the position. However, he was selected.
“I was asked “You don’t have prior experience, how can you do it?”, then I said, “I grew up in this society and what you are asking me is from their roofs. I know the people, their culture and system. What I simply need to do is to facilitate them. I do not need to go to college to study these things.” Maybe this made them interesting and they selected me,” he explains.
Working with Care made Shrestha interested in social development, hence he decided to pursue his further degree in Sociology and Anthropology. So he did his master’s degree from Tribhuvan University.
Shrestha’s wife discovered that G4S, the British multinational security services company, was in search of a country manager and forwarded the vacancy to him. He applied for the position and now he has been working in the company for 12 years.
Joining G4S was primarily important for him because he could be closer to his family since before that, he was out of the country for significant periods. Besides, contributing something to Nepal was another reason. “Finding this job was very much aligned to my two of these objectives,” he affirms. Shrestha always had the feeling that if he had done all the hard work in the country instead of abroad, it would be better. “So if I had found any opportunities, working in Nepal would definitely be my priority,” he says.
Always Looking for Challenges
An adventurous person by nature, Shrestha feels that he is most suitable for the worst environment. Rather than having a fixed set of objectives and goals, he always looks for professional challenges. That was the motivation behind seeking international placements and assignments. “It was more of an adventure. To learn the critical way of managing things and prove that we are equally competent in the international market,” he says.
While joining the company in 2008, he recalls that there were various challenges. So from that position, within five years, he was able to turn the company around. He credits the teamwork, support and effort of the whole team for this. “With this, not only me but the whole team was recognised,” he states.
Belonging from an engineering background, joining Care International was Shrestha’s turning point. Care turned him to the development field which he believes has made him broader in terms of scope. “I was never limited only to engineering and designing after I joined Care International. I was involved in so many aspects such as rural community development, women development, etc.,” he says. The organisation was a non-profit organisation, while G4S is a for-profit organisation. So, he considers joining G4S as another turning point in his career. He says that these turning points have made him realise that nothing is limited and anyone can join from one study background to another area of work.
An Avid Reader and Wayfarer
The Seat of the Soul, Be Here Now, and The Power of Now are some of his current reads. Shrestha loves reading books and he feels that there are a number of books that motivate him. Besides, whenever he is free, he loves to trek. He says that he frequently goes trekking to different places of Nepal.
Shrestha believes that if a person does not have peace of mind, cooperation and support they cannot do anything. He says that he is a workaholic and sometimes he even doesn’t even remember to take leave days. He stresses the importance of family support and says, “If my wife had argued with my international career and my long work hours, I would never have been able to pursue that. I would obviously choose my family over work and I would not have been the person I am today without them.”