From Mumbai to Muscat via Dubai, with a bagful of dreams and rock-hard determination to explore the wider world. From pagers to mobiles to retail, with an insatiate desire to try out things newer and challenges tougher. He is happy about how his initiatives have paid off, how his career has shaped up and how his dreams have come true but it’s never the time for him to stop raising the bar.
“Never give up on your dreams and what you really want to become. Focus on your goals and aim for them. You will surely reap rewards.”
When he got his first job as a sales manager in telecom giant Hutch in Mumbai he had bigger dreams to achieve. “Frankly, at that point of time, I never wanted to do that job which I wasn’t keen to. I always wanted to climb the ladder to achieve my goals,” Prashant says.
He was selling pagers for Hutch in 1997. “That was the pager-era and then in 1998 the mobile phones came and I was soon selling them as well. While everyone else was fascinated with the mobile technology at that time my eyes were always on retail,” he recalls.
Prashant is a perfectionist focused on what he does. After working for about five years in Mumbai he took the flight to Dubai to work in global sports brand outlet Sun & Sands. “That was a big break for me to explore retail,” he says. “Dubai is like a paradise. The place teaches everything about life. I learnt the nuances of business from there,” he adds.
In 2002 Sun & Sands sent Prashant to Oman to take care of its first outlet outside the UAE. “That was a major responsibility. To take care of 44 brands was an achievement,” Prashant points out.
“During that time Oman was moving through an amazing transformation. There was so much happening here at that point. Even though the market was new to me I could easily get adjusted to,” he notes.
In 2014 Prashant left Sun & Sands to join Markaz Al Bahja, Oman’s first family shopping destination, as its General Manager. “Markaz Al Bahja is a dream place to work,” Prashant says. “During then a few malls were mushrooming but we had by then cemented our place in the hearts of Omanis and residents alike,” Prashant adds.
“We at Markaz always look at how different we can be from other malls in the country. Our target has always been to make it as a family shopping destination. From 2014 onwards we started signing up with winning brands in fashion and fitness,” Prashant says.
Strategically located in Seeb Markaz Al Bahja today houses some of the top brands including Matalan, Redtag, Sun & Sands Sports. International retail chain Lulu Hypermarket is the latest brand to open at Markaz.
Under Prashant’s leadership Markaz Al Bahja has strengthened its position among the top malls in the country. “Much of its credit goes to our management especially our Chairman Ajay Hamlai and Vice Chairman Sujay Hamlai who are taking the group to great strides,” he notes.
With an increase in footfall the mall is witnessing a transformation. “We have just opened a multilevel car parking for customers to experience convenient shopping. We are also coming out with many plans as well in the coming months,” he says.
While Prashant has touched gold in everything he experimented with in his career he still yearns for more. “I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work and be proud that I tried everything,” he adds.