C-suite career advice: Karan Yaramada, Jade Global

What are the most common mistakes made by candidates in an interview? “For the most part, there is no right or wrong answer in my interviews. The questions are merely to bring out a candidate’s vulnerabilities as well as their strengths.”

Headshot of Karan Yaramada, CEO of Jade Global
Jade Global

Name: Karan Yaramada

Company: Jade Global

Job Title: CEO

Location: San Jose, CA

Karan Yaramada founded Kanverse in 2020, and established Jade Global, as the founder and CEO in 2003 with a vision and passion to deliver excellence to its customers. An alumnus of Harvard Business School, Yaramada exemplifies the company’s deep-rooted culture of maximising value from the latest technology to address some of the biggest business challenges. Kanverse is Yaramada’s visionary pursuit to interweave the world with the power of AI, driven by the need for safe and responsible use of this revolutionary technology. 

What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received? If you’re looking to be promoted, follow these two things that will lead you in the right direction. Firstly, express your intent to the right people, such as direct supervisor/manager, in advance or before the beginning of a new performance review cycle. Secondly, set your long-term goals to meet key objectives of the role that you would like to attain within the next year or two.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received? If you keep your superiors happy, they will take care of you, instead of doing the right things in the best interest of the company. This narrow focus does more harm than good, in my opinion.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in IT/tech? Three very important things that can set you up for success are intellectual curiosity, a culture of trust, and work ethic.

The intellectually curious are the ones who thrive, who upset the status quo and find newer and better ways to do things. Every great relationship begins with trust, which plays a vital role in building company culture. And, when you can align your life passion with purpose and persistence, the lines between ‘working’ and ‘playing’ dissolve and become one ever flowing part of your life. Work hard, fail fast and learn faster.

Did you always want to work in IT/tech? I’m not sure that I did, but I did decide to switch my major from mechanical to computer science engineering after my undergrad. In fact, I left one of the top engineering schools, IIT Kharagpur, in order to switch my major to computer science and engineering at a different university.

What was your first job in IT/tech? I joined Tata Consultancy Services right after receiving my master’s in computer science and engineering as an Assistance Systems Engineer Trainee. The trainee in my title went away after six months of working in that position.

What are some common misconceptions about working in IT/tech? A common misconception about working in IT is that everyone is always behind a desk or the computer and writing code. That’s not always the case. You make a huge impact in any business by being part of IT. You get a full view of business from both inside and outside. IT and Business are converging into one and eventually every company will become a Tech company.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position? I would advise the following:

  • Self-awareness is key. Understand your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Your team's success is your success. Always find a way to make your teams successful.
  • Understand what makes your company unique or different and promote those values or that culture.
  • Broaden your scope. Whenever possible, take on new challenges or different business functions.
  • Take a step back and see the business from a different perspective and voluntarily bring in new ideas.
  • Focus on company goals even at the sacrifice of your own unit/department.
  • Lead by example.

What are your career ambitions, and have you reached them yet? My career goal was to build a great IT company and I can happily say I’m halfway there already.

Do you have a good work life balance in your current role? I have made personal sacrifices in the process of building the company and my family has always been very supportive. It’s time to pay them back with my time and support.

What, if anything, would you change about the route your career path has taken? For many years I was very financially conservative. I would say I could have taken more risks while developing the company. I could have invested in growth aggressively.

Which would you recommend: A coding bootcamp or a computer science degree? I would recommend a computer science degree because the degree will help groom you for long-term success where bootcamp will only teach you a narrower skillset.

How important are specific certifications? Certifications are important for new job opportunities but alone are not enough to help you grow in your career.

What are the three skills or abilities you look for in prospective candidates? A positive attitude, the ability to learn, and accountability or taking ownership.

What would put you off a candidate? First, frequent job changes. Second, changing jobs for not good enough reasons. Finally, blame others for their failures instead of learning from their failures.

What are the most common mistakes made by candidates in an interview? How can those mistakes be avoided? For the most part, there is no right or wrong answer in my interviews. The questions are merely to bring out a candidate’s vulnerabilities as well as their strengths. Candidates must listen carefully, seek clarification to understand the questions asked and be fully engaged. 

Do you think it is better to have technical or business skills – or a mix of both? A mixture of both. To apply technology to business effectively, technologists should have the appropriate business skills. Someone running a business should also have the correct technical skills to run their business.