The CMO Files: Mani Dasgupta, CMO, Capgemini

Mani Dasgupta, CMO, Capgemini

Get inside the mind of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job, what their biggest achievements are... and what keeps them awake at night. Read 'The CMO Files'...

  Name:  Mani Dasgupta

  Organisation: Capgemini

  Job title: Chief Marketing Officer, North America

  Location: Irving, Texas



(1) Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Kolkata, India and travelled widely as a child. Kolkata is regarded as the intellectual and cultural capital of India boasting many globally acclaimed philosophers, poets and the like. I was lucky to have that diversity of background as for most Indians, you have only two choices of profession - to be an engineer or to be an engineer!


(2) What was your first job? 


While at school I was roped into working my network to sell my friend's aspiring jewellery designs. That was my first taste of creative marketing.


(3) What was the first product you got really excited about?   

It was a breadboard and gates - I could finally build logic and it worked! In spite of all the early creative influences I did become an engineer - with a degree in Computer Science. Not surprisingly I spent a lot of time in the semiconductor lab.




(4) Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

My parents. My father instilled work ethics in me, challenging me to dream bigger and reach higher. My mother taught me the importance of being memorable, always.



(5) What has been your greatest achievement?


I've had my share of wins and losses; the biggest achievement is yet to come.



(6) What has been your biggest mistake?

I call them learning experiences. J It is interesting that the reference plane of a mistake changes as time progresses. I recall standing up and making a noise about the quality of projects I was getting early on in my career.  At that point it seemed like a mistake - I was an inch from getting fired. Not settling for less helped me define my career.




(7) What is your greatest strength?

Creativity in problem solving. I don't give up, there is always a way to make it happen, quickly.


(8) What is your biggest weakness?

Impatience, for sure.




(9) What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?   

Innovation in technology is exciting and hence people talk about it too often. I believe the process is more important and often overlooked.



(10) Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?


"Carpe diem". I like to live each day to the fullest and learn something new every day. "Feminism" makes me squirm - I support equality.



(11) What makes you stressed?

I am good with time pressure and work commitments; undue bureaucracy and corporate politics stress me out.




(12) What do you do to relax?

Clean the pool - no really. There is something really relaxing about the way you can gather every single leaf out of the water in to your skimmer net... I also teach kids, including my daughter, classical dance and find it extremely rewarding.


(13) What is your favourite song?


"If I ever lose my faith in you" by Sting. It can be interpreted in so many different ways.



(14) Which book taught you most?


Being a Hindu by birth and later, by choice, I have spent a lot of time revisiting the epics Ramayana, Mahabharata which were written between 4th - 7th century B.C. The sheer depth of emotion and the intricacies of relationships, expectations and politics have taught me a lot about human behaviour.


(15) Do you have a team or sport that you follow?



Tennis, I was a big supporter of Andre Agassi in the men's and Martina Navratilova in the women's game. The game has since become much more scientific, strength edging over style.


(16) Which country would you like to work in?

France. Capgemini's global headquarters are in Paris - so far I've been making only occasional visits. I've immensely enjoyed working in three very different countries with exceptional and talented people -India, the UK and the USA and would love to experience the French culture in depth.




(17) Which company do you think has the best marketing?

Apple and Nike are top of mind. One driven to excellence with extraordinary vision - "people don't know what they want until you show it to them." The other appealing to the emotions and self-esteem of the customer.



(18) What do you love most about your job?

The creative possibilities. In marketing no two days are the same. You can have multiple balls in the air knowing that you will catch them at the right time and add more to the mix. Think about the creative possibility of delivering the same message in different forms for different stakeholders. As long as caring about the customer is at the core of it - it always makes the desired impact.




(19) What is your favourite book?

"Life is so stern and earnest" (A Psalm of Life, by Longfellow) - that as it feels good to escape from reality at times. My go to book is anything written by British humorist P.G. Wodehouse.


(20) What keeps you awake at night?



Lately nothing. My daughter trained me early on to catch up on my sleep while the offer is still open!



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