After deserted by his father, the old Srinagar boy acted on his mother’s advice to script an inspiring overseas trade success for himself. Now, one of biggies in McDonald’s India operations, the man is all set to open up the global food outlet in valley, reports Riyaz Ul Khaliq
In 2003, some 200 candidates from India lined up to compete for a single high profile job in Dubai’s multi-national company. The moment the final selection list came out, the most populous city in United Arab Emirates (UAE) had sealed the fate of an old Srinagar’s MBAian.
Since then, 13 thirteen years have passed and now, Mohammad Mutaher is competing in a big business league. The man, now in his late thirties and a father of two, had number of overseas job stints. But given the kind of ordeal he passed in his early life, it wasn’t expected from him to be where he is today. Behind his woe was his father—who deserted him, his mother and sister –and remarried. “My father doesn’t know me,” says Mutaher, “neither do I.”
In absence of his father, Mutaher put up with his maternal uncles. But growing up in restive downtown during nineties was no fairly tale. Hailing from Khawaja Bazaar area of nearby Srinagar’s Nowhatta, Mutaher was shortly sent to study engineering in Mumbai. By 2000, he was back to study business in University of Kashmir. His overseas sojourn started soon after he stepped out of the campus with an MBA degree.
In 2006, Mutaher returned home. And then, he had worked for many multinational companies in the sub-continent. And shortly, he flew to India’s financial capital, where he worked as Retail Businesses head of Mumbai International Airport. For the next two years, he kept working there, keeping close eye on the options in the city of stock exchange. Mutaher kept exploring his options—until one day, he got the break of his life.
His career graph saw a jump when he joined world’s largest fast food chain—McDonald’s. The food outlet multinational company operates in 119 nations, serves around 68 million customers daily through its 36,000 outlets. He heads McDonald’s Business Development in Central, and North India. “It is a feat to work in such a big company,” he says, “unlike Kashmir where there is no exposure.”
Away from valley, Mutaher is working to expand the footprints of the corporate house. It was because of his proactive role that saw the opening of McDonald’s franchise in Jammu. Many outlets, he says, are in the pipeline. “We are in a process of opening this brand in Kashmir as well,” he says.
Till Kashmir finds its mention in McDonald’s global map, Mutaher wants to help the young pass-outs of Kashmir varsities in terms of placing them in top companies. It is sad, he rues, that University of Kashmir never finds time to contact its alumni who can help its pass out graduates. “There is no policy in place. At least, the Business School could have called its pass-outs working in corporate sector to groom the students.”
Mutaher asserts that Kashmiri youth needs to come out of state and work in places of better opportunities. One is only taught in Kashmir, he says, without actually being told: what sells in the market. “How many people know the market requirement?” he questions. “Education in Kashmir is only grooming up, remotely market specific. The need is to flip the face of our approach.”
These thoughts indeed sound great, when it comes from the man who had to pass through a disturbed childhood, where his father was never for him. “But I compensated father’s loss by sticking to hard work—the spirit invoked in me and my sister by our mother.”
I believe, he says, we all have in us the spirit to rise above our letdowns. Perhaps, the man is seemingly reliving the life as per McDonald’s tagline— ‘I’m Lovin’ It.’