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Learning Everything on the Job

global services – Pratibha Verma

"Anybody could be in the right place at the right moment. But then its very important to have also business acumen and a lot of flexibility to lead a company," says Arkadiy Dobkin, EPAM CEO

It was never a cake-walk for Arkadiy Dobkin, the CEO and the President of EPAM Systems to achieve success in raising his company to the recognition it currently enjoys. In 1993, when EPAM started, Arkadiy used to dream of building an international IT company with top-notch quality services, strong team, and a global reach.

Way back in the early days of EPAM, the company’s business model hinged around employing software engineers from Eastern Europe, former Soviet states that were now republics, and Russia in particular. Arkadiy deeply believed that superior skills both onsite and offshore would make EPAM successful and in 1995 the company started to work on a sales force automation system for Colgate.

His dogged determination to be ready all the time for any kind of changes, and perhaps tamed ambition (or call it prudent patience), made him labor through the years until the global services model opened up.

He says, "I learnt everything on the job right from moving government work in Soviet the first start-up when it became possible (without any experience or a real idea how to do it) moving to the USA… and working for a large corporation (without speaking English yet) starting a small company again (without any chance to apply previous experience to that new challenge."

"But the real challenge of my life is to utilize my previous experience again because company is 10 times bigger…and so is the recession," he adds.

He got the inspiration from one of the visionary books of Edward Yourdon published in 1993, which confirmed the idea of the business relaying on a highly distributed development team and the general possibility of it because the idea worked well for software grand leaders like SAP, Microsoft and PTC. This tennis and soccer lover believes business is all about managing time and opportunities. For him, anybody could be in the right place at the right moment, but it is even better to have business acumen and a lot of flexibility. The most important ingredient is the strong strive for achievements: if you are satisfied with the current state of things, you’ll never leap forward.