Shreeranganath Kulkarni’s father worked in customs and excise and had “42 transfers in the span of 28 years”. This was the reason behind his family changing the location very often. However, most of his childhood took place in Dharwad, Karnataka. “This is the kind of place where 5 prominent classical Indian singers like Bhinsen Joshi and others come from. It is a place of cultural heritage where I grew up.”, he added.
Most of his schooling was done at local schools, the very same ones his father passed out of. Further, Kulkarni pursued his engineering (Chemical) at Karnataka University. Going down the line, he completed his Post Graduate and Diploma degrees from IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) while working at the same time.
His family comes from a service-based industry. Initially, his father was in the army, then later he joined the customs and excise department, while his mother was a homemaker. His uncle was in the same services industry but then later moved to state transport as head of stores for Karnataka.
Kulkarni’s first job was at Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO). During his time it belonged to the public sector. He mentioned that the selection criteria were fairly difficult as they could only select 20 candidates across the country, and Kulkarni was one of them. “While I had opportunities in Mumbai and other places, but since here I represented the best out of 20, I moved on to there (IFFCO) as a chemical engineer”, he said.
During his time in the late 80s, there was a rush to blend IT into every company. “From the 20, they selected two of us and asked ‘can you move to IT?’, that is how I got embedded into IT and it became my whole career. Initial 4-5 months were in the chemical industry. That was my first job”, Kulkarni worked there for a few years and then moved to another company called Mastek Ltd, which was into ERP, solutions, and businesses.
“It was a small company earlier, with only 1000 people. Being a small company, people knew who the promoters were, who the CEO was, just a few locations”, he exclaimed. After that, he joined Infosys as a project manager and later became the Divisional Manager and Development Center Head of Pune. That company helped him to scale a 40-50 member team to a 2000 plus one. He then left Infosys and joined Cognizant as a Center head (Pune) and managed the largest relationship during his time. He mentions how it was all about focusing on the customers and that all other aspects of the company, be it R&D or sales, will fall into place only when the focus is set on the customers. From there, he moved to Accenture, which was a “truly global, multicultural organization”.
Currently, Kulkarni is part of Birlasoft as a Chief Delivery Officer where he is responsible for global delivery, global operations, and enabling functions.