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Insights from Joao Pinto, Head of Strategy for BAI Group

by Joao Pinto

25 February 2022

This month’s insights from our leaders around the world comes from Joao Pinto, Head of Strategy for BAI Group. Joao’s role involves helping markets define and execute on their growth strategy, supporting inorganic opportunities and looking into new opportunities beyond our current footprint. Before joining BAI, he worked for McKinsey & Company.

What’s the most important development happening in our industry and what does that mean for business?

Many important developments are happening in the industry, including 5G, data consumption, private networks, spectrum…the list goes on and on and they are all very important but the one that ranks highest for me is the increasing openness of mobile operators in network sharing.

I believe that network is becoming a commodity and people expect connectivity all the time, everywhere, from any operator. At BAI we can have a role helping people have great connectivity and helping MNOs do this in a cost efficient way. In my opinion, this is a win-win-win relationship: mobile operators win, BAI wins and transit authorities/venue owners win (equipment manufacturers might not love it, but not everyone can win!).

What inspires you most in the work that you do?

This is a bit of a clichéd answer but after my two children, Beatriz and Gustavo, two things get me out of bed every day: people and growth.

Firstly, we have brilliant people across the BAI Group and my role gives me the opportunity to see that first hand. I really enjoy the opportunity to speak and work with people on real cross-functional projects across the world and across different functions.

Secondly, we are growing fast and I don’t see us slowing down. All businesses have ambitious growth plans that are complemented by inorganic opportunities, and from year to year we seem to find further opportunities to grow. I am excited to be part of the journey.

What is a technique you use to be more effective in your work?

At the moment I am going into the office more often in order to be more effective. I have, in my unbiased view, a very cute 6-month-old baby at home and if I work from home I have more frequent pauses to hold her. I try to always be efficient because I have ‘hard stops’ to do household activities – such as picking up the kids, dinner, bath, bedtime story, etc. However, the reality is that what drives my efficiency and effectiveness tends to be the workload – pressure pushes me to be more efficient.

What’s one of the ongoing challenges you face at work and how do you manage it?

Similarly to the previous question, one of the challenges that we all have is finding a healthy balance of personal and professional life. I want to be successful in both and that is, at times, a challenge. I find it difficult to say to anyone that I don’t have more time to offer, or to be less involved in some projects that I would like to be involved in. Everyone across BAI has been very supportive and helpful to make this balance work.

What is your advice for proactively managing your career?

I’m not sure I have any great career advice! It took me almost two years to change jobs because I was always busy going from project to project. I tend to focus on deliverables that I have at hand and most of the time they keep me quite busy so I don’t have much free time to think about what I want to do. I have, however, been lucky enough to have some great people around me who have actively helped in managing my career, including at BAI.

Who has been the greatest influence on your career and why?

It is hard to call out a single influence on my career. For many years now I have been working on short-term 3-6 month projects, with different partners, teams and clients and it is hard to narrow these down to one or two because I can quickly think of 10 or 15 people who have had a great influence on my career.

If I had to pick one, it would be one of my uncles who told me that I should check out McKinsey & Company for a first job after university. At the time I wasn’t sure who they were and, like many engineers, had always expected to go to a tech company or a telco. Choosing that path ended up opening up lots of doors for me, particularly the opportunity to work in different companies, across countries and with lots of different people.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

My master thesis was developing an application to estimate coverage for Multilateral Location Systems (MLAT), which is one of the technologies to monitor air traffic. What my code had to do was to assess where the receiving sensors should be to get good coverage in the Portuguese airspace. Not necessarily a complex algorithm, it would need to take into consideration land profiles around the antennas and flight altitudes because the curvature of the Earth affects line of sight.

It might sound complex but I believe that what our engineering teams do on a day-to-day basis is a hundred times more complex than this because of all the different elements that they have to take into consideration (interference, obstruction, demand, etc).

Joao Pinto - 5G Realised

João Pinto

Head of Strategy, BAI Communications

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