Tell us about your first job.
In 1978, when I was in college I met a product manager from a German Agrochemical company who was trying to promote a crop pesticide in Gujarat. He used to explain to farmers in Gujarati about the benefits of pesticides using a German audio-visual film with English sub titles!
I took his 16mm film, found a film editing studio, a Gujarati translator and a voice artist to dub the film in Gujarati at a small cost. This encouraged me to start on my own.
Share with us the first sales experience of your life.
Back then in 1995, I headed a sales team during an NFO of GIC Mutual Fund Fortune 95 Fund. I remember that NFOs were sold like IPOs those days. We collected Rs.320 crore which was a very big sum those days!
Tell us about your mentor. What are the important lessons that you learned from him/her?
Many professionals have inspired me throughout my professional life. Here is the list:
- Sylvie daCunha, the creator of Amul Girl and Amul Butter campaign
- Bharat Dabholkar who has mastered the art of entertaining in Hinglish
- Ravi Gupta, the founder of ad agency Trikaya Grey
- Mike Khanna of HTA (now known as JWT)
- Hemendra Kothari for inspiring me to join capital markets
- M Damodaran, the corporate advisor
- Aroon Purie who is the most respected name in journalism and
- Anand Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra Group.
Each one has been an inspiration to do better at work.
What makes the mutual fund industry an exciting industry to work in?
There is a lot to be done here! Even after 25 years, I can say that the mutual fund industry is still very underpenetrated and we have a long way to go.
Where do you see the Indian MF industry five years from now?
I believe that we can be around a Rs.100 lakh crore industry in 2025.
Between a well-paying job and interesting job (which pays less), what will you choose and why?
Isn’t that a rhetoric question? After 15 years of work, I realize that money is just the lubricant of life. It cannot be a goal. Goals are made of more important things. Honestly, work and jobs are also not goals.
What keeps you motivated?
Enjoying what I do at work and working with the team. The day the ‘fun’ goes out the work, my motivation drops below zero.
How and where do you invest your money?
Is that a trick question? I am a great believer in equities. Either via mutual funds or directly. That’s where I invest my savings.
Can you recommend a book to our readers that has inspired you?
“How Will You Measure Your Life” by Clayton Christensen.
What cause you support?
Protection of wildlife is very close to my heart as a cause. Implicit in protection of wildlife is protection for trees, air quality, water and therefore human life itself!
What is your favourite past time?
Wildlife tours and theatre.