In Pritam’s own words
At the cost of being judged as a borderline self-professing narcissist, I intend to introduce you all to my short but eventful pre and post BIMM (Erstwhile IIMM) life. I am an Airforce officer’s kid, who like all other Fauji kids had the good fortune of living everywhere and belonging to nowhere (loved every bit of that). Predictably, like all other Fauji kids I too harbored the ambition to follow my father’s foot step and join the forces and I came real close to doing the same, having cleared the entrance for IMA (Dehradun); but life had other plans laid out for me. Graduation was bit of a kaleidoscopic experience from me, right from meeting the love of my life (my wife), to flying gliders , to making some lifelong friends… and yes, not to forget , just about managing to get a distinction in Economics. With parental pressure retiring my Army dream rather prematurely, I was like a rudderless boat with no clear directions as far my next career move went. Having missed my CAT deadline dates, I was left with only XAT (Xavier’s Entrance Test), which I cleared on my first attempt, but got stalled at the interviews. I had made up my mind to prepare and give CAT and XAT another shot, but then BIMM happened. With my then girlfriend (Now wife) having cleared SIMS, I just couldn’t wait for another year and lapped up the opportunity to move to Pune.
It’s said that “when in life you don’t have much, you make the most of what you have” and that quite sums up my experience in BIMM. We were new and we were desperate to prove how good we were to all other colleges (especially SIMS for me). What at that time in 2000-2002, we lacked in infrastructure and alumni network, we made up in our grit and determination. The fact that we had great faculty and an able mentor in the form of Bala sir, really helped the cause to scale to greater heights. While it’s tough to credit only a single professor for molding us into professionals, I cannot but forget the induction by Dilip Bam and the social entrepreneurship spark lit by the dynamic duo, Ghorpade and Kamath. I had the privilege of doing my summers and winters in two marque organizations like Citibank and Britannia, which staged me form a promising campus placement, but then 9/11, decided to take our careers down along with the WTC. None the less, during placement season I had two offers in my hand (Shobiz GP Johnson and APJ Group), one from campus and the other from off campus. I (And Nisha Amarnani, my fellow batch mate) decided to join our campus placements with Shobiz GP Johnson, one of the leading below the line advertising firms in the country at that time; the fact that on the first day of my job they asked me to attend Manish Malhotra’s fashion party event, which was swarming with Bollywood A-listers really helped me take the decision.
I had to move to Mumbai to join G P Johnson, which was a brutal orientation to the tough life in a big city, especially for a sheltered defense kid like me. None the less I reveled in the experience. GP Johnson was a brilliant experience for me, it was an organization that was buzzing with creativity, learning and opportunities. I was part of the client servicing team that managed accounts like HUL, BNP Paribas, Cadburys, IBM, etc. I had the distinct privilege of acquiring and managing few large relationships like Kirloskar, McDonalds, BNP Paribas and others for the company. Needless to say my efforts were recognized and I grew quite rapidly in the organization. Post Shobiz, I got an opportunity to make a tangential move into financial markets and the lure of an MNC Bank got the best of me, I joined Citibank as a relationship manager. The stint was short but the learning and training was great. I got exposed to various investment classes and core portfolio management techniques. From Citi, I got a great opportunity to join Kotak in a product profile, in the Financial Planning Group. During the selection process I met the then CEO for Kotak Securities, who seemed quite impressed with me and offered me the opportunity to set up the commodity derivative business for the group. Although I knew very little of this asset class, but the opportunity to work in a start-up and the cross functional learning associated with the same was incentive enough for me to take the plunge. The decision was a great one, I got to travel the length and breadth of the country and set up branch and franchisee business across geographies. The learning and cross departmental exposure was un-paralleled and by the age of 28 I was heading the retail business for the company. In the 11 years that I was associated with the group I got promoted 5 times. This was a greatly rewarding period from me from both professional and personal point of view. I had the privilege of being a part of the Kotak Star program, where a select few employee from the entire group were sponsored for a 2 year Executive course in portfolio management from IIM Bangalore. At the time I left Kotak, I was heading their entire corporate and branch business for West and South of India. In September last year I got an opportunity to join Reliance Capital as the Business Head for their Commodity and Currency business. The responsibility of running a company and reporting to the board is a completely different ball game, but the basic principle of ethics, hard work and looking for opportunities in problems has helped me greatly to deliver successfully. The journey from creative to complex commodity and currency derivatives has been really eventful and rewarding. I intend to turn into an entrepreneur in the future and help generate employment and opportunities in tier-2 cities of the country.
On a personal note, my better half is currently working as the Director Sales and Marketing with Taj Group of Hotels and is tirelessly working towards balancing her career ambitions and motherhood. We are blessed with two adorable kids (daughter and a son) who, in spite of their parents’ erratic work hours, have filled our lives with unconditional love and happiness. One is a budding ballerina and the other is an amateur footballer and gaming freak.
Enough has been said about work life balance, but there is no taking away the fact that one has to invest their initial years unequivocally to building their careers, but at one point one has to stand back and recognize what is important. I leave you with a quote “the unpredictability of the future means absolutely nothing to the dreams of an ambitious positive mind”. So be brave and chase opportunities.