“When you aim for the stars, you will get halfway there!” That’s from a poster in one of the new Shark’s rooms, who is set to be a part of the newest season of Shark Tank India. She ran the race and aspired high, and always added meaning to her journey. For her, big or small is a mindset and what she chose to do with it can be seen in everything. And on March 14, she will be joining us for the first time ever at People Matters TechHR Pulse Mumbai where she will highlight her journey ‘Beyond Boardroom: Steering Innovation, Tech and Business Excellence’.
In a business landscape, where chasing success is the only goal each of us aspires towards, old and young, Radhika Gupta, MD and CEO of Edelweiss Mutual Fund has a unique proposition. She explains that our biggest asset is our inherent talent. “Each one of us needs to maximise the potential of this asset to live as a version of ourselves that is free of self-doubt and limitations. Serious and mindful investment in your talent and abilities will create more wealth for you in the long run than any stock, bond or financial instrument.”
For Gupta, who has steered Edelweiss MF Assets Under Management (AUM) from ₹6500 crore (as on March 2017) to an astounding ₹1.20 lakh crore (as on 31st December 2023), you would assume that she must have had success in every sphere of her life. But that wasn’t always the case. During her college days at UPenn, she was a member of the most prestigious joint-degree programme (M&T), the top student who even cracked an internship at Microsoft but was rejected by seven companies in the final year. She shares, “No is hard to hear, but hear it you will, especially if you have aspirations and ambitions. But that shouldn’t stop you from wanting or trying to do more and better.”
The eighth offer from McKinsey was a consulting job and after two years, she shifted to AQR Capital Management where she grew the ranks to become a fund manager. It is here that she imbibed the principles of quantitative investing on which her startup, Forefront Capital Management was built. She could have had the conventional career but she decided to pursue the unconventional. “Do not chase a single door - rather, hope for a few different doors to open, knowing that whichever one you walk into will lead to a meaningful opportunity, if you choose to make it one.”
As a risk-taker, who left her New York life to start anew in India, the entrepreneur iterates that to embark on a startup journey, you need to assess the downsides sensibly. For all those afraid to disrupt their lives by taking risks, she highlights that in aspiring for and collecting pedigree, do not let yourself become imprisoned by it.
As a young business leader in the asset management industry, where age is equated with wisdom, it was an uphill struggle. In the early years, feedback was constant. Her advice to those tackling these crucial moments as young and emerging leaders is: Tough criticism from the right person is a friend request you should not ignore. And if you need to differentiate criticism for the sake of it and critical feedback, the former will be malicious while the latter will be thought through and actionable.
Today, as the CEO at Edelweiss Mutual Fund, she is doing a job that she loves. But finding this spot came with trysts with rejection, a whole lot of confusion and a decade of carving a career. She ardently believes that careers are a combination of ‘choices and chances.’ If you are open about your destination, remember that the dots will connect, sometimes even conspire to make you succeed - just as long as you don’t stop walking.
When the going gets tough, especially in the uncertain times, good leaders never run away from chaos because it brings their courage, their attitude and their chutzpah to the fore. For those looking to earn their seats at the table, Gupta believes it all starts with aspiring for it. And throughout her journey, collecting experiences has always kept the business interesting for her.
As the future of work evolves and adaptable leaders are forever in demand, Gupta informs how this essential trait is strengthened by owning your new surroundings and doing so with a generous dose of optimism and humility. “Take the time to find your feet because in the end, your learnability be your superpower.”
It is known that ‘life is lonely at the top’, but the new mom advises leaders not to fall for it and seek help at every turn as the new world is built on the coexistence of aggression in business and compassion for people. In the end, “life doesn’t give you extra credit for doing it all yourself.”
If you are eager to meet the entrepreneur turned MD & CEO, Radhika Gupta, one of India’s young and dynamic business leaders who has told her story, and told that with conviction and believes that she won’t stop telling it, join us at People Matters TechHR Pulse Mumbai on March 14 at Grand Hyatt for an insightful fireside chat. Register Now!
(The excerpts are collected from Radhika Gupta’s recently released book, Limitless: The Power of Unlocking Your True Potential.)