Conduct your career like a stock and not a bond: Radhika Gupta

Adgully hosted its Women Disruptors Summit on March 4, 2021, attended by the most influential women leaders in business. The very inspirational opening keynote address was delivered by Radhika Gupta, MD & CEO of Edelweiss Asset Management Company. Gupta began her career at McKinsey & Company. Later, she joined AQR Capital as a hedge fund manager. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, she came to Mumbai and launched Forefront Capital, which was acquired by Edelweiss. She was selected as LinkedIn’s Top Voices of 2020 and is a writer, storyteller, TEDx and Josh Talks speaker in her spare time.

Edited Excerpts…

Thank you, Adgully, for having me here and celebrating an industry which is completely different from mine. I have to say that when I had become a CEO of this business 3-4 years ago, I had not come from a marketing or sales background. There was a lot of debate about who would become the CEO of the Mutual Fund business then, and because I was reasonably young in this business I was not the frontrunner candidate. One of the reasons I was not a popular candidate was also because I didn’t know sales and marketing, especially marketing, and our business is a consumer facing business. Sitting here and addressing Adgully’s Women Disruptors platform, which is a premier advertising and marketing audience, makes me feel that your biggest limitations sometimes are not such big limitations.

I think there has been enough talk about the challenges that women face. I want to leave those who are listening to me with five pieces of advice. The advice is inspired from my own industry, which is financial services and money management. Both career and money are businesses of behaviour and money has a lot to teach us about how we can conduct our career as women.

The first thing I want to tell you is the importance of taking risk. All of us are brought up with the words “settle down”. I believe as women we should challenge the word “settle” and really learn to take risks in our careers and in our lives. I remember moving back to India when I was 24 to start Forefront Capital and it was a crazy idea then to begin a start-up when you had just survived the 2008 crisis on Wall Street. Reflecting on it 10 years later, I always say that young blood is hungry and foolish, but you have to take those extraordinary and disproportional bets in your career.

Even if you don’t know anything about money, you may know that finance is built on two fundamental instruments – stocks and bonds. Bonds are like deposits. They are very safe instruments. You know what you’re going to get every month. There’s no real risk.

Stocks are stories of companies. They move up and down. Nobody writes great stories about the wealth that a bond creates; great stories are always written about stocks. And I think we should conduct our career like a stock and not a bond.

Watch the full session below.



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