Q: What was the problem you were grappling with?
A: I had been approached to take over as the Non-Executive Chairperson of Dena Bank, a reputed public sector bank, but which was under stress at that time with NPAs, and was placed under the PCA by the RBI. I had not been in the public sector before, my prior experience having been in consulting and private equity with McKinsey, Spencer Stuart, and TPG. I was in a similar dilemma recently, when I was exploring whether to take on a senior industry role or embark on an entrepreneurial journey.
Q: Who did you approach and why?
A: I spoke to some of my closest mentors, including Deepak Parekh, who advised me that I had the experience and leadership skills to guide the institution during a difficult period. I also consulted Adil Zainulbhai, former McKinsey Chairman and my senior colleague, and now Chairman, QCI. Adil guided me on how to engage effectively in the Dena Bank role and in general with policymakers. It gave me confidence to take on the challenge. To seek advice for my current entrepreneurial journey, I reached out to my long-time friend Uday Kotak.
Q: What was the best advice you ever received?
A: Uday Kotaks advice was to see how I can combine all my strengths and interests and create something that is of high impact - my strategy experience of McKinsey, investing knowledge of TPG, with my deep understanding of people and interest in creating impact. That plus my significant experience with corporate India as a board member gave an understanding of how to build scale.
Q: How effective was it in resolving your problem?
A: Adil's guidance on Dena Bank gave me the confidence to make a difference and serve the country, while striding ahead as a professional. Udays advice helped to get clarity about the entrepreneurial journey. The outcome of his advice was Avaana, an innovation to impact investment platform, which we launched in 2018.