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Meet the woman dominating the male-dominated Investment Industry

Radhika is a Vice President at Bain Capital, and stands out as a formidable woman leader in this male dominated Finance Industry

A true Mumbaikar, Radhika Subramanian, aptly describes herself as an oxymoron. She is fiercely ambitious and still fun loving; born with an analytical mind and is yet a very creative person; admits to being extremely sensitive but also immensely strong. And the more we speak to her, the more we are able to uncover each of these different facets of her extraordinary personality.

What stands out most for us in Radhika’s story, is her ability to drown out the noise around her and focus on what she truly wants. This confidence is what led her to take a leap of faith into the male-dominated field of private equity, despite the doubts raised around her about how women cannot prosper in these fields due to a lack of work-life balance, women safety given the hours, and other such fairly valid concerns. And we are proud to report that Radhika not only took the plunge and survived but in fact, has thrived.

Evidently, thriving in a competitive environment like Radhika’s, has only been possible as she has always set expectations straight. And what is important to note here is that expectations need to be set straight everywhere, not just in the office. At work, she made it clear that she will take vacations to satisfy the travel bug in her and she is not shy of being among the few who takes the most vacations in the organisation. And at home, she has consistently been absolutely clear with her partner about her ambitions and her lack of talent in the kitchen and he has thus been able to support her choice which has even extended into support from her in-laws, who they live with. And thus, her story is once again proof that women can prosper with the right support system. In fact, as she articulates so well, women can even ‘have it all’ but we need to lose this pressure of trying to have it all, all by ourselves. We need the support, just like men always have! And even if we are able to do things without the support, having it just ensures we are a lot happier doing it which is the whole point of life, after all.

No matter how far one comes though, there is always a work in progress side to each of us and it was easy for us to dive into this aspect with Radhika as she is someone who is quick to self-reflect and lays a lot of emphasis on personal growth. We speak of negotiation and she is quick to admit that it doesn’t come naturally to her and she does think it is tougher for women. She has had a fairly structured promotion process so far but is aware of the need to hone her negotiation skills as she moves further up the ladder. She shares her recent experience of negotiating a work stint in London for herself for six months which took a lot of effort and what helped her apart from her husband’s push, was having a mentor within the organisation to serve as her sounding board. This is definitely something she recommends to young woman in large organisations.

Apart from negotiation, Radhika also shares with us her struggle to say no and boy, don’t we relate! She even gets candid about not having figured out the balance between a demanding career and having children. What she thinks will help make this possible for women in her position though is organisations creating an environment to meet these requirements with flexible work hours, alternate career paths, day care or whatever else it takes and she adds that it’s heartening to see that some companies are already leading the way here which gives her hope for the future. It is no doubt that the University topper, holder of the All India Rank 4 title in Chartered Accountancy and Vice President at Bain Capital, has an impressive resume but she sheds light on how you can lean on those titles only at the beginning of your career but after that you will only flourish if you are able to simply prove the value you bring to the table. As she rightly says, after a point, no one cares about how smart you are on paper, they care about how you can work efficiently with a team and deliver results. Turns out, that’s what it comes down – knowing what you want, asking for it and then delivering on it. Or in her words – ‘Ask and it shall be given’.

More power!

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