The speaker series for the academic year was inaugurated by Mr. Vijay Karnani, Co-CEO of Goldman Sachs, India. His agenda was to introduce us to the “Fundamentals of Investment Banking”. To start with he broke down the institutional structure that generally investment banks have, which includes Investment Research, Securities, Asset management, Operations and Tech and Alternative Assets. Apart from this, bankers role in the industry is divided into Advisory and Investing role as per demand. He highlighted the skills and competencies that each role requires. One very interesting insight that he propounded on, was that, understanding the structure and workings of the world of Banking was not an arduous or a herculean challenge. The challenge, however lay in staying in constant awareness and evolving as bankers in the dynamic and ever changing world of Finance and Economics . He also emphasized the importance of personality traits that the industry demands, from risk taking and decision making at one end to having a sharp intellect and analytical abilities at the other end.
When asked about his personal journey of growing in this industry, he highlighted the highly demanding nature of the job, but at the same time emphasizing on the fact that bankers, even as freshers are given high degree of autonomy and freedom in handling positions of high responsibility. He narrated an anecdote where he had almost come close to clocking 168 hours at work, that is the total number of hours there is in a week. We were left fascinated by his motivation and dedication towards his profession.
In the end, when asked about his views regarding the present state of the Indian Economy and his personal take on the financial markets itself, he wonderfully summarized his insights about various reforms taken and the ones desired, the underlying strategy of the government policies and its strengths and weaknesses and the way ahead for the Indian Economy. The overall interaction turned out to be very stimulating and gave us an unique opportunity to delve into the life and work of an Investment Banker.