Bombay dreams that came true for a young investment banker from IMT Nagpur
Every once in a while, Shikhar Prabhaker does not mind patting his own back; it's probably what keeps him going.
A product of the first batch of IMT Nagpur, Shikhar is a role model for many of the youngsters from his alma mater. To them, his story is what Hollywood blockbusters are made of; a young, well-to-do, investment banker living the fast life in the corporate lanes of Mumbai seems like the culmination of a dream to most of them. But Shikhar feels that it takes more than just good financial skills to have 'Vice President, Securities, Morgan Stanley' on your visiting card.
"Morgan Stanley, being a global franchise, does have a credit policy that is bound to be a little more stringent as compared to a domestic player. As it is a professionally managed company, everybody needs to take care of their own jobs and profile. At times, this is very challenging because you yourself are responsible for any actions that you take, unlike a domestic firm where there is an owner and a promoter with whom lies the ultimate authority to make decisions."
Apart from the ability to take very level-headed decisions very early in life, Shikhar has the uncanny knack of connectivity - connectivity with his clients and connectivity in the market-place.
"Your market intelligence always has to be well thought out, essentially to safeguard your clients from any potential danger. Deliver the best servicing possible and always be available to your clients - that is how you grow the business and grow yourself. The key is to put your clients ahead of everything. I've always worked on the premise that you need to think like an owner of the company while doing any job."
It is one of the major reasons why he is a VP in a global franchise like Morgan Stanley barely 6 years out of IMT Nagpur. Shikhar has a deep sense of ownership for IMT Nagpur, which is but natural for someone who belongs to its first batch. He believes he owes a lot to IMT Nagpur.
"I started off as a Relationship Manager - Capital Market Group at Birla Global Finance Ltd., before moving as AVP, Capital Markets at Indiabulls Financial Services. Now I've been with Morgan Stanley for the last one and a half years. My professional journey has been really good and interesting, since I've always wanted to be a part of business affairs. My colleagues at Morgan Stanley are among the most friendly and social people in the country's corporate sector."
He points out that things haven't been great of late; especially with the panic in the market, things tend to become extremely challenging and stressful.
"However, I see it as a way of keeping you motivated - take care of the capital, and protect the clients as well as the firm. Such a situation comes once in a while, but it's a challenge. We've had a major slowdown globally and in India, especially post 2011. Things are pretty bad and slow. The placement scenario is not that encouraging either. One has to be really patient, consistent and constantly strive for growth as there is a lot of pressure and a lot of disappointment. You just need to excel in what you do and then success is all yours."
Shikhar advises his juniors in IMT Nagpur to be self-motivated all the time, and look at a career and not just the pay package. He believes that while at B school, one has to take a close, hard look at what one really wants. "There are more people than jobs available as of now. In private banking and stock markets, you'll face ups and downs, but good skills are always wanted and they always have their place. Expectations are being built too soon and fast without thinking about the situation, so I would suggest not being extremely choosy about things; make a start somewhere and then make your way up by being good, creating networks, and adding soft and professional skills to your profile."
Shikhar believes that the current market scenario doesn't allow space for aspirations but if one knows how to aspire correctly and timely, one would achieve it. However, he hopes to make IMT Nagpur even more proud by growing in his own space, possibly handling the business at a much more advanced level 5 years down the line.