Data Analysis: Risk Mitigation in Financial Investments – A Primer

I was recently invited by the Shailesh J Mehta School of Management (SJMSOM), IIT (Indian Institutes of Technology) Bombay to address the incoming class of students. The topic I had been handed was, Data Analytics – Risk Mitigation in Financial Investments.

What a wonderful and fulfilling experience it was! Why? Simply because I have nurtured this keen desire to impart my personal and professional knowledge and experience to the kids who are about to venture into the real world.

What better way to initiate this desire, than to give my maiden lecture to the students at this august body.

Now, I have done quite a few speaking engagements throughout my life, starting off at school in India and the US, during my years in finance, during my years in technology, but at an institution of this stature, this is a first.

I came away with a deep sense of awe and appreciation of the nature of the engagement, right from the initial invitation mail, to the coordination, to the follow-up, and then on the day of the actual engagement itself.

I came away very impressed with the facilities (world standard), the location (few like this), on the banks of the Powai Lake, the rapt attention and deep respect from the coordinators and students. The welcome, right from the main gate of the 500+ acre complex, to the meet and greet, the escorting to waiting area, to the refreshments, to the attitude of the coordinators, to the students, to the facilities (IT, audio-visual, etc).


I had best say I’m a huge fan.

I was honored to be part of a group of really successful professionals that I had opportunity to rub shoulders with.

I had been given an hour for the presentation and for the Q&A session. The past few days have had their share of uncertainties, and therefore I had no opportunity whatsoever to work on the content, and even think about what I would present.

The night before, realization strikes and I go like, heyyyy, isn’t that presentation tomorrow at 11 am? Having to leave the house at least an hour before would mean that I didn’t have much time to prepare.

Typically I would have spoken to them and ascertained their expectations but that had not happened, and so essentially I would be “winging it”.

The subject matter itself, was not really a problem, as this is something in have running through my veins, due to the fact that I have a wealth of first hand experience in market investments, wealth management, risk management, treasury and trading, and so I could essentially have gone in devoid of any preparation.

I then thought to myself, these are pretty much kids, and though their curriculum would cover this as subject mater, they are probably looking to hear from someone who has lived this life first hand. That I had, right from my days in the financial markets, to my days as CFO, to my days as Head of Product Strategy for Treasury and Risk Management, to my days in HSBC in global outsourcing, to my current stint is Global Delivery and Global Operations.

What I needed was talking points, and so that’s what I did. Put together a presentation with my talking points. The putting down of talking points was easy, but knitting together a story was time-consuming, and after a couple of rounds of iteration, I was done.

I finally slept at 5 am, and was up by 7 am, to give it the final once over. I left home at about 9.30 am, stopped off at Starbucks for my customary morning triple espresso, which is when I got a call from one of the coordinators, asking if I could come in a tad early, since one of the speakers had bailed (probably didn’t prepare or left it too late), I’m guessing.

So I got moving, and as I had the coordinator on the phone, I asked the size of the audience, and was told it’s just over a hundred students. So it seemed that this was going to be interactive, and that this would be more a conceptual presentation, rather than something one would do to a focussed group.

I arrived around 10.45 am, and was warmly greeted, taken to a reception area, where beverages and snacks were at hand. I was then introduced to their Professor, and in a few minutes we were whisked to the auditorium.

Now this was well-appointed, maintained, and had the required presentation equipment. I’m hooked up with the wireless mic, and that was great since my presentation style is interactive…. I walk around, make eye contact, and in general engage well with the audience, who is about to be subjected to my delivery.

The usual welcome note, the customary bouquet of flowers, and I’m on deck.

The presentation went well (I think), and I took the approach of building up from the very basics to the topic I had been handed. I guess I will know soon enough, as they have threatened me with a post delivery feedback, so I will be honest and update this as may become necessary. Sumir, you were pathetic! Nooooo, horrors!


There was one more presentation after the one I made, and once that was done we were driven to the lake view guest house, for a buffet lunch. Now this guest house, called Jalvihar Guest House, does absolute justice to its name. Fantastic views of the lake, and superb facilities.

There were other presentations through the day, other speakers from Amazon, Microsoft, and other really well-known names, but apart from meeting a couple of them over lunch I had to leave, since I had another appointment.

As we headed back to the B School complex, I had the opportunity to walk through the foyer and observe some other events, exhibits, and was delighted by the buzz and super positive energy that flowed through the place.

Finally I called a cab and left, to my subsequent engagement, but not before expressing a desire to be associated, on an ongoing basis with the school. I really would welcome and indeed look forward to such fulfilling engagements.

The feedback from the student body was nothing but encouraging.

SJMSOM Feedback 1

SJMSOM Feedback 2

For those interested here is the presentation, with the voice over. Data Analytics: Risk Mitigation in Financial Investments – A Primer

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