Today, she sits in the boardrooms of Ashok Leyland, Mindtree, and French energy company TechnipFMC as an independent director. She is behind one of the biggest deals in the Mergers and Acquisitions segment with deals like Bharti Airtel’s African towers sale as well as UltraTech Cement’s acquisitions of Jaiprakash Associates Ltd’s cement assets.
This is the story of Manisha Girotra, a girl brought up in silent hills of Shimla who is making a huge mark on the business map of the country. After getting a post-graduate degree from Delhi School of Economics, where she was awarded the gold medal, she was among a group of 50 that Grindlays Bank had freshly hired. What more? She was absorbed in their investment banking division.
Manisha’s first job was to make stock statements of companies and for her second job she doubled as pizza delivery girl. At first, she was disinterested but later she fell in love with her job. After working at Gringlay’s for a few more years, she joined UBS where she spent next 20 years of her life, eventually leaving the company as the CEO.
She became the CEO of the company when she was just 33-year-old. She says, “Besides my upbringing – where even securing second in class called for deep introspection, I feel I reached this level because I had consistency. I built relationships and I kept going, while never taking breaks.”
As to her secret, she says is about hanging in there being, persistent. She negates the perception that woman are ill-suited for board rooms for that she says that women are much more capable of handling sensitive conversations and are most of the time much more loyal to the company. She says, “As women, you tend to get fiercely loyal to your employers because our jobs and companies become extensions of our lives.”
When she joined Moelis she had to start from the scratch, she setup Moelis India and headed the entity’s India operations (Moelis a New York based firm). After heading a company of 15,000 employees things weren’t easy as the financial market was going through a bad time and banks were facing difficulty in adjusting with the changing times. It is here when she, with her determination and skills, steered Moelis to becoming one of India’s top 10 M&A firms.
She about the present situation of women in work places says, “The new sectors are so programmed to women – whether it’s IT, journalism, banking, retail, these are skewed towards women as employees, which is great, because we have higher EQ as well as IQ. But, structurally, the world is not used to women being on top. So, you’re still dealing with biases in your own home – where you struggle to find acceptance that you are as much of a breadwinner as a man.”
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