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IQ EQ & DQ – the trinity women posses

Lakshmi Iyer, President, and CIO – Debt & Head – Products at Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company says women should grab opportunities with both hands and invoke their IQ, EQ, and DQ ‘astras’ and brave the work world:

Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company started operations in December 1998 and has approximately 7.4 million investors in various schemes. The company offers schemes to investors, who have varying risk-return profiles. It is present in 82 cities and has 85 branches. Lakshmi Iyer heads fixed income and products team and has been with the organization for over 20 years. Starting as a fund manager, she was responsible for credit research, deal execution, managing fund performance across all debt funds and assisting sales in client interaction. In addition, she has been a portfolio specialist and managed product related initiatives such as product pricing and coordination with the fund management and sales team. Prior to joining Kotak Group, she has worked with Credence Analytics. She is a MBA in Finance from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies. She loves exploring new places, is a big food lover and an ardent movie buff.


The year 2020 was one of its kind that mankind has seen – a pandemic gripped the world and one’s own abode became the only place to hide for quite some time. Self-sufficiency and DIY culture stepped in and a whole new virtual world assumed significance. Lakshmi Iyer, defines the situation with an anecdote: “The picture below was tweeted by Anand Mahindra a couple of years ago, saluting every working woman and acknowledging that their success has required much more effort than their male counterparts! This got further entrenched during the pandemic phase as work from home (WFH) became the norm for most of us. Not only did the working woman plan her workday, she also had to ensure the household chores like cooking, baby-sitting, etc, were carried out with the same intensity. Women do tend to be multi-taskers. Born as a daughter, they morph into a wife’s role and shift locations, identity (change of surname) etc, assume motherhood too, yet continue to focus on their profession as well.”


The pandemic has accentuated the pace of some developments, which would otherwise have been a few years away. Be it financial services or manufacturing, the need for digitization has certainly been pronounced. Lakshmi observes that there is a good combination of IQ (intellectual quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient) that women tend to possess, which helps them toggle between roles effectively. “The pandemic has seen the need for upping ones DQ (digital quotient) as well. Here again, we have seen women rise to the occasion – be it in frontline roles or as support roles. This phase has, in some sense, highlighted the difference between the proactive and reactive. Women tend to have strong intuitions, which could enable her to be a tad more proactive,” she adds.

India ranks third in the world for women working in senior management positions, according to the Women in Business 2021 report by global accounting and consulting firm Grant Thornton. The percentage of women in senior management in the country stood at 39%, as against the global average of 31%, according to the study. Says Lakshmi: “This is a good change in mindset as far as achieving gender parity is concerned. But, when it comes to financial services, the number would be much lower. We have seen women participation increase only over the past few years – though there is still scope for further increase. In this realm, it is more like an inverted funnel – broad at the base and narrower at the top. Apprehension of what’s in store for them in the financial maze leads to exclusion by choice at most times. In some cases, the enthusiasm fails to sustain as one moves higher in the organizational structure and thus, we see brain drain.

Lakshmi points out that the pandemic has legitimized the WFH culture, which in normal times would have been considered ‘not happening’. There are hybrid variants of working too that have been devised by various organizations. She insists: “Women should grab such opportunities with both hands and invoke their IQ EQ and DQ ‘astras’ and brave the work world. Chak de ladies! Cheers to Womanhood.”

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