Interview with Joydeep Sen
Corporate Trainer, Author, Columnist
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Q1. Please share your inspirational journey with us?
There was an expectation since childhood, be it from family or society or immediate neighbours, that I should “do well in life” in the conventional manner e.g. by becoming a doctor or engineer or CA. While these professions are good, it is about what an individual is good at and what s/he wants to do. This self-discovery is important because that is what you will do well, but that is what society will discourage you from. Having said that, I went the conventional way, did MBA and took up a job in 1991. However, the ‘keeda’ was there, and is still there. When I wrote an OPED piece in a leading newspaper while in my twenties, initially some people thought it was by another senior person with the same name. It was one of those ‘keeda’ to write in newspapers (which has become media now) and share my thoughts with people; nobody planted that idea in me. The next ‘keeda’ was about writing books, which people thought only a few specially talented people are capable of doing. And yes, I have written lyrics (the words of songs) for a well-known now-retired Bollywood hero.
After working for 25 years in the corporate life, also known as the corporate rate race, I left my cushy job in December 2016 and became a free bird since January 2017. Talking about writing in the media, while I have been writing for more than two decades now, I started counting since Jan 2017. I have done 255 articles till 4 December 2020 across publications like Mint, Moneycontrol, Financial Express, Cafemutual, ET Markets, The Hindu, Outlook Money, etc. I have written four books, three on finance and one generic.
Since 2017, as a freelancer, I have been doing trainings in debt markets / debt mutual funds, content writing for trainings, consultancy (retainer) jobs, etc. Currently I am earning less than my last salary at the MNC. However, I am giving back to society. As long as I can sustain myself and my family, the appreciation and well wishes from people I come in touch with, is worth giving up my job.
Q2. You had been working as a Research Analyst for many years. What is the main work of any Research Analyst?
The job of a research analyst is to not just understand the numbers and data or identify trends, but also to understand the undercurrent, connect the dots and foresee future possibilities. In equity analysis, the success of an analyst or fund manager is measured in terms of price movement of the stocks. For economists it is about the correctness of calls on economic variables.
Q3. How do you pick any topic for writing as an Author and which segment do you like most for writing?
There are two aspects to it, writing books and writing articles in the media. For writing books, it is about having a grasp on the subject and the absence of a book on that topic, or absence of a book on the way I want to present that topic. For writing articles, the world of finance is full of events on a daily basis. I have my thoughts on what is happening, on how people should look at something happening or how things should happen. I express these thoughts in writing, or sometimes on television.
Q4. What is the meaning of success in your terms?
Success is relative. Usually, people equate success with money or fame, but that is not everything. For a double amputee, moving around is success. For a disabled person, climbing Mount Everest is success. It is about what you want to do and what will give you satisfaction. Being the CEO of a large bank is success in conventional terms, but coming in the news for the wrong reasons, for wrongdoing during the tenure as CEO, is failure.
Q5. You are a Corporate Trainer, Author and many more. How do you play multiple roles simultaneously in your life?
It’s all in the mind. If you are sure you want to do something, you focus on it, be it one thing or ten things or three things. People talk of time management, which is relevant. But time management is about the execution. It happens in your mind first. Take sportspersons as an example. Let’s say Sachin for cricket or a great footballer for strategy on the field. For Sachin, batting is the execution, but before that, he would have thought through what he wants to do, how he intends to face the bowlers. A great footballer, while tackling opponents, thinks of hundreds of possibilities on where the ball can be pushed, what move the other guy can make. Similarly, you have to process your roles and potential scenarios in your head. Scientists say we use only 10% of our brain.
Q6. You had both research and management experience in your long span of career. Which one do you like most and why?
The roles are different, not comparable. Research gives you the satisfaction, if you are able to spot a trend, that you read it correctly. Management is about doing something i.e. execution, which may lead to a positive or favourable outcome.
Q7. What kind of problems have you faced in your Industry and how did you remove it?
Someone said, there are no problems in working life, there are situations to be tackled. Let me give the answer in a different way: the macro problem I see as a finance professional is that public at large, who invest in financial products, do not know what is good for them. The bigger issue is, people do not even want to know what is good for them, they want short cuts / tips – the get rich quick syndrome. It has not been removed, it would take a long, long time till people realize money is not easy, it requires a proper approach.
Q8. Covid has destroyed the financial market all over the world. How do you see the financial market after Post Covid and how much time it takes to recover?
Covid has not destroyed the financial world. Growth has slowed down, but the structure of the financial market remains same as earlier. The problem is that central banks all over are pumping in huge amounts of money, expecting this to pump up the economy. This is not helping. Overdose of a medicine does not help – It has been happening since the global financial crisis of 2008. Central banks are doing it because this is the only known medicine in challenging times. Exit from this emergency easy liquidity situation will take a long time. Asset prices all over the world has been distorted and may be distorted more.
Q9. Which one thing do you want to change in yourself and why?
In hindsight, I should have given up my corporate job earlier, as I was not adding value to myself or to society, just doing my job for the sake of the monthly paycheck.