Venukumar Karunakaran

Tell us about your current role and designation at Mirae Asset Global Investments (India) Pvt Ltd.

Mirae Asset Global Investments (India) Pvt. Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mirae Asset Financial Group headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. Globally, the diversified businesses of Mirae Asset Financial Group offer a range of services, including asset management, life insurance, securities and capital and venture investments. Mirae Asset Global Investments (India) Pvt. Ltd. is an emerging player in the asset management (mutual fund) business.

I am responsible and accountable for business from the IFA (Independent Financial Advisor's Channel) for the region of Karnataka. I work in the capacity of manager of sales reporting to the regional head of Karnataka and Goa.

Describe a typical day at work.

A typical day for me begins with reading all available news about the mutual fund industry and then any opinion available on the OUTLOOK for stock markets, any news from the Security and Exchange Board of India on mutual funds and understanding the reports sent by our HO (Head Office) on our fund performances. I have created Google alerts on key words which help me do this.

I then call up advisors who work with us and seek appointments for the day so that I can meet them and discuss the performance of our products and share views of our fund managers. During the course of discussion, I would also seek support from them to position our products to be a part of their client's portfolio. On average, I'd meet about 4-5 advisors and discuss our products with them.

I come back to office at about 5 p.m. and send reports about my visits to the advisors and also keep my superiors informed of any activity that has been planned with the advisors or in case any other support is required from HO to convince the advisors on the merit of promoting our schemes.

Please share with us three things you like and dislike about your job.

I dreamt of joining this industry after my two months of summer internship at Prudential ICICI Asset Management Co. in 2005. I was fortunate enough to get my first job at Principal Mutual Funds in the same industry that I dreamt of. Hence I am happy with all aspects of my job (except for remuneration which never seems to be enough LOL.)

The area of concern would be the lack of awareness among the common households about mutual funds as a mean of investment and the time lag between efforts in promoting a scheme and the scheme being actually accepted by the advisor community.

What are the two most important skills required to be successful in your particular field and how can an MBA student work toward it?

For a person to go places in this industry he or she needs to have good knowledge of the products. He needs to understand the markets in a way that would enable him to suggest which products have to be promoted under present market conditions. He needs to be able to build new relationships without letting go of the existing ones with the advisors who actually promote one's products.

You could gain knowledge from reading business dailies and magazines. NISM (Mutual Fund Advisors Module) would help in getting certified to be accepted by the industry. Certified Financial Planner certification from the Financial Planning Standards Board would improve acceptability. A CFA certification can open doors for the much-coveted position as an equity analyst. And on building and improving relationships … well it all begins at home and gets better when you interact with your colleagues, teachers, staff and others.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I dream of relocating to Mumbai which is the financial hub of India and look forward to being part of a team that would devise strategies for launching new products and promoting the existing ones. I look forward to train new people and do my part to help the industry grow.

Do you have a word of advice for KIAMS students?

You have at your disposal a great infrastructure ‚Äď be it the library, the computer lab or the serene campus. You need to make optimum utilization of it and of course the learned pool of faculty that you have is a powerhouse of knowledge and you need to seek direction from them.

Describe an interesting incident during your student life which you would like to share with current students.

During the course in strategic management we were given case studies to be prepared and presented the next day. Groups of three were formed and our team included Mr. Dhawal and Ms. Rakhi. We worked and debated the whole night and prepared the presentation and went to sleep at about 6 a.m. The class started at 8 a.m. and we were unable to present since I had overslept in my room and was eventually late for the class. We sat there while two other groups presented their analysis. We felt that we had done a much better job, but lost the chance as we were not able to take the last few steps.

Many times we work so hard and give up just before we reach the finish line. We need to go for it whatever the obstacles are. We need to endure and should raise our commitment levels when working as a team, because a small mistake you make can cost a lot to your team.