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Inspirational Woman: Sandhya Vasudevan | Chief Operating Officer, Deutsche Bank Group, Indi

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Sandhya Vasudevan joined Deutsche Bank Group in 2010 as a MD. From early 2011 she was the Global Head of Engineering for DB’s global back office. 


She also hatted as Head of DB’s India off-shored organization.  Currently she is the Regional COO and Chief Risk Officer for the bank in India.  Prior to this she was the MD of Thomson Reuters’ India off-shored organization  and responsible for building  it from 200 to 9000 people during 2001-2rom 2007 she was actively involved in the merger of Thomson and Reuters in India and then becoming part of the Global Strategy team.  Between 1997 to 2001 she started the Guardian Royal Exchange off-shored center in India and this became part of Axa when they acquired GRE. As part of the GRE’s senior team she was involved in the India strategy for the insurance business. Prior to that was with the TVS Group in various roles.

How would you describe your career

My career has been an evolution based on interest, constant desire to learn and taking on opportunities that came my way.  This was helped by timely sponsorship and well-wishers. I have been a senior executive with multiple companies in a global context.

My career has been in financial services and technology with bulk of my activities aligned to growth, change and transformation while driving hard outcomes.  I have been actively involved in the various industry forums. My current role is that of a regional COO and CRO.

From an educational journey I got into medicine, then switched to arts and management studies. Learning is what helps me grow [can delete]

Did you ever sit down and  plan your career ?

No. I have always been interested in learning new things and trying out new experiences. I also like to push the space in which I operate.  In my career I have been more of an explorer who took the opportunities that I encountered rather than follow some specific script. So it has been a serendipitous evolution.

What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?

I see life as a journey with opportunities and/ or challenges  which need to be handled pragmatically.  At the workplace we need to align to a common goal, among the agreed stakeholders, and then ensure we understand the situation in terms of  WHAT [vision / mission / objectives/ strategy including how success will be measured], WHY [motivation and expectation of each stakeholder group],  and HOW [both people engagement and execution pl]. After that Execute to the best of your ability!

What has been your greatest achievement personally?

Hopefully the best is yet to come!

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?

I might have been a Doctor in the defense services or scientist.  OR might have gone into Academics in Archeology or Anthropology.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Ashoka the Great ……he was a great warrior but changed on seeing the carnage of the Kalinga war and became a Buddhist ruler who took his belief to many parts of Asia, where it still survives.  His impact was both in time and space through peace.

What advice would you give someone who wishes to move into a leadership position for the first time? What advice would you give to the others building their careers

Be self-aware – and understand what you really want or need.  Test yourself to assess what you are good at and what you really like – they may not be the same .  Start understanding what you don’t want to do, or become. Be clear about what you are willing to give up in order to achieve what you want. Then focus and work towards achieving it while being  flexible & open to the changes that will come on your way.

Do you think networking is important and if so, what three tips would you give to a new networker?

Most human endeavor is about getting things done with and through people.  For this to happen effectively one needs to establish relationships with different stakeholders. The objective here is to understand how you can offer something to the people in that network; this would enable you to leverage something from the network.  One can share information, ideas, be subject matter experts, or work on joint projects.  Each individual will need to figure out what & how they can offer.  In today’s digital world it is a lot easier – but commonly professional networks, interest groups, charity / NGOs, specific purpose social media, etc. can be leveraged.

What doe the future hold for you?

Life is an adventure ….hopefully I will continue to contribute to my organization and various forums both locally and globally.  I expect the future to always keeping me learning and evolving. I hope to have a ‘butterfly effect’ i.e. small causes have a large impact in the direction one aspires.


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