Career mobility and the chance for new challenges make Morgan Stanley India a hub for professional growth.
Somdutta Basu heads the Morgan Stanley Macro Research strats team, which is based in Mumbai and uses cutting-edge data-analysis techniques, including machine learning and advanced econometrics, to produce insights for Research reports supporting the Global Fixed Income Division. But her path to this role has been somewhat unexpected, and while she came to Morgan Stanley with an unusual background for her first role with the firm, she was given a chance to learn new skills that set her on a path for success, something Morgan Stanley India is known to offer its employees no matter where they are in their professional journey.
In addition to serving as a leading-edge technology hub for Morgan Stanley, the firm’s Mumbai and Bengaluru offices employ over 10,000 creative and entrepreneurial employees across all divisions. What follows are stories of four employees, including Basu, who have found success by leveraging the firm’s commitment to career mobility.
Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Basu had several years of experience working at a boutique consulting firm and on the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board in Washington, D.C. Both roles gave her enviable experience in the world of finance, but that experience didn’t dovetail so neatly with what was required of her in first role at the firm, working in Research on the Securitized Products team. “There was a steep learning curve,” she acknowledges.
What helped her get up to speed were supportive colleagues and mentors, including Vishwanath Tirupattur, Morgan Stanley’s Global Director of Fixed Income Research. And when an opportunity arose to lead a new project in India, Tirupattur hand-picked Somdutta to take on the role, reporting directly to him.
The goals of the twelve-member team are ambitious. In the short term, the team is supporting the Research business. Longer-term, Basu hopes they can anticipate the quant analysis needs for research teams before the teams even ask. But Basu feels capable, knowing she’s been given the opportunity because she earned it and because she’s acquired the skills she needs, thanks to the patience and support of her colleagues. That’s something she says is not unique to her: “Morgan Stanley is really good at rewarding creative and entrepreneurial people who show they have the capacity to take their work to the next level.”
Tanmay Shah joined the Mumbai office in 2007 as a Senior Associate on the Fund Services team, a business that has expanded significantly in India over the last 15 years. Shah’s manager encouraged him to participate in formal leadership training sessions to take advantage of any opportunities such expansion might bring, which led to a managerial role and subsequent promotions. “I kept building my expertise, while taking on new responsibilities to help develop and motivate my team,” says Shah, who is now an Executive Director.
In 2019, Shah was eager to try something new. For advice, he turned to his go-to group of colleagues whom he met through Morgan Stanley’s employee networks. These groups provide a platform for employees of diverse backgrounds to connect with peers and senior leaders, establish relationships with prospective mentors and sponsors, and increase their firmwide exposure while gaining professional development skills. “Our networks help employees interact with people in different divisions, beyond the team you work with every day,” says Shah, who serves in a leadership role with the India Family Network. “Relying on my broader network has really helped my career.”
His colleagues’ counsel and support led Shah to accept his current role within Operations, where he leads a multi-year project to upgrade one of the firm’s reconciliation platforms.
Raju Alluri began working for Morgan Stanley as a consultant in the U.S. in 2000, helping set up the firm’s Inter-Continental-Exchange (ICE) commodities system. Even then, “I was given the chance to shine, encouraged by senior people who recognized my hard work,” Alluri says, noting that supervisors were always open to new ideas and provided plenty of direct feedback. Alluri eventually managed his own small team and in 2003 led a major project for the metals trading platform.
The project was due to go live in New York when a power outage plunged the city into darkness, causing all systems to go down. Alluri and his team worked all night to ensure the project launched on time the next morning. “The amount of recognition I received, how much appreciation I got, was so rewarding,” Alluri says. He went on to earn several promotions and the opportunity to work with various divisions and managers, gaining skills and responsibilities along the way.
After a brief stint at a peer bank, Alluri returned to Morgan Stanley to accept his current position as Head of Asia Risk Technology in Bengaluru, and he instantly felt a familiar ethos.
“What I love about Morgan Stanley is that technology and business teams collaborate. Communication is effective here and it strengthens cohesion within the company,” he says.
Prabhav Mehta has experienced a similarly rewarding career trajectory. He began his career in the Mumbai office within Operations but soon realized the role was not a perfect fit. When a job in the Fixed Income Division in London opened up three years later, he raised his hand. “I was definitely thrown into the deep end of the pool,” he says. “It forced me to learn quickly and work hard. The stakes were high, but I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Fast forward another three years, when an opportunity in Client Services presented itself. Mehta was quick to jump on it—and to find a new skillset as well. “I discovered that I loved engaging with clients, something my manager took note of. Soon I was servicing the largest revenue-generating client in the U.K.” During that time, he took part in many client meetings, an experience that led to yet another professional pivot into sales. “The role allowed me to work far more closely with clients, which I really enjoyed, and I also was able to win mandates for the firm, a real feather in my cap,” he says.
Today he is back in Mumbai, working as a Managing Director and heading Global Sales and Marketing for Investment Management. The secret to success and his constant upward trajectory? “Working hard, showing the right attitude and respect for your colleagues and your work. That doesn’t go unnoticed or unrewarded by the firm,” Mehta says.