She Speaks with Tanu Bhargava, Senior Vice President at Axis Bank

We are privileged to have Tanu Bhargava, SVP at Axis Bank on SheSpeaks at Wometorship.

We really find her journey inspirational…read on to know more about Tanu and how she has managed to achieve great heights in her career !!!

Tanu Bhargava: Brief background (timeline)

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I completed my entire schooling in Jaipur and then joined St. Stephens. Thereafter, I completed my MBA from MDI Gurgaon. I joined Axis Bank (then known as UTI) in 2001 in the first batch of Management Trainee Program. I straightaway joined in the ATM Channel team of the bank, which was quite nascent and evolving at that point of time. Thereafter, I started the Prepaid and travel currency (TC) card. TC cards then evolved to be the best travel currency card in India. I have also worked in Retail Forex department, Strategy, and Corporate banking roles at Axis Bank thereafter.

Presently, I am leading the New Economy Group at Axis Bank, which aims at forging relationships/ partnerships with startups/ ecommerce ecosystem. This is first-of-its-kind group in the Bank which would cater specifically to this segment. Personally I feel that at heart I am a Startup kid and have started up or worked in new departments and initiatives within the organization

  1. The tipping point in your career journey

I was instrumental in setting up the Travel Currency Card Business in Axis, despite the fact that there were already established players in the market like Citi. After 2.5 years of the launch of the TC cards, we were able to beat all our competitors and become best in this category. This I believe was the tipping point of my career.

  1. Any particular time when you felt like giving up on your career?

Why any particular time? I felt like giving up on my career multiple times!!!

Personally, as a mother despite the fact that no one expects you to be at home, you still feel that you are missing out on spending time with your kids. You would often question yourself if this is all worth it. But I believe that the key to overcome this guilt is by balancing things out. So, often after a tedious assignment, I would take some time off to spend with my kids and family.

Professionally, there are a few times when things get repetitive and you feel like you are not growing in your career. I try to solve that by always looking for new opportunities, meeting people and trying out different things. I also believe that

I have been extremely lucky that this organization has always given me enough challenging opportunities to keep growing and trying out different roles and responsibilities.

  1. Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you?

I have been lucky to have many mentors in my career. Mr.Sameer, my ex-boss, has been one of my mentors. The best part was that he would have faith in me and let me do things on my own. He was extremely supportive while I worked with him and would provide me guidance whenever I stumbled.

Of late, Shikha Sharma (CEO of Axis Bank) has been a great mentor to me. Being a women leader, I particularly look up to her. The fact that she is a mother and has been able to balance out both her personal and professional life is particularly inspirational to me.

  1. What is your working style?

In three words I would define my working style as ‘Proactive, Deft and Organised’.

I also believe that as a team leader I am less like a boss and more like a friend. I build camaraderie with my team which in my opinion is very important to ease out the people in your team and that is when people can deliver their best results.

  1. What is your superpower (something that sets you apart)?

My ability to connect with people is my biggest strength. I can engage with people from all age groups, hierarchies and industries. It helps to understand others view points and build lasting relations

  1. If you could speak to your younger self. What advice would you give yourself.

As a person I am comfortable and aware of all my positives and negatives. I would not want to change myself as a person. So my advice to myself would be to stay the way that I am.

  1. What are the things you are particular about or things that bother you:

Clutter, indecisiveness and procrastination are things that really bother me

  1. How do you unwind

Cooking!!!

I generally find cooking very therapeutic, despite the fact that I get really less time to cook these days. But even simple things like preparing a salad for my husband really help me to unwind.

Apart from that spending time with my kids really helps me to unwind after a long day at work.

  1. Can women really have it all

Yes, I genuinely believe that women can have it all. The ecosystem now is supportive of women. For instance, people have started to accept women as bosses/ leaders in offices, society has also started to accept that women can handle their homes and manage their careers well. The ecosystem is supportive of the fact that Women can have it all !!!

  1. Cheat-code for all the young aspiring women out there

I believe women tend not to network as much as is required. Women want equality however, there are times when women take liberties and do not put in the same amount of efforts. I think women should keep these things in mind to progress in their careers

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