Harshal Kamdar

  • Finance
“People skills > all other competencies to build an enduring company. Articulate your purpose, and ideas and bring people on the same side - true for start-ups and life! ”

I know what it’s like to be an outsider, and what it means to hustle. My father was a telephone operator and the amount he made each month is what we spend on a good dinner now. We lived in a humble home. One of my best memories is watching cricket in the corridor on a neighbor’s TV – the only set in the building. When I was 16, I became the breadwinner for the family. This involved giving tuition to younger kids, keeping books at a factory, and doing other odd jobs.

Neighborhoods like this are full of people with interesting stories. I learned to play competitive chess from this ‘uncle’ that used to be a champion. The newsboy sold me used books and out-of-date magazines for a few rupees. I was good at school and decided to pursue a CPA in India simply because it was the most affordable post-secondary course I could find.

Growing up like this, you become focused and determined. And, if you choose, be optimistic. I always see the upside and the opportunity, even in adversity.

I spent time in finance at Colgate-Palmolive and later joined E&Y. In 2010, PwC India went through a crisis, and I made the contrarian decision to apply to the firm amid a mass exodus. I joined the team that rebuilt the entire financial services practice.

One of the lessons I learned early on is the importance of building relationships. If you treat each other with empathy and have a ‘we, not I’ mindset, you can achieve almost anything.

Books / chess / tennis / music / EPL / “doing nothing, that encompasses everything”