In our society, achieving gender equality may be tough but it is morally crucial to create a progressive, inclusive and prosperous nation. Yet the barriers in the path of women empowerment are daunting even today as our social fabric is not flexible enough.
Still, there are women who rise and shine, all on their own and they are meant to be celebrated.
One such extraordinary woman is Rathandeep Umesh, Founder & CEO of Consulting and Beyond, a reputed consulting firm whose advice is sought after by some of South India’s largest family businesses and SMEs. Rathandeep’s journey from a Finance Graduate turned House-wife turned Corporate Finance Consultant could be an inspiration for many aspiring women of today.
"It is sad that our society is unjustifiably tough on its women. But things are changing gradually and that gives me hope for our future generation of girls. Maybe, the battles that we fight will help make things easier for them. It is definitely worth the try," says Rathandeep with a smile.
The happy tears that Rathandeep hides behind the cheerful demeanor that she puts up in front of the world could not be hidden for long while recollecting her journey so far.
“To the dreamers, believe in the unbelievable. Rest will be History in the making” says Rathandeep Umesh philosophically. “My advice to my fellow women in business is to stick to the basics, follow the methodologies, and plan their vision with clear execution milestones. Undoubtedly, I recommend professional help that supports sustained development too.”
An MBA Finance Graduate who always wears a welcoming smile, Rathandeep stands true to every advice she offers to her ever-eager clients. “I humbly request everyone to look beyond gender and take stock of all the wonderful work by women in various fields and be inspired by their journey,” she says.
Struggling to find time amongst family responsibilities, survive the challenges of transforming into an entrepreneur and the obstacles that the society puts up in the path of an aspiring woman, many in her situation would have quit. Rathna, as she is fondly called by her clients, was something else altogether. She chose to endure and squeeze the time she had to become an entrepreneur.
A believer in the “Dream BIG!!!” Adage, Rathna sharpened her academic skills with a Applied Finance program from IIM Calcutta and joined her Chartered Accountant husband, Umesh’s firm. She started working on some of the toughest pain points of the SME businesses. Seeing that others’ pain points were solved, more businesses approached her for professional advice.
Understanding the importance of continuous learning, she completed online courses on Advanced Business Valuation from Stern Business School, New York University, and the Valuation course of IBBI. An avid listener, she attends Mahātria Rā's discourses for spiritual development as part of her objectives.
All her educational credentials except for the MBA have been post marriage with the support of her family and encouragement from her husband, Umesh. She counts her inspiring parents and supporting in-laws and love from her whole family as her greatest blessings.
Rathna’s professional milestones over past 15 years include:
● 2006: Started as backend support for Internal Audit and Tax department
● 2009: Completed CA foundation with all India 10th
● 2010: Completed Applied finance program at IIM Calcutta
● 2011: Initiated processing loans and feasibility analysis for select clients
● 2015: Corporate Finance services offered.
● 2017: Budgeting and cashflow management triggered with major turnarounds to profitability over a year and half of engagement.
● 2018: Advance valuation course at New York university, stern school of business
● 2020: Complete Corporate Finance and Investment Banking services offered.
Things took to a better turn when she began addressing pressing challenges of large clients including notable turnarounds of a textile retail business and a group of educational institutions. Gradually, Corporate Finance Consulting business achieved scale with major verticals of Debt Capital Desk, feasibility studies, Budgeting and Cash flow Management and performance monitoring.
Almost INR 7Bn debt was raised during the years while a retail chain of 40 odd stores business was turned around based on periodic monitoring and implementation of corrective actions.
“When progress is about perseverance, doing all that you believe, leads to fulfilment,” says Rathandeep
The secret behind this steep arch of Rathna’s success is the trust she built with her clients which none other gave as much value to before. Every client assignment that Rathna accepted, had to be run through a comprehensive internal review to assess the extent and possibility of value-add that the team could bring in.
“100% of the firm’s endeavour is towards generating value and maintaining the hard-earned trust with the customer. For us it is the single most important factor,” says Rathna, with a deep sense of gratitude for the results achieved so far.
“Our clients are our biggest ambassadors” claims Rathna. She believes that the honest relationship level would be revealed when one goes through a stress case. This makes her bonding with clients strong and contributes overwhelmingly towards a key metric in this business customer retention rate which she claims to be almost 90%. When clients want 360 degrees of growth they think of Consulting and Beyond.
Rathna also started her own blog www.rathandeep.com
to ensure constant communication with women entrepreneurs. “Trust and constant endeavor to deliver value to clients are the secret formula which worked for us, though there were many similar service providers around in the market.”
Backed by the client’s trust, hard work and continuous value addition offered, Rathandeep’s celebrated journey to become one of the “In Demand” Corporate Finance Advisors is now a part of inspiration stories for many budding women professionals in the region. Rathandeep is also sought after by many entrepreneur associations to address their members on various corporate finance techniques to overcome their challenges.
“I have always wanted to see women succeed in entrepreneurship,” she says. Her next initiative “Women Entrepreneur Finance Program” to manage the financial challenges in sustaining growth and profitability is a step in that direction. Women, as multitaskers have all the acumen to understand and apply the same, it’s just need to be honed. Just as cooking, driving and home management, finance can be excelled in a simple manner.
“After building a reputed consulting practice, maintaining values is the most difficult part of the journey and it cannot be done without good teamwork,” she says. For that, she ensures that the right people are taken on board who share the same passion to build like hers. She has a vision to make her company owned and run by professionals for generations to come.
“I plan to give more value to my team through an inclusive approach in the growth journey” Rathna says. And why she chose to do so isn’t hard to understand, given her personal experiences. People working in her company are never referred to as ‘Employees’, but as ‘Colleagues’ or ‘Members’. A staunch believer of God, she believes that success is a result of collective efforts and hence mutual respect is important.
But, it’s just not the fighting spirit that has Rathna in the position that she enjoys today. She has the business acumen of a genius.
While the pride she takes in her creation and the people who help her implement her vision is obvious, she brushes this unique quality off by saying, “When something’s not working, I become the client.” She attributes this quality to the lessons learned from her spouse Umesh, who always has an eye for detail and focuses on one thing at a time to get it right.
Rathna stands testimony to the saying, “A Courageous woman has no barrier to success”.
Life has been busy for this go-getter ever since she started her career. Her attitude towards life can be best defined in her own simple words - “My journey has just begun.”
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