“Make Course Corrections Based On Facts”: Krishna Kumar Karwa, MD, Emkay Global Financial Services

Krishna Kumar Karwa considers himself as one of the fortunate few whose passion and profession are on the same track. A rank-holder chartered accountant, who has always been passionate about stock market, the managing director of Emkay Global Financial Services, has built a strong reputation for himself and his company in the market circles.

Mr Karwa co-founded Emkay Global Financial Services – a public listed company based in Mumbai – along with his friend Prakash Kacholia at the age of 30. The leading financial services company –spanning a wide range of clientele, including foreign institutional investors, mutual funds, hedge funds, banks, insurance companies, private equity firms and corporate houses, among others – has more than 500 employees and presence in over 100 cities across the country. With specialisation in research-focused equity investing, corporate advisory and wealth management services, Emkay has emerged as one of the sought-after financial services companies in the country.

Mr Karwa is a frequent guest on business television networks, such as the CNBC and the ET NOW, where he discusses the current developments and the outlook of the financial markets. He has rich and varied experience of over 28 years in all aspects of the capital markets and leads the research, portfolio management services and corporate advisory divisions of Emkay Global Financial Services.

A fitness enthusiast, Mr Karwa devotes a good amount of time in building and sustaining robust health. For him, an early morning workout with his fitness instructor is a necessity. He is also involved in a number of charity and social projects. Mr Karwa is a trustee of Rajasthani Sammelan, a Mumbai-based educational organisation. He is also a director of West Coast Paper Mills. Mr Karwa strongly believes that keeping an open mind for new thoughts, ideas and experiences is the key to sustained success in personal and business lives.

In an interesting and wide-ranging conversation with Sharmila Chand, Mr Karwa reveals his management thoughts and practices that have helped him in building a successful business.


What are your five management mantras?

Client first: Always strive to provide better for the client.

Empower your team: Be ready to accept failures as long as the effort was genuine.

Learning is a continuous process: Keep upgrading your skills, learning, especially from your younger team members.

Communicate, communicate &communicate: Communicate with all stakeholders, irrespective of good or bad news.

Negotiation is a fine art: Negotiate hard, but don’t stretch things beyond a point. Look at the long-term implications.


Would you share with us the turning point in your life related to your career?

The biggest turning point was to venture out on our own and start Emkay Global Financial Services rather than working for others. After that, there has been no looking back.


What is the secret of your success?

At Emkay, we never cut corners or compromise on quality. We always think and act long term, and we are never transactional in our relationships.


What is your philosophy of work?

You win some, and you lose some. Savour your victories, and learn from your losses.


Is there any particular person that you admire who has inspired you?

It is very difficult to name one as different personalities impress you for different things at different points in time. However, one enduring inspiration is from one of our clients who, at the age of 75, was enthusiastically adapting to changing technology and managing his pan-India business empire. One is never too old to learn, and one who stops learning is bound to be left behind.


What is the best advice that you have got?

In business and in life, there will always be people ahead of you. Never feel dejected by their superior success. What matters is did you put your best foot forward as outcome is a function of many factors.


Who is your sounding board?

My wife and children bring a different perspective and don’t hesitate in pointing out my shortcomings or faults.


What are your favourite books, and why?

Factfulness by Hans Rosling changed the perception of the world and helped understand the progress made by mankind over the years.

Fooled By Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb shows how and why everyone should understand the survivorship and hindsight biases as well as the difference between conditional and unconditional probability.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell teaches you to pay more attention to the background of successful people. You will get many insights from the book, and the trends will be similar across many such successful people.


What is your fitness regime, and how do you keep yourself fit?

Physical fitness is a function of right food intake with proper gym training with some cardio and Yoga. For mental fitness, proper sleep and regular introspection on whatever interests you on a particular day are important.


What are your five mantras for success in business?

Clarity of vision: What are the objectives of the firm? They must be properly communicated to all stakeholders.

Ability to build and sustain a team: One cannot build a business without a stable team that believes in the vision of the leader.

Ability to understand one’s own capability: A leader should know his capacity and play the game to one’s strength than be taken in by what the world or competition is doing.

Willingness and ability to course-correct: A leader should be able to make course corrections based on emerging facts rather than being rigid or unwilling to accept the changing business environment.

Stay focussed on your goals: Focus on goals is a very important ingredient for a successful business. Don’t spread yourself too thin with no scope for leadership in any business segment.


What message on management would you like to convey to youngsters?

My advice to the younger generation would be not to take yourself too seriously. As in real life, EQ (emotional quotient) is more important than IQ (intelligence quotient). 


Lastly, how would you define yourself in one sentence?

I am an optimist, always looking for a silver lining in the worst of scenarios.

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