Axis Capital Limited

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Suraj Krishnaswamy
Head – Telecom, Media & Enterprise Tech
Suraj Krishnaswamy
Head – Telecom, Media & Enterprise Tech
About yourself / What is your background?
I did my Bachelors in Chemical Engineering followed by an MBA from IIM Lucknow (Class of 2008). I joined ENAM Securities through Campus Placements and moved with rest of the team to Axis Capital post the merger in 2012. I have spent my entire career with Axis and grown in this company.
How did you end up working for the investment banking division?
IBD is something every MBA graduate aspires for when they decide to pursue a career in high finance. I got an opportunity to intern at JP Morgan during my MBA summer and gained a first hand experience of working in this industry. It was peak of the bull market in 2007 and even as an intern, I got to work on many live deals. During my final placements, I was chosen by ENAM Securities.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
Getting an opportunity to advise some of the most successful entrepreneurs and investors is something I would always cherish. It isn’t a quick process. I have developed the best of my relationships with clients in deals which were unsuccessful or took multiple attempts to close. Sitting with the client, understanding their problem, defining the problem statement and providing bespoke solutions is what this job entails. And I absolutely enjoy it.
How would you describe the culture at Axis Capital?
Culture to me is the single most important factor that attracts talent to the organization. Ours has always been a flat structure and reaching out to the senior most management was never an issue. The culture has been preserved through the years and through tenures of various CEOs. You would see most of our top management has spent decades at the firm & work hard to ensure that newer talent we bring-in subscribe to our ethos and values. While every firm strives to achieve this, at Axis it has been a way of life for us.
If you think back over your time at Axis Capital, is there something you accomplished that you’re particularly proud of?
I had back to back family medical emergencies for nearly 1.5 years and some of my biggest deal closures happened during this time. This was the pre-covid era and people still went to office every day. I frequented between the hospital and the client place – my bosses were very understanding & provided all the support. I am extremely proud of the result during that time period and it couldn’t have been done without the enabling culture at Axis Capital.
Any interests you’d care to highlight outside of work?
I am an avid traveller. My wife and I have backpacked across more than 35+ countries. We do a lot of research leading up to our holidays – in terms of the history, culture of the place we are planning to visit. We even learn languages together before our travel!
How have you grown since you joined the firm?
This is my first job post MBA. Whenever I felt my learning was plateauing, I got an opportunity for lateral shift into roles where I had no experience. The firm believed in my capabilities and were willing to take a risk. I completely owe my present position to the firm’s talent management strategy
What advice would you give to students/interns interested in Investment Banking?
Give the role and the firm enough time before you look for alternatives. I am from the Class of 2008 – post Lehman era and many of my initial years in investment banking were spent on deals which never saw light of the day. But many of these experiences came in handy at a later period where I was able to close some of the biggest and most marquee deals.