Bhavana Chamoli was born in the Himalayas region of India. As she grew, Bhavana Chamoli’s hunger for academics was apparent as she earned scholarships to attend Asia’s best educational instutitions. She moved to New Delhi as a boarding student as she prepared to take the exam at the Indian Institute of technology, considered to be the elite program for computer sciences and engineering. Bhavana Chamoli’s intellectual interest led her to take a year away from her engineering studies to engage in Architectural studies, before she returned to complete her undergraduate engineering degree.
When Bhavana Chamoli came to the United States, she continued her education at Carnegie Mellon University. She melded into the culture and research-oriented philosophy of Carnegie Mellon. After completing her studies, she spent the next two and a half years at McKinsey Consulting as a full-time developer. However, Bhavana Chamoli quickly realized that the corporate-life did not provide the opportunity for exposure to the kind of innovative, leading-edge technology to challenge her skills. Bhavana’s love for quant fund coding and programming and mathematical calculation challenges was no longer an option. The corporate-life felt stagnant.
Bhavana Chamoli’s goal was to move out of corporate life and into a role in investment management. Her ambition led her to take the initiative to engage with her university professors for guidance. With the emergence of quant hedge funds, Bhavana knew she had the right skill-set to move her career in a new direction. Taking command of her career, Bhavana Chamoli moved to MIO Partners, Inc, McKinseys’ investment management subsidiary, designed to retain the services of former partners, and employees.
Chamoli is involved with venture-capital firms in India. She develops codes to build programming applications that automate the research process for the capital management industry, designed especially for investment and portfolio managers.
Bhavana Chamoli leads a very active lifestyle. She has many interests aside from her development skills. She was offered modeling roles and was a participant in the Miss India competition. She maintains her relationships with friends and coworkers in India who are connected to the Andy Warhol Foundation and Bollywood, Sundance, and in the film-making industry. She participated in documentaries that have qualified for Oscars in the foreign language categories, and others that have earned awards at the Sundance Festivals worldwide. She has produced documentaries in India, which she has shared on YouTube.
One of Bhavana’s greatest accomplishments to date, was when she founded a non-profit organization. She wanted to provide a platform to empower freelance journalists and writers of India to let their voices be heard. The platform was created to cut through India’s monopoly, de-polarize communities and allow writers and journalists the opportunity to build their brand.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
It was nothing that I planned. I always loved problem-solving. As a child, I was an introvert and spent a lot of time programming and trouble-shooting problems. It was the challenge of finding real-world things and changing them into objects in programming. I translate everything into data models, thereby allowing me to solve the problems at hand. I think it was a very logical mindset that propelled me into this career.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am at work by nine. I grab a coffee and start the first hour by reading my emails first. After emails, I check my workboard board for any assignments and divide them as either – urgent, important or both. There are days when I have to commit to the urgent first but usually, I like to focus on the important. I attend a few meetings here and there, get on calls. I love brainstorming meetings and enjoy taking a brisk walk over lunch. On a day to day basis, I often meet with my peers as well. We end the workday about eight, where I would go right to the gym to work-out. At home, I study and read and watch Netflix on weekends.
How do you bring ideas to life?
By bringing them to an articulate domain, I mean domains that I understand better and then translating solutions to general application. Younger me has always been an artist in that I paint as well as sketch my thoughts. I often find myself reaching for a pen to visualize and conceptualize. Now I do it using code. I believe that when I bring everything to my domain then I can work with it and build it to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Fashion trends really excite me as a woman. The way technology has made its way into every aspect of life is scary, but also exciting at the same time. Neural Networks and Predictive algorithms excite me. We are still learning about artificial intelligence and data modeling replacing traditional simulations with Intelligent algorithms that are much faster, can deal with a lot more data and many different types of data. We are constantly pushing these algorithms to every aspect of business and processes across industries, wherever there’s inherent bias and wherever we can’t possibly think through. I am looking forward to seeing where this goes.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I begin my day by reading to force my brain to perform. I speak three different languages, so often I will read or speak those languages as well. I give myself the luxury of a half-hour of eclectic music. I also make sure to work-out routinely. If I get to go to the Central Park, it’s a bonus. I also love to travel in my free time, so far, I have covered much of Mexico and Caribbean and some parts of Middle East. Ironically enough I haven’t traveled much in my own country, India, which is now on the bucket list.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell younger Bhavana Chamoli not to follow the crowd. You will go much further on your own.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
People confuse focus and isolation. I often see people dissociating with a lot because they want to associate with a certain group or an industry. It’s a myth that ignoring what’s beyond your industry helps you avoid distraction. I have a slightly different take on that, I have many interests outside of my work. I hang-out with people who are theater stars. Some of my friends that visit from Britain work in theater, movies, and Hollywood. I also hang out with venture capitalists. People wonder why I am into theater and documentary production. People think you have to stay in that domain to be good at what you do. I do not believe it. I expand my experiences to become a better problem solver. I put myself out there to adopt ideas and look for opportunities to grow.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Exercise, it makes you feel better. I have one creative task completed for a month, I paint something or write a document to its completion. I believe everyone should complete at least one task beyond what they do as a career each month. It is important to do something different each month to excite and stimulate your life.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Always appreciate people. It is never an individual task. People underestimate how much others contribute to your success.
Acknowledge it and give it back. All people like to be acknowledged. You gain loyalty and trust. People can look up to you when they can trust you.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Initially, when I came into this industry my coworkers questioned my ability to be a good coder. Several factors were leading to their belief. I had been a model, I am female, I participated in beauty pageants, that is why they questioned my ability. It hurt me, but also motivated me, I understand subconscious bias and like to tackle it constructively. Sometimes of course it is challenging, I am certain It will be more prevalent in the investment and VC industry. But there’s always a story like Ruth Bader to keep us ‘women’ going.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I so wish we could have automated lawyers or ‘lawbots’ soon for each vertical of law.
Also, noise is becoming a nuisance in this world. It has built anxiety, stress, and trouble sleeping. If someone could come up with an idea to be able to reduce the noise in whatever way possible, it would be a moneymaker. A second idea is for someone in biotech or BioMed to create some sort of device to insert into your nose and it will cleanse out the pollution or germs and we won’t need a facemask.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought the crypto-currency for one hundred dollars. It went to eight hundred dollars. Then Covid happened and it vanished. I have faith that it will bounce back. I like the volatility of Crypto.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
There is a website called Citation Machine. I can insert keywords and it will bring me all the journals and scientific research papers on the specific keywords without having to sift through opinions and non-experts. I use a lot of that research for my work. I can provide accurate professional data.
I also use Grammarly every day. I also research at Harvard Business Review. One journal that I read is Lapham’s quarterly magazine. It helps people to grow philosophically.
I like to use Bloomberg’s research and data services. I also love CB-insights and McKinsey’s report subscriptions.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
What is your favorite quote?
“I know who I am and who I may be, if I choose.”
– Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
● Always appreciate people. People underestimate how much others contribute to your success.
● It is important to do something different each month to excite and stimulate your life.
● People think you have to stay within your work domain to be good at what you do. Don’t believe it. Expand experiences to become a better problem solver.
● Do not follow the crowd. You will go much further on your own.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.