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Podcast: AAAIM High ELI, EP 29 – Pooja Malik “From BGI to Nipun: Path to starting my Hedge Fund”

Podcast: AAAIM High ELI, EP 29 – Pooja Malik “From BGI to Nipun: Path to starting my Hedge Fund”

AAAIM HIGH ELI’s latest podcast “From BGI to Nipun, Path to starting My Hedge Fund” featuring Pooja Malik, CEO & Founding Partner, Nipun Capital

Excerpt from the podcast series AAAIM High ELI with Johnny Wu, sponsored by the Association of Asian American Investment Managers, better known as AAAIM.
“Pooja had a very successful career at Barclays Global Investors, (BGI), where Pooja was promoted quickly to become one of the youngest managing directors at the firm after successfully turning around BGI’s active small cap equity strategy. Pooja has been a perennial underdog all her life but has tackled every conceivable obstacle and overcome them by leaps and bounds. As the middle child and daughter of a strong Indian mother who raised her family as a single parent after the death of her father when Pooja was just 12, Pooja learned a lot about grit and determination from her mother. As a woman and minority, Pooja is a role model and an inspiration for all of us in the AAAIM community. I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to speak with her. She believed enough in herself to launch her own hedge fund almost 10 years ago and took the time to share her story with us.”

Some of Johnny’s favorite quotes from Pooja:

On following my own path and not doing what society expected me to do at a young age…
“In India, after 10th grade, you have to choose whether you were going to study science, business or liberal arts. And when I was going to school, all the top students chose to study science; and if you were in the middle of the group, you studied business; and if you were bottom of the class, you studied liberal arts. And that is how the system worked… and when it was my time to decide, I chose to study business “

The big turning point in my career
” BGI was really good at managing money. So, I started to explore opportunities on the research team. And the firm was known for quantitative investing. Everyone on the team had a PhD, everyone was a quant and I wasn’t. I had never managed a single dollar in equities. I knew very little about statistics and I couldn’t write code… I literally went to the Head of Research and I said give me an opportunity and let me do it for a year. If it doesn’t work, I’ll leave. I don’t want to spend my life doing something that I am not going to be good at… not only did it work, but I loved it. I learned every part of the business. I learned to scrub data, I learned to code…”

On starting my firm and being in it for the long haul
“When I started out, a lot of people told me not to do it. And it has not been easy. We have had a lot of volatility over the last 10 years. But the thing that keeps me going is confidence I have in our investment process, in the team, in knowing that we can do this. In terms of advice to people, I would say ‘Don’t pay a lot of attention to what other people tell you.’ Because ultimately what is going to drive success is your conviction in yourself… and the grit, you just have to outlast other people.”


Links to the EP 29 podcast

Listen to the episode from your desktop 
Listen here on Apple Podcast 
Read Q&A excerpt on 100WHF website

About AAAIM HIGH ELI Podcasts:“AAAIM High ELI” is focused on raising the profile of emerging leaders who aspire to become the next generation of pioneers in the investment management industry. Podcast guests include established and emerging managers, asset allocators, industry leaders and content experts passionate about raising the representation of AAPIs into senior ranks across the industry. Over time, we hope our podcast will serve as a library of valuable content for the investment community.