“Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors” a firm believer of this ancient proverb, Ipsita Das, PGP Co '11, has always been known to take challenges head-on and turning them into opportunities. Recently appointed as the Managing Director of Moet Hennessy (LVMH), she has been instrumental in leading her team through the recent tumultuous period.
Reminiscing on her professional journey, Ipsita reflects that it has been a roller coaster ride, a trip without an itinerary that proved to be thrilling and extraordinary. She says that the days spent at ISB prepared her to take up new roles and effectively led them in every situation.
ISB is a place that Ipsita holds dearly and gets nostalgic while going down memory lane. She fondly remembers the study group meetings, midnight assignments in the atrium and, joyful moments with friends at the ’08 lounge. She adds that running down the stairs to submit assignments at the last minute in deposit boxes was euphoric that can't be forgotten. “Fortunately, no one had serious injury doing so", she adds with a sigh of relief.
Ipsita says she will always cherish the friendships developed during her days at ISB and declares that the strong network of ISB is an asset in itself, and it is noteworthy to see the length alumni go to in supporting each other. Many efforts are being made by the Office of Alumni Engagement in enhancing the brand image of the ISB. Ipsita adds that a lot more needs to be done by the alumni to strengthen the connection. She submits that she is proud to be part of the ISB community and will be more involved in contributing as much as possible to strengthen the brand ISB.
On being asked how the program at ISB transformed her, Ipsita proudly recounts that the things she learned during her time at ISB, is a package that is unmatchable. "I remember our negotiation classes, where we learnt not just from the course material but real-life examples, which came in very handy. The psyche that was developed from day one to tackle the situation at hand, taught us the dynamics of real-life", said Ipsita. According to her, ISB gives one the opportunity to experiment and the courage to explore various fields. "The entire curriculum not only instill the basics but also the sense of confidence to handle and respond to things more aptly. The ability to think on your feet is one of the many lessons that ISB taught me", she sums up.
Speaking about her career transition journey, Ipsita said that her decisions were inspired by the organization she was moving to and the value she would add there. Adding to that, she says that her curiosity influenced her to move from Maersk to Housing.com to explore the startup world, which was too good to miss. At Uber, her experience, coupled with the ability to tackle tough challenges, led her to take more significant responsibilities in larger establishments that culminated in LVMH. "My enthusiasm to explore challenges inspired me to make such transitions", Ipsita said.
Ipsita reckons that challenges make our lives exciting, transforming us into better individuals. Some challenges are personal, some professional while others can't be segregated. “Life is not lived in a cocoon, one has to spread their wings and fly, and that's exactly what happens when one graduate from a B-School like ISB”.
Talking about her plans for Moet Hennessy (LVMH) in India, Ipsita is bullish about the opportunity in hand to shape luxury and premium products consumption in India. She is also excited about the potential to develop premium Indian products in India, and the Chandon winery in India is a step towards that.
Ipsita says that success is subjective and can't be defined as everyone has different aspirations in their lives. "For me, it is important to be happy in life and to be happy; all that one needs is quality time with family and loved ones and engage in quality work, work that has an impact. Having a positive attitude and being surrounded by the right set of people that drive the same set of energy enriches life, and that for me is the definition of success", she said.
"The answer to the gender disparity in leadership would always come with a big YES", Ipsita said. She further stated that companies need women to be in senior and influential positions. According to her, in most organizations in India, policies still need to evolve in order to become more women-friendly and inclusive. Ipsita pointed out that at Moet Hennessy, the initiatives toward DE&I are at the core of creating an organization that’s sustainable and desirable.
"COVID came with a different set of challenges. I could not concentrate while working from home because there were distractions all around while I was trying to work", she said. The initial days were tough as both she and her husband had to juggle between work and taking care of their kid with no help around. As soon as things got a bit normal, Ipsita decided to return to her office to maintain the boundary between home and office. COVID restrictions forced Ipsita to forgo her love for swimming but enabled her to pick up the paintbrush again and this time with her 3-year-old son. With travel being limited, Ipsita enjoys family time more than ever, be it moments shared over coffee with her husband or solving puzzles as a family. "COVID taught us that the most important thing in life is to spend quality time with family and loved ones and enjoy and cherish the smaller joys of life", Ipsita affirmed.
On being asked what advice she would give to the current class, Ipsita stressed the need to have an open perspective, learn and unlearn skills with changing times. “Treating the learning stage as an opportunity rather than an impediment is a key factor