Pratibha Mahindru: An Exemplary Success in Management Consulting Industry
Women have always had to struggle to have their place under the sun. This is true enough in today’s world, too, but the times are changing rapidly. Many women have entered the workforce, and their struggles have led them to successes that would have been impossible to even imagine for women in the past. These women and their amazing success stories set examples for even more wom- en to achieve something in their lives.
The Director of Refract Consulting Pvt. Ltd., a Manage- ment Consulting firm, Ms. Pratibha Mahindru, is one such woman with an inspiring story of struggle and suc- cess. Ms. Mahindru is a Technology Evangelist and Policy Economist. She has more than 15 years of experience as marketing research specialist and strategist. During her career, she has led assessments across a range of projects that support the organization’s strategic goals regarding the industry and technology marketplace, competitors and clients. Moreover, she has been instrumental in pro- viding Senior Leadership with insights into how specific services are positioned in the market, market dynamics, customer value perceptions and buying criteria, pricing trends, and the relative advantages/disadvantages of or- ganization’s range of offerings against key competitors. Previously, she has worked with the likes of WNS, Gart- ner, Fiserv and GLG. She began her journey as an entre- preneur four years ago with Refract Consulting.
Refract Consulting, is a global research, consulting and advisory firm, headquartered in Noida, India, with analysts based across the globe including locations such as US, Canada, UK, Israel, Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea and China. The company offers a bouquet of innovative solutions relevant for companies across the lifecycle (start-up, growth, Fortune 500).
Refract Consulting is a partner of choice for delivering value-driven and focused research solutions to meet diverse needs of an organization—be it strategy, sales or marketing. What truly defines the excellence of Refract Consulting is the ability to steer through the unique business opportunities on the radar through a 360-degree approach to gather and decipher intelligence. The team is adept at deploying most appropriate information tools for building strong solution architecture.
Refract Consulting helps organizations find answers to their business problems using a data driven approach. The data streams that we rely on are secondary, primary and social media—a quicker, comprehensive and cost-effective way of data curation. The team helps organizations understand the market triggers and ecosystems (partners, employees, innovation, customers, competitors, and other external influencers) to build a unified line of action. On the other hand, if there is a known line of action, Refract Consulting can help derive the potential impact on the ecosystem.
The Company creates actionable intelligence, what we call as OxyInsights™, and not just provides numbers. The journey starts with gathering intelligence, identifying market opportunities, understanding competition and customer sentiment, but it doesn’t end here. The team puts it into action by collaborating actively with the Marketing and Sales teams. Refract Consulting helps them increase top line revenues, customer acquisition and retention, and stay relevant to the ever-changing market forces.
Sales Enablement consists of sales intelligence, strategic CRM, sales tools (battle-cards, case studies, etc.), and research-backed qualified lead management. With an interesting mix of research, marketing content and business analysts with the ability to reach the top executives, the company’s sales enablement is one of the most comprehensive solutions enabling faster sales, reduced lead time and higher Return of Investment.
In Marketing Content Enablement, the team of Refract Consulting provides research-backed differentiated content to assist clients in staying ahead in this competitive market.
The company is growing rapidly with more than 100% growth rate over the past three years. Their client retention has been more than 80%. Though an emerging startup still, the company works with Fortune 500 companies and next generation startups, and advises them on several facets of strategy. In a period of three years, they have increased their international presence significantly. The company also boasts of analyst presence in more than 21 countries. These analysts have exclusive annual agreement with the company to support client requirements.
Journey as a Woman and an Entrepreneur
The founder of Refract Consulting, Pratibha, is a woman who has helped the company achieve all this against all odds. On the personal front, she lost her father and then her brother early in life. To recover from the loss, she focused her energies towards academics and then professional career. Pratibha got through the coveted Shri Ram College of Commerce and then pursued Masters in Economics from Jamia Milia Islamia Central University.
In the professional space, she started her career with firms like Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG) and Keane India (now NTT Data). Later, she joined as an Analyst with Gartner, where she worked on more than a hundred individual projects pertaining to areas of IT implementation & strategies. In addition, she handled another 200 projects with a diverse set of team members. She also managed work from more than 150 analysts. Her work revolved around in-depth market studies, company analysis & competitive assessment in IT domain. She then moved on to setting up a Marketing Intelligence – Center of Excellence at Fiserv, a leading Fintech company. During her tenure at Fiserv, Pratibha has won ‘Excellence Level 5 Award’ (highest level recognition) for establishing International Market Research, ‘Orange Flag Award’ for enabling business wins.
As a woman, challenges for Pratibha have always been multifold. She believes that struggle is spelt differently for women. A woman has to play many roles and is expected to be excellent in all walks of life. Be it home or work, they are supposed to give their hundred percent. In the corporate, moving up the ladder is a challenge for women. In her experience, it is not natural for managers to promote women. There is always an invisible glass ceiling for them. Similarly, the startup community has its own set of challenges and being a female founder means that they get multiplied by ten times. India typically has been a patriarchal society, as a result of which, female entrepreneurs face the challenge of gender bias. Only 10% of the startups are being founded by women and only 5% of the total funding raised by startups went to female-led startups.
But now what has changed is women’s attitude towards these challenges. Women are more determined to take the challenges head-on and as a result are crafting more success stories than before. Recent trends indicate that even the venture capitalists have now realized that women-led startups can have a better chance at sustaining. More and more investors are putting their money on startups which are owned or co-owned by women.
Pratibha managed to make her way to the top despite these challenges. Her experience led her to make sure that at Refract Consulting, they had adequate representation for women. Refract Consulting boasts of >70% female employee base. With her focus in life being her two “kids”, her ten year old daughter and the four-year old Refract Consulting, Pratibha is putting her all behind both.
Pratibha’s team is set to revolutionize the way Market Research is conducted across the globe. Refract Consulting will soon be launching ‘ChatterPe’, an AI-based mobile app for survey, expert consultations, and much more. They are also working on another product, a mobile app and smart wearable, which will integrate social media platforms and databases with biometrics to provide a seamless solution for sales enablement.
Refract Consulting is also going global and has registered its US entity now. The company is also about to launch both these products in the US and other international markets as well.