Women make up almost half of the world population, however the participation of the fairer sex in the corporate and entrepreneurial world has not been as inclusive. Things are looking up for women folk across the globe as not only are more and more women joining the top ranks at large corporations but are also building successful organizations of their own. A recent global survey concluded that among all early-stage entrepreneurs, around one-third or 32 percent are women. It is much easier for a woman to found a start up today than it was a few years ago. But the protagonist of our story had the grit and capability to found a successful business in 1997, when things were much different from today. Nina Alag Suri, an entrepreneur par excellence founded Nastrac, a firm that specialises in providing business solutions through strategic hiring and consultancy services.
Eighteen years ago, when Nina took a bold step in her life to leave back her career in the corporate world and planted the seed for Nastrac, she was redefining the image of Indian women globally. She believes that it’s better to be a creator than a follower. This ideology compelled her to initiate her entrepreneurial journey. “I was highly motivated to start something on my own and set up a company which was very different and was in tune with what I felt was right. I wanted to create a company with a lot of empowerment,” she expounds. Today, the firm is renowned as a company by an entrepreneur for entrepreneurs, which works with people who are entrepreneurial and free-thinking, autonomous, creative and non-restricted. “My investments were 1000 dollar, so my claim to fame is really 1000 dollar,” Nina recollects. According to her the greatest asset she had was the experience, “I am an Electronics Engineer and my first job was with ICL, where I worked for five years. Then I joined a company called IIS Infotech. So, being from that industry gives me a better perspective about it’s needs and functioning.”
Nastrac Group has a successful track record of more than a decade in the executive search business. Conceived in the year 1997, the firm offers Executive Search Practice for the Banking & Financial industry. In the year 2009, the company expanded it’s offering by creating a Banking & Financial Services practice. Nastrac is one of the very few search firms which operates a specialised transaction banking practice, as most companies have it as a sub-vertical within the BFSI space.
Being an IT & Telecom recruitment services company, the firm expanded its scope to include Telecommunications and the Banking & Finance sectors within its area of expertise and further established its presences across APAC via its offices in Singapore and Australia. Today, Nastrac has global operations with offices across Singapore, London, Bournemouth, Mumbai and New Jersey.
Infusing Life Into Technology and BFSI Sector
It takes great people to grow a good business and for an entrepreneur this means delegating and trusting others to deliver the results that will grow the firm. According to Nina, the two mega sectors that Nastrac covers are technology and financial services, of which 80 percent is technology and 20 percent is financial services. In the technology sector, the firm works across all industries, whether it is IT consulting, software companies, product companies, consulting firms, gaming companies, securities companies and big data analytics, almost everything except telecommunications. “Within financial services, it’s mostly more to do with financial services and less of banking. So, private equity and wholesale banking are among the major areas that we deal in. The key sectors for us are IT services and IT consulting,” says Nina.
Nastrac’s forte lies in offering unparalleled business solutions within Hi-Tech and Banking & Financial services industries. Apart from this, Nastrac offers middle to senior management level hiring solutions to its clients by working closely with them to understand their working style, culture, expertise areas and future plans in order to enable them to identify ideal candidates. Machine-to-machine learning, use of Big Data & Analytics to analyse, enhance outputs and Cloud for better collaboration &workflow are amongst the latest inclusions in Nastrac's arsenal of services.
Nastrac built quality and simplicity with the automation tools and expertise that it’s team brings in. Apart from that, the firm pairs clients with the leaders who possess precisely the experience and expertise needed to pinpoint and understand the nature of the opportunities or challenges they face. Nastrac’s professionals bring deep industry expertise gained from countless hands-on experiences spanning functions, sectors, and geographies. “We have a very innovative, technologically advanced process driven approach which sets us apart from the peer group and gives us an edge in terms of our time to market to activate and send shortlisted candidates to our clients,” Nina adds.
Guiding Clients to Excellence
When it comes to offering services and understanding clients Nastrac hits the bull’s eye owing to its expertise. The company perceives their clients’major challenges and provides them consulting for how they should approach to re-ague a particular department. “We help our clients find the apt people they should be looking at and helpbuild their corporate and HR structure,” Nina expounds.
Unlike others in the space, the firm works with the companies to understand what their business needs are. “Our association with our clients and professionals is long term and we are very conscious of our track record, both
during the recruitment and selection process as well as the post selection performance of our professionals with the client,” she says proudly. When it comes to clients this value-oriented firm serves companies such as Tata, Wipro, Tech Mahindrawith IT services, whereas in IT consulting, many of the Big Four and other consulting firms are their genuine partners.
Today, with a wide array of services Nastrac is providing its clients with the best in class solutions that back them to transform into a workplace of the future. Helping clients identify the true value of an opportunity by combining its meticulous analysis with the deep industry knowledge, the firm helps clients to keep up with the market phase. The network and global footprints that the firm has in all major parts of the world gives it access to intelligence as well as the reach to good people for their clients. “We didn’t hire recruiters, we hired people from the business. People who have been on the other side of the table and who can articulate the pain and empathise with a client’s requirements. So, there was a gap which we addressed,” she adds. According to her, today, 90 percent of Nastrac’s business comes as a repeat business from their existing clients, which is a mix of very large global institutions, large regional institutions across Asia , UK & Europe , USA and Middle East& Africa.
The Building Blocks – Nastrac Team
Great organizations don’t have ivory towers occupied by leadership, they understand the importance of taking a team approach and the risks associated with unilateral leadership. Nina believes that team building is both an art and a science. A leader who can consistently build a high-performance team is worth their weight in gold. Being the Chairman of the group she does most of the strategy, expansion, key people hiring and management reviews. Nastrac which is spread out across the globe brings in an ideal method in it’s team tree. “Each of my markets has a Director, who is in a way like an independent CEO of that particular region. So they are very independent, there’s a lot of autonomy, I work and empower each one of them to make sure that they feel in control of the business,” states Nina.
The team not only practices autonomy but also gains a great entrepreneur experience with the equality that they enjoy with the company. Nastrac’s employees enjoy equity and shares within the company, which not only acts as a great motivating factor but also inculcates a feeling of ownership within the team. “The way we run our business and what they make at the end of the day both short term and long term and the compensations are much incentivised,” she adds. However, hiring the right people, engaging them in the pursuit of their dreams and giving meaning to the employees who are building the business is always a focus.
The firm’s thriving journey itself is the solid proof for its success, however, the achievements and recognitions act as further testimony to Nastrac’s stronghold within the industry. Since its inception with a steady growth in terms of value, customers and revenue, Nastrac’s journey has been truly commendable. Climbing the success ladder with an unfaltering 40 percent year-on-year growth since the last ten years, Nastrac has come a long way in its path. Starting with the Most Promising Entrepreneurship Asia and Singapore Quality Medallion award in the year 2013, since then the firm is in the limelight by achieving SME One Asia Award in the same year. In the year 2014 the firm once again proved its calibre by grabbing SME of the year Award and Asia Pacific Brands Award. This year Nastrac proved it again by bagging theAsia Best Brands and Most Promising Entrepreneur awards respectively. Today, the frim is a well known name across Asia Pac, UK & Europe and steadily building its presence in the American markets. “In India we have our national office at Mumbai and for UK, we have an office at London and Bournemouth,” Nina says.
Working Towards Empowering Youth and Women
The technology sector is the most happening industry at the moment.When it comes to data analytics, big data and IOT, there is a lot of focus, and Nastrac is eager to be prominent in this space by focusing on building competency and presence in this particular sector.Moving ahead, the firm is poised to make its journey more worthy by empowering youth and women. Perceiving the true need for empowering youth, Nina has mandated her organization to have a certain quota of young interns and fresh graduates as a compulsory part of hiring. “There’s been a lot of talk about youth unemployment over the last few years. We need to do our bit to help the society. Additionally young people infuse a contagious energy within the organization which Is also a plus for the organization,” she adds. Being a strong women entrepreneur, Nina acknowledges the need for empowering working women as well. By founding an NGO practice called RULE, the firm helps women to come back and resume their career after a long break. “It is difficult for women to come back to the corporate world, not because of anything else but more because of their lack of self-confidence as the technology industry moves at a very fast pace. So wetry to help where we can , women to return to the workforcewith confidence.”
Nastrac’s professionals bring deep industry expertise gained from countless hands-on experiences spanning functions, sectors and geographies
Nina belives that the consulting landscape has changed and there is more emphasis on the sector. Perceving the relevancy of this she has co-founed a company, which has developed a product for the HR industry. “This product aims to improve the precision of hiring and make it almost 99.99% accurate. So, in the beginning of the cycle a client would know if a candidate is hireable and whether he/she will be successful in that particular job. It’s a very ambitious project and that’s what we are going to be working on in the future,” Nina signs off.