Iqbal Kaur: An Indomitable Wayfarer, an Avid Alpinist, and a Dauntless Datapreneur

Analytics is one of best things that has ever happened in my life. It was purely accidental. Back in 2001, when I was working for GE Countrywide (now GE Money), my professor of Economics from business school (XIMB), Dr. Shrikant Dash was heading the Analytics Centre of Excellence (AcoE) for GE Capital. And one fine day he pinged me and asked me if I was bored of my current role yet – and I promptly answered ‘Yes.’ Rest, as they say, is history. A few weeks later I left the Risk Operations role, where I was leading 100 team members across 14 locations to be an individual contributor in the credit card risk analytics team for GE Capital. My intention was to learn risk analytics and a few years later, join a bank in India in risk management role. Little did I know that my love for analytics will outweigh my interest in risk and finance – so here I am still doing analytics 🙂

My mother has been a key factor in me reaching where I am in my life today. She has had a tough life. I was very young when my father got bedridden, and my mother had to work as a door-to-door salesgirl in the heat of Delhi to provide me good school education. She wore herself out so that I could study and do well in life. Outside the economic situation also, she suffered many setbacks and health issues – but she never lost faith in herself. She stood strong in worst of the times, and even today whenever going gets tough, I draw strength from her. Another person who inspires me is my friend and spouse – Pankaj Bagri. He has had multiple life-threatening medical conditions, and he calls himself lucky. Why? Because he survived them all! How can such spirit not inspire you!!!

I believe that you should not be afraid to do something that scares you. Adventure is out there, and great journeys are waiting to be experienced. So, it is imperative that we get off the couch and start our company or open that café or climb that mountain…whatever it is that we have put on hold because of our fears. Anything I do – be it part of being start-up or hiking in the cold desert landscape of the Himalayas, I ask myself one question: Does this have the potential to be a great journey? If the answer is YES, then I take the risk and roll the dice. I do everything for the Journey and the learning that it provides. A key goal of my life is to stay fit. I suffer from a condition called Fibromyalgia, and in 2009-2010 it had reduced me to almost an invalid. Once I lost my health, I realized its true value – ever since I have worked on getting back into shape and getting fitter. So, I work out daily, and that also helps me with my trekking.

I have a long list of movies on my watch list, I like baking, I am a good bartender, I enjoy dancing to Bollywood music and, I love to travel & hike. I hike because I just love mountains and the proximity that I seek with them cannot be achieved by going to a hill station and staying in resorts. I love the way rivers gush at speed through the narrow valleys; I marvel at the towering white beauties and the way their peaks look like molten gold when bathed in the rays of the early morning sun. My dream is to someday climb a 7000-m high peak – in the near to short-term I am targeting 6000 m peak(s) – may be in 2018 I will be able to accomplish it!

Meet Iqbal Kaur: An Indomitable Wayfarer, an Avid Alpinist, and a Dauntless Datapreneur.

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