O.P.Bhatt Chairman, State Bank of India (SBI)

“It is difficult to find a single word that will do justice to what Malvika is. She is intelligent, confident, sensitive, competent, infectious, pleasant, inspirational and a born optimist.
I met her about three years ago. I had a variety of objectives in mind. My organization was in the throes of transformation and as the driver of change I needed help, both for the organization and for myself, in steering the organization through change. I also thought that it would be a good idea to simultaneously rope her in to seek advice on how to plan for and equip myself for a vocation after retirement.
Quite a potpourri of objectives, and in hindsight quite stupid on my part. But Malvika was unfazed. She smilingly accepted the challenge. There was a subtle change in my interactions with her after that. She remained pleasant, affable and unflappable; but a certain discipline and rigor, a little hint of steel, crept in everything related to my objectives.
She was patient with her time, but demanding of me of what I need to do, how, when, in what sequence and time frame.
She was generous with her gifts of knowledge, books and other technical contents, but in return wanted these to be fully explored and utilized.
One of the things in institution building I did was to periodically meet and interact with my senior executives in groups of 20 to 30 in an offsite for continuously for 2 to 5 days. The discussions were a mix of free flowing and structured, formal and informal. And in some of these Malvika was at the centre of it. Doing MBTI, listening to group work and presentations, correcting, motivating, inspiring – all with a smile and a flourish. Her rapport with the audience was instant and intense. No sooner would Malvika start speaking, there would be rapt attention. Her acceptance and credibility was high. Some magic did happen in terms of attitudinal changes, confidence building, etc with these senior people, for since then my organization has done tremendously well, in multiple dimensions, a well documented fact.
I am glad I met her and that she is who she is. I think I have matured as a person and as a leader. More insights, more patience, more mental tools. I have now been retired for almost a year and my second innings is taking off more or less as I had imagined.”