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MBAs on the Move

Namrata Gandhi’s Finance Experience Helped Her Level Up at Riot Games

Namrata Gandhi

  • Head of Finance, Worldwide Publishing – Riot Games
  • University of Chicago Booth School of Business (MBA, 2009)
  • Indiana University (BS, Computer Information Systems and Business Process Management, 2003)

Growing up in the United Arab Emirates, Namrata Gandhi became conversant in the parlance of the oil and gas industry. But instead of following that path, she joined GE’s leadership development program after graduating from Indiana University and later worked in investment banking at Merrill Lynch. Namrata now applies the leadership skills and rigor she gained from these transformative work experiences to her role as the Head of Finance for Riot Games’ Worldwide Publishing Group. Namrata finds the innovative, evolving, and global culture of the gaming industry exciting and rewarding.

What attracted you to be part of this campaign?

The majority of my career has been in male-dominated industries, including computer science, cleantech, and now gaming. Forté convenes inspiring women to break glass ceilings and cultivate courageous discussions to advance gender equity. Women need to see that there is a pathway for them into senior leadership, and it can happen if we share our stories, and help elevate and support one another.

 

Video games have rapidly grown into a $120B+ industry while expanding beyond its traditional lanes.

 

BEING PART OF THE BOOMING GAMING INDUSTRY

Tell me about the gaming industry.

Video games have been around a long time, but in the last few years it has been growing rapidly into a $120B+ industry while expanding beyond its traditional lanes – it is hypercompetitive, experimental, and constantly evolving. The gaming industry will provide exciting opportunities to many professionals with MBAs.

What exactly does Riot Games do, and what does your role as Head of Finance, Worldwide Publishing entail?

Riot Games develops and publishes games such as League of Legends, Valorant, Legends of Runeterra. Worldwide Publishing is a 700-person organization within Riot across 16+ global offices that focuses on creating engaging, authentic experiences for players on- and offline. I am responsible for its financial actions and strategies, and we are just getting started on all that we can do as a multi-game publisher for these passionate communities.

What do you like about your job?

My job provides exciting challenges because I get to focus on building something from the ground up: a team, a culture, and the vision and mission for the group. I strongly align with Riot’s mission to be the most player-focused company in the world; my role allows me to apply my deep functional expertise to ensure we constantly deliver on player expectations.

Also, I am one of two female leaders in publishing; it’s important to have representation on the leadership bench because it adds unique perspectives when approaching a problem.

 

Forté convenes inspiring women to break glass ceilings and cultivate courageous discussions to advance gender equity.

 

FORMATIVE CAREER STOPS: GENERAL ELECTRIC AND INVESTMENT BANKING

You started your career at GE Capital after graduating from Indiana University. What attracted you to business?

I was born and raised in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) about a decade after the country was founded. Experiencing the transformation of a young country that saw changes happening very quickly because of oil and commercialization piqued an early interest in business.

I thrive in tackling big business challenges, such as launching a product in a new market. Collaborating with people with different expertise to solve uncharted challenges keeps business invigorating.

What were some critical stops on your professional path? What do you think have been some of the keys to your success?

Two experiences have had the most impact:

  • Joining GE at the start of my career and going through their leadership program taught me the value of developing a unique leadership style that can evolve wherever I go.
  • Going into investment banking was career-defining; showing my work through a public forum – with presentations to a c-suite or board of directors – taught me a rigor that has stayed with me since. Working with different personalities in a hyper-focused, stressful environment raises the stakes of what you think is the best you can do.

 

An MBA is a catalyst to explore your career potential and pursue dreams you didn’t know were available.

 

MBA: AN INVESTMENT THAT LASTS BEYOND TWO YEARS

Why did you make earning an MBA a part of your journey, and how has it helped you?

I decided to get an MBA focusing on finance and economics to be able to do what I’m doing today, which is to help companies achieve their strategic goals. The dividends the MBA has paid are tenfold compared to cost – it opens up unparalleled opportunities and a network you can count on for years to come. An MBA is a catalyst to explore your career potential and pursue dreams you didn’t even know were available.

CAREER LESSONS: CONSTANTLY EVOLVE

Any career blunders you are willing to share because you learned something really constructive in the end?

My early career was focused on individual contributions, which resulted in various promotions. However, as my career progressed, I had to evolve my strengths, adapt, get out of the trenches, cultivate a strong team, and lead effectively to drive towards shared successes.


Career advice:
My best advice was from my dad. Never give up that tenacity you have when you’re young. It will power you through hard times and lift you higher during good ones. Don’t sell yourself short by listening to your doubts; keep that fire burning that propels you forward.

Favorite quotes:
“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford

Book recommendation:
What Got You Here Can’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith

Song that makes her turn up the volume:
Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen; my favorite line is: “You can’t start a fire without a spark.”

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