Atreyee Maitra - Being Self-Aware Is Not Only a Requirement but a Must (Deputy Director - Myntra)

I believe classroom learning and practical application of concepts are very different things. Whenever I interview people, I look for a candidate’s ability to think logically, analyze and apply their existing knowledge to situations. 

Tell us about your background, journey, and upbringing.

I belong to a family of doctors and I’m the youngest of three daughters. My mother is a homemaker with an MSc in biochemistry and she has devoted all her time to make us women with strong characters who do not bow down under societal pressure. 

My father has been a very busy and compassionate doctor who has taught us the values of life through example. Education for all three of us was taken very seriously and we were always taught to do things wholeheartedly. 

I have done my schooling in Kolkata and I chose a combination of Arts subjects for junior college even though I had performed very well in the science subjects. A lot of people doubted my decision but I am somebody who loves exploring human relationships, different cultures, the psychology of various people, and why they behave the way they behave.

I had thoroughly enjoyed those two years. Then I went on to join law school in Bangalore away from family when I learned that staying independently also means handling a lot more responsibilities along with having fun. 

I was always someone who wanted to understand the logic behind everything and that’s what makes me enjoy being a lawyer.

How did you rise to the highest echelons and what are your future plans?

Since I didn’t have any lawyers in the family, I was quite clueless in the beginning, but I was determined to work upon every single opportunity that comes my way and utilize it in the best possible way. I think I have been very fortunate to always work with great people and I have had amazing mentors. 

In the future, I want to diversify my area of expertise, be in places where I have something new to learn every single day, and also want to mentor people who need it. Most importantly, I want to be a “business enabling lawyer” while not letting the guards down.

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What does your typical workday look like?

My typical workday starts with quickly responding to my e-mails and building a to-do list for the day. This is usually followed by a number of meetings to discuss new business opportunities, advising from a legal perspective, brainstorming with different stakeholders and team members to find out workable solutions, often putting my foot down to safeguard the company’s interests and then working on drafts to put all the discussions into action. 

I’m also quite particular about assisting and training my team members since I’m a firm believer in team spirit.

Several global companies have come out and thrown their support behind not needing a formal education. What is your opinion about this?

I believe classroom learning and practical application of concepts are very different things. Whenever I interview people, I look for a candidate’s ability to think logically, analyze and apply their existing knowledge to situations. 

While formal education helps to structure the knowledge transfer to students, I am not a supporter of going with candidates only because they have a degree from a certain university. 

I think it’s important to provide opportunities to everyone who is competent. Hence, I would urge companies to identify talent instead of relying on academic credentials.

How do you handle someone who has lied on their resume?

I do not rely on interview questions based on rote learning. So, it is quite easy to spot if anyone is lying on their resume. Also, I look out for people’s attitudes in interviews. 

I’m happy to help someone scale up if he or she has potential and the right attitude towards work but having integrity issues at the interview level causes a strong repulsion.

How has covid changed things at your workplace & which of these changes do you intend to make permanently?

While Covid has turned the world upside down, I think people have started accepting the fact that it is possible to work from home efficiently. I always thought that we wasted a lot of time traveling and on super packed days, I would rather spend that time on getting some work done and being productive.

However, people need to understand that working from home does not mean that someone has to be available for work throughout the day. Exceptions can be made in a few situations but there has to be a cut-off time. 

However, I would prefer a hybrid model of working where working from an office is also required for a few days in the week since that helps to keep the energy high and improve team bonding.


What advice do you have for those starting their career and those who are eyeing the top job?

There are no shortcuts and being true to yourself is extremely important. If you want to reach somewhere, you need to work towards it slowly and steadily and never try to pull anyone down in order to go up. 

Also, being self-aware is not only a requirement but a must. You should not want something just because someone else is doing it or it looks fancy. You should identify your areas of interest and skillsets.

Which is your favorite book/show and why?

My favorite book is Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. I love the way the book is written. The author touches upon very practical issues and states that gender equality is a simple concept where both genders just need to work together to make it a reality. 

It’s an ongoing process. There is nothing like an absolute “right” or “wrong” thing, it’s about what each woman wants for herself and how to work towards achieving
that. It’s absolutely okay to be having different aspirations than others but just be true to yourself. I love the sentence “Don’t leave before you leave.”.

Bio - 

Currently, I am a part of the B2B legal team of Walmart-owned Flipkart Group of companies. I advise teams across Myntra, Flipkart, Walmart India regarding B2B transactions, matters concerning the wholesale platforms, and the private labels part of the business. 

My areas of work include reviewing deals from FDI, Press Note 3, Press Note 2, Legal Metrology, E-commerce Rules, and Contract Law perspective, negotiating agreements with suppliers, service providers, manufacturers, banks, sellers, etc.

I also assist in reviewing policy documents and drafting terms and conditions for various offers. I help business teams in developing innovative solutions to improve the e-commerce industry. 

I deep dive into matters to understand business transactions end-to-end and try providing legally compliant and workable solutions.

I explain legal issues to business and finance teams in simplified terms in order to build strategies for negotiation and ensure deal closures and business solutions are reached in record time through partnership.

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