Joel Pannikot or “Punny-Quote” that he is better known as, is the Head, Asia-Pacific at the CMT Association. He is an education business leader with more than 2 decades of experience across several industries including proprietary trading, commercial education, corporate training, K-12, and continuing professional education.
At his tenure with India Liaison Office at the CMT Association, Joel works to advance the discipline of technical analysis through industry partnerships, educational programming, and brand positioning presenting to investment firms, universities, exchanges and prospective candidates about the value of the CMT designation.
Joel is a Mechanical Engineer from Nagpur and a PG Diploma in Innovation and Design Thinking from Emeritus with MIT.
We had a conversation with Joel Pannikot on academics, career, BRS, and more. Here are the excerpts from the BRS exclusive conversation with Joel, in his signature witty style.
Joel Pannikot talks about his “adventurous” career
BRS: Joel, please tell us about your journey from engineering to education.
Joel: Like Samuel L. Jackson in the movie Pulp Fiction, “I had what alcoholics refer to as ‘a moment of clarity’”, that decided the course of my career. That however comes after the first year of my career. I have now completed 20.
In the last century, if you did not know what you wanted to do after class 10, you chose science. If you were confused after class 12, you chose engineering. After engineering, the logical choice for the clueless was an MBA. So, I joined a prep class to prepare for the CAT. At the end of my final year, I had an admission offer, and a job offer to join the prep class as a faculty member. On one hand was a safe, predictable career in the corporate world. On the other, there was adventure. That is where I got off the beaten track. I took the job.
By the end of 2001, I was in love with education.
BRS: And what was your “moment of clarity”?
Joel: With love comes pain, and mine was at the state my students were in. Most of them were my age or a year younger, but had little self-awareness, lesser application, and a severe addiction to supplementary training. This pain turned to annoyance, and eventually became a rage against a system that focussed more on learning a disjointed collection of facts, than developing critical thinking, or far more critically, introspection.
That was when my “moment of clarity” happened. I decided that if something had to be done, I should do it. I also decided that day that I would first take a decade to learn more about myself, and the world I intend to change. I went on to work in the event management industry, in music marketing, a little pharma biz dev. Funnily, my skill at puzzles got me a job trading interest rate derivatives on European and American exchanges. I stayed here from the end of 2004 to the subprime crisis.
BRS: Wow, that’s impressive and intense as life’s experience!
Joel: Absolutely. This unexpected detour ended up being the most intense learning experiences of my life. I learned about the financial markets, about interest rates and macroeconomics. Above all, I learned about myself. I learned about my greed and my fear, and every cognitive bias that I was susceptible to, over and over. I learned about what it takes to break through these mental barriers, and why it was easier said than done.
That led me to my first foray into education entrepreneurship. I started a corporate training company that helped traders overcome their cognitive biases to break past their “financial glass ceiling”. Later, we applied the same principles to train salespeople, sportspersons, doctors, coaches and even students across universities and business schools.
BRS: Please tell us about your journey at Bloomberg.
Joel: Soon after my first stint with ed-startup, life happened, and I had to shut down that company in 2010. I joined Bloomberg, the world's largest financial information and analytics company. The entrepreneurship bug however had bitten me hard, and my love for education never left me. These two led me to build the education business for Bloomberg in India.
At that time, there were only 2 terminals in business schools across India. By the time I left in late 2017, there were over 300. I scaled my business model across the Asia Pacific, and was involved in key global education projects, while also engaging with Bloomberg customers across all other industries.
BRS: What were the educational projects you worked on?
Joel: After Bloomberg I spent a year in the social sector, as CEO of a 4-year-old Ed-tech social enterprise, to help them pivot their business model. Here, we also set up teachaclass.org, India’s first funding platform for teachers.
I then went on to found Peak You, my current start-up to solve volunteer motivation and management through data science and technology. This was when the CMT Association was looking to set up its operations in India. My experience across Finance, Education and Technology was a perfect fit. Meanwhile, Peak You was growing into an OD consultancy.
BRS: We’ve learnt that you are a movie-buff, a foodie, and an avid traveller. But what interests us the most is your Twitter handle, @PunnyQuote. Would you like to share some PunnyQuotes?
Joel (laughs): Asking me to come up with punnyquotes is like asking a windmill if it is a big metal fan. I used to be indecisive; now I'm not so sure. Speaking about professional life, I have a few jokes about unemployed people, but none of them work.
Jokes apart though, I have had the privilege to work across the entire learner life cycle in the education industry. K-12, Higher Ed, Commercial Ed, and now Continuing Ed. At every stage, learning from role models is critical.
BRS: We are excited to hear you speak at Bull Run Summit. How do you feel about it?
Joel: The Bull Run Summit has put together an impressive roster of role models for investors, long term and short. Being able to spend three days with such minds from across India is exciting. Everyone should attend large-format learning events like the Bull Run Summit, because it gives an opportunity to experience a very diverse set of perspectives. It helps veterans refine their thought process, and novices hear of others’ journeys before they embark on their own.
BRS: What do we expect you to speak about at Bull Run Summit?
Joel: At the Bull Run Summit, I will be speaking about Trading Psychology.
Innate human biases and emotions determine our choices. A trader’s mindset decides how much profit they can make, or what loss they might incur. Learning about trading psychology makes investors aware of the pitfalls of negative psychological tendencies and helps them to develop more positive traits. Traders who understand this generally do not act on bias or emotion. Ergo, they are likely to make a profit and keep it.
“Trading doesn't just reveal your character, it also builds it if you stay in the game long enough.”― Yvan Byeajee, Paradigm Shift: How to cultivate equanimity in the face of market uncertainty
BRS: Thanks so much Joel. Can’t wait to hear you speak this July.
Joel: See you all soon!
Joel at Bull Run Summit
Joel joins us at BULL RUN SUMMIT from 23rd to 25th July 2021 to educate us on Trading Psychology. Register at https://bullrunsummit.com to hear @PunnyQuote live.
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