Sonia studied at Mumbai University and traces her interest in research and data analysis to college days. For one such project, Sonia studied the reasons for the success of Mumbai's dabbawalas. Dabbawalas, literally lunch-bringers, deliver more than 175,000 lunch boxes every day to working professionals from their home to their office. A lunch box changes hands several times as it is carried across the city via train, bicycle and hand-cart without computers and sometimes being sorted by dabbawalas who are not literate , but it reaches its destination with six sigma accuracy and total punctuality. Sonia shadowed two dabbawalas for a week and came to understand how the systems’s success depends on clear allocation of responsibilities, well understood rules and precise communication.
After graduating with a degree in management studies, Sonia joined Tata Strategic Management Group (TSMG), a consulting firm affiliated with the Tata Group, one of India’s most highly regarded conglomerates. As part of the infrastructure group, Sonia conducted independent research and handled large data sets for a variety of projects. In a project for a private equity firm, Sonia evaluated investment opportunities across the water cycle, starting from desalination of sea water to final treatment of used water. Sonia was not convinced that the data provided by outside vendors was complete, a frequent concern in India, so she cold-called engineers working for the government and in the private sector to get practitioner’s perspective on the various technologies and the supply-demand balance in each segment.
Sonia joined India Capital Research in 2008. At ICR, Sonia supports the analysis of investment ideas, which includes working with proprietary data sets of several million discrete fields, as well as more qualitative projects. In one such project, Sonia interviewed teenagers in a number of midsize cities to test the commonly assumed good brand standing of a domestic apparel manufacturer. Her interviews and store visits undermined the market assumption and identified an increasing preference among affluent students for global brands.
Outside of work, Sonia enjoys reading and on weekends she tutors a group of children who live on the streets of her neighborhood. Sonia lives in Andheri, Mumbai.