20 Feb 2015 20:06 IST

Corporate investigator, what?

Not unconventional in the West, but is still in India

I have this bucket theory – we are always trying to bucket things and people into two categories, acceptable and deviant.

The results are more than often solely based on our own perception. The said theory has also come to apply to the most common question in our modern day lives: “So what do you do?”

Being an engineer, doctor, lawyer, IAS officer or banker is generally approved of. However, if your answer is something like “corporate investigator”, you might get an interesting reaction.

What do i do?

It is then that I get to hear that I do not look like an investigator. I am also asked what my parents think of my profession.

At other times, I am even grilled on my knowledge of surveillance methodologies, interrogation techniques and case studies to be assured that I am not rattling off points from my company’s information sheet.

To set the record straight, corporate investigators act as a safeguard against the fraudulent or anti-management activities taking place within the corporate sector. Some what like a vigilance commissioner.

This is not an unconventional career in the West, but for the female corporate investigators in India, we are the new age of myth-breakers.

It amuses people when a few like us, armed with degrees from the finest colleges, opt for careers that were unheard of for girls even five years ago. However, as more women are opting for alternative careers, we are giving the society a break from the usual professions.

There’s no denying that it does feel good to see expressions change when you talk about an undercover operation or an investigation that makes people wonder about your daily routine.


There’s more to it than the excitement on the surface. Walking the unconventional path also means being ever-ready to put in the extra effort to prove oneself and establish that there’s more to the professional side of you. It means going the extra mile to not only learn but also master things, because if you fail your gender will be considered as the cause for the failure.

What makes me glad, more than client appreciation of a crucial investigative closure, is when my neighbour’s teenage daughter walks up to me and asks me what subjects she should opt for, in junior college, to be an investigator.

I see her father’s encouraging smile. The times are changing and it is wonderful to be a part of the change.

Sagarika Chakraborty is an alumna of Indian School of Business, Hyderabad and works for a corporate investigations firm.