Some people are born to be leaders. And when a woman makes a mark in the male dominated domain, it is nothing but laudable. Women these days are coming out of the deep-rooted prejudices and maligns of the society and are making a mark in every sphere. And when it comes to banking, the job requirements are all the more challenging. And yet, women have taken the role of business tycoons and are doing full justice to it.
One of them is Arundhati Bhattacharya.
Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson of the SBI, topped the list of most powerful businesswomen in India.
According to Fortune India, Arundhati has maintained her position in the most powerful businesswomen list. The magazine claimed that SBI’s financials show her successful tenure.
She has been instrumental in pushing several reforms.
While we are happy and feel proud of her, here are some lesser known facts about the SBI’s head honcho:
1. She has a flair for English
Coming from a family where her father was an electrical engineer and mother practiced homeopathy, Arundhati had a flair for English literature. Her creative side was richer and therefore, she was advised to pursue English literature for her graduation.
She took English literature as a subject in her graduation from Kolkata’s Lady Brabourne College and post graduation from Jadavpur University.
2. She is the first woman to head a 208-year-old public sector bank
She is the first woman to be a Chairperson of State Bank of India and superseded 3 male colleagues to become one.
3. Banking just happened, it was never in her horizon
During her post graduation days, she had heard about the PO (Probationary Officer) exam. Just because the post of PO offered a good salary, she went ahead and gave the exam with her hostel friends.
In the year 1977, she joined SBI as the PO. She was 22 years old then.
4. With no MBA background, she has steered the bank ahead by taking up various roles.
Arundhati has taken up various roles in her 38-year-old career stint. She worked in foreign exchange, treasury, retail operations, human resources and investment banking.
She has been instrumental in launching various reforms like SBI General Insurance, SBI Custodial Services and the SBI Macquarie Infrastructure Fund.
She transformed the bank from state-run lender into a customer-friendly bank. To know about her achievements in detail, read this.
5. She loves working out of her comfort zone
Professionally, that is what drives her. She doesn’t see her career in SBI as one job. Instead, she sees it as a combination of 11 jobs. From Human Resources to Investment Banking, she has taken up various roles. She has faced many challenges and these are exactly what has led to her growth. With a confident streak, she says, ”If you take the plunge, you will somehow manage to swim across.”
6. Not many know, but she was going to leave SBI in the year 2006
This happened when she was posted as the General Manger in Lucknow in the year 2006. She wanted to leave SBI because she couldn’t find a proper school for her son.
Her former boss M.S. Verma intervened and told her that it would not be a good idea.
7. She has been successful in removing this perception – Public sector banks are laggards, particularly in technology
Piyush Singh, MD of Accenture’s Financial Services said that she has been instrumental in proving this notion wrong. She also introduced digital branches of SBI.
Arundhati has joined the league of Chanda Kochar and Shikha Sharma. She is a perfect role model for any aspiring female banker across the country.
We are proud of you, Arundhati Bhattacharya!