For all those women aspiring to be a banker, this post is bound to excite you! Let’s take you through the inspirational career story of an Indian woman banker – Arundhati Bhattacharya, the first woman chairperson of the State Bank of India.
Born to Prodyut Kumar Banarjee, Arundhatti Bhattacharya belongs to a Bengali family. Her father worked at the Bhilai Steel Plant and mother Kalyani Mukherjee was a Homeopathy Consultant in Bokaro. Arundhatti’s husband is an ex-professor of IIT Kharagpur.
The Indian women banker Arundhatti completed her schooling from the St. Xavier’s School, Bokaro. Seeing her proficiency in English Literature, Arundhatti’s teacher encouraged her to pursue her further studies in the subject. Though, her father wanted her to be an engineer but she was never forced to take up engineering. She heeded the advice of her teachers and completed her graduation at the Kolkata’s Lady Brabourne College and earned her post-graduation degree from the Jadavpur University.
After completing her education, Arundhatti tried her luck in the Probationary Officer (PO) exam of SBI along with half-a-dozen of her college mates. Interestingly, banking as a career was never her first option. It was her father’s retirement that provoked her to look for a job. She had a keen interest in print journalism and wanted to author a book.
The Indian women banker joined as a PO in SBI in 1977. As a part of her job, she was posted in all the corners of the country. Each task as a part of her profile was very challenging.
“Retail is very different from corporate”, Arundhatti said.
Being a working mother it was difficult for Arundhati to achieve success in career and life. When Bhattacharya was promoted as a GM in 2006, she thought of quitting her job. The reason was finding a proper school for her daughter, Sukriti. Her loved ones had supported her immensely to climb up the ladder of success. She expressed her gratitude by saying, “All credit goes to my family members, who have made a lot of sacrifices, for what I am today.”
2009 was a rewarding year for her as she was promoted as the Chief General Manager. She introduced the option of general insurance and the platform of mobile banking. As a professional, the Indian women banker Arundhatti always wanted to work out of her comfort zone. With great vitality, she handled the post of the Deputy Managing Director and Corporate Development Officer for two years from November 2010. Post which, she was promoted as the Managing Director and CEO of SBI Capital, a subsidiary of the bank. Arundhatti superseded three male colleagues to gain the control as the first woman Chairperson of the State Bank of India. Prior to which, she chaired the office of the CFO of the bank in 2013. As the first women chairperson of the bank, she also wanted to meet the expectations of women employees, who constituted 20 percent of the SBI workforce. She has taken a lot of initiatives for the welfare of women employees including a transfer policy, which allow women to be close to their family and considered some flexible timing and temporary deputation.
If looking back, Arundhatti does not see her 37 years of career in SBI as one job. It is a combination of 11 jobs. Starting with her first assignment at the Kolkata main branch in the foreign exchange wing, she has covered the gamut of retail banking, corporate banking, a stint in the US, rural banking, new business, metro business, HR, investment banking and finally as the Chief Financial Officer of the bank ahead of her chairpersonship.
Recently in 2016, Arundhati was named as the 25th most powerful women in the world by the Forbes and the 4th most powerful women in Asia Pacific by the Fortune. Bhattacharya said, “When you actually tread that path, things get resolved themselves. And nothing is as bad as it seems to be, if you plunge, you will somehow manage to swim across.” She loves to call herself chairman of the bank, not the chairperson.
The final word:
Clearly, Arundhatti Bhattacharya is a powerful woman and a role model. Her success story will exalt many women to contend for top jobs or take banking as a career.
Do you find the career story of the SBI chairperson inspiring? Share your views…. Tell us other such inspiring personalities that exalt your spirit.