Ability To Handle Stress, People Skills & Appetite For Risk: What Vineet Nayar, Rashmi Daga & Marico Boss Looked For In ET Young Leaders

Cheers To Young Leaders
1/12

Cheers To Young Leaders

The high profile 11-member jury looked for diverse attributes including innovative mind, keenness to learn and clarity of understanding in the candidates.

(Additional reporting by Prachi Verma Dadhwal)

Agencies
High On EQ; Analytical Mind
2/12

High On EQ; Analytical Mind

Ashish Hemrajani, Founder-CEO, Bigtree Entertainment

CEO Take
Hemrajani felt young leaders of today need to have more right-brain thinking, which is what’s going to give them a leading edge in their career. “A few of the candidates displayed this though it was missing in many. To be a leader you need that X factor,” he said.

How He Picked Them
“I was looking for people who display some sort of spark in the way they think and approach issues. For me it is to see the well-roundedness of the person, which is essential to be a leader,” he said. Communication skills, analytical mind, people skills, confidence, ability to listen and take feedback besides wearing a smile are some traits that Hemrajani looked for in the future leaders.

Candidate take
“The interaction made me think harder about some practical challenges and share a point of view. It was insightful to learn Ashish’s take on scouting wider areas of opportunity, drawing behavioural and business synergies,” says Ajinkya Deshpande, General Manager, Vodafone Idea.

“My interaction with Ashish felt like a free-fl owing conversation… What made it very enriching was some of the experiences that he shared about running BookMyShow and conversation about things they are doing with data which we can replicate in our business,” says Kriti Sethi, Manager, Strategic Initiatives, MD & CEO’S Office, Marico.

Candidates interviewed: 9
Candidates selected: 4

BCCL
Desire To Serve Society; Focus On Execution
3/12

Desire To Serve Society; Focus On Execution

Kalpana Morparia, Chairman, South and Southeast Asia, JP Morgan

CEO Take
“I’m blown by the quality of young minds. As a youngster, I was nothing like them till I discovered my life’s purpose at 25,” said Morparia. The candidates’ achievements, their idealism and how they wanted to create an impact, gave her a lot of hope for the future, she said.

How She Picked Them
Morparia said that every individual brings in his/her own biases into what leadership means to that person. “I wanted to see passion of purpose, focus on execution and a strong desire to do something for their company and the society at large,” she said.

Candidate take
“My interaction with Ms Morparia was very encouraging as she understood the need of professional leadership skills in the technology policy and governance space. She appreciated my career choices and encouraged me to use ETYL for creating larger global impact.”
- Punit Shukla, Project Lead, World Economic Forum

“The last round with Ms Morparia felt more like an enriching conversation rather than an interview. My three greatest learnings from it were to discover my calling, be willing to step outside my comfort zone and practise the action habit.
- Tanvi Sharma, Head, Strategy & Business Development, Transformer Business, Raychem RPG

Candidates interviewed: 8
Candidates selected: 4

BCCL
Well-Rounded Personality; People Skills
4/12

Well-Rounded Personality; People Skills

Harsh Mariwala, Chairman, Marico

CEO Take
Mariwala felt the quality of candidates has improved from previous years. Some of them hail from small towns and that is a good sign for India, he said. “The candidates displayed clarity of thinking, some degree of thought going into long-term career planning, and a higher degree of inclination to start businesses.”

How He Picked Them
The things that Mariwala looked for in the young leaders were their ambition, how they were preparing themselves for this, general awareness and how they kept themselves updated. He also picked them on the basis of the people skills that they demonstrated and a well-rounded personality.

Candidate take
“Mr Mariwala is a humble grounded person who made the interview a place to refl ect on my past and ponder over the future. From discussing economics and politics, only a transformational and charismatic leader like him can evoke the feeling of altruism and make one explore one’s true purpose.”
Aayush Kumar Juneja, Associate General Manager, Lodha Group

“Mr Mariwala is not just an outstanding leader, but also an amazingly humble human being. In such a short time during the interview, he not only probed my views on a wide spectrum of areas in my personal and professional life, but also looked at the broader facets that would impact business and economy and how would I manage that as a leader.”
Shashwat Sahai, Insights Manager, Castrol

Candidates interviewed: 9
Candidates selected: 5

BCCL
Ambition, Sense Of Drive; Record Of Accomplishments
5/12

Ambition, Sense Of Drive; Record Of Accomplishments

Gautam Kumra, Managing Partner, India, McKinsey & CO

CEO Take
“I was highly impressed at the quality of people I saw this year. It was distinctly better than even last year.”

How He Picked Them
Kumra was looking for drivers of motivation in young leaders. His conversations focused on understanding the ambition that led to a sense of purpose in them. “I was looking for two things. One was intrinsic factors, and the second was a record of accomplishments. I was also looking for a sense of drive and purpose; something distinctive that truly impressed me.”

Candidate take
“We talked a lot about my company and my motivations. He was really invested in the conversation. The level of questions he posed made me realise what an expert he is. It was like he knew everything about everything!”
- Abhishek Budhraja, HR Business Partner, Uber

“I thought it would be a grilling about numbers, economy and globalisation. But he asked me about me! That put me at ease. It was very interactive, with a lot of cross-questioning. He was really grounded, and not at all intimidating like I had imagined.”
- Swati Dogra, Associate Director, Strategic Initiatives, MakeMyTrip

Candidates interviewed: 9
Candidates selected: 4

Agencies
Humility in Approach; Desire to Innovate
6/12

Humility in Approach; Desire to Innovate

Shyam Srinivasan, Managing Director & CEO, Federal Bank

CEO Take
Srinivasan was impressed by the group of young candidates he met and felt the quality of candidates has improved over the years. “The young group of people displayed spark, confi dence, a can-do spirit, keenness to learn, clarity of understanding and displayed potential for future leadership,” he said. “It is a refl ection of the times. This may be the new India.”

How he Picked Them
Srinivasan looked for people with an X factor; people who not only have a robust understanding of their domain, but also have an overall understanding of the world around them. His selection was based on the extra edge and spark that the candidates displayed, humility in approach and a desire to innovate and walk that extra mile. He asked the candidates about their leadership role models to understand their approach and ways of thinking.

Candidate take
“It was more a conversation than an interview and I was left thinking even once the interview was over. It was great to hear about Federal Bank’s digital journey from Mr Srinivasan.”
Vivian Gonsalves, Brand Manager, Marico

“This was my second interaction with Mr Srinivasan post last year’s fi nal round and he remembered each and everything we had discussed last time. This time my discussions went into details of how I have evolved as a person and as a leader especially over last one year. ”
Sourabh Bansal, Lead, Financial Planning and Analysis, South Asia, Cochlear.

Candidates interviewed: 9
Candidates selected: 6

BCCL
General Awareness; Ability to Deal With Stress
7/12

General Awareness; Ability to Deal With Stress

Amitabh Chaudhry, Managing Director & CEO, Axis Bank

CEO Take
“They are all ambitious people who want to do well,” said Chaudhry. He was impressed with the overall quality of candidates, though a few, he felt, would take some more time to come into their own.

How He Picked Them
Clarity of thought, leadership qualities, articulation and response to stress were the attributes Chaudhry evaluated the candidates on. “I was trying to probe their experiences outside of academics and also whether they showed potential as leaders,” he said.

Candidate take
“It was a great conversation covering a variety of themes related to the industry I work in. I enjoyed the segments where Mr Chaudhry asked me for my view on different subjects.”
Mithali Raghavan, Assistant Vice President, Investment Products, Citibank India

“Meeting Mr Chaudhry was an enriching experience. I was nervous before walking into the room, but he made me feel at ease. We spoke on a range of topics, where he shared his perspective and even gave me constructive feedback.”
Sanchit Gulabani, Manager, Cushman & Wakefield India

Candidates interviewed: 9
Candidates selected: 4

BCCL
Clarity Of Purpose; Learning From Mistakes
8/12

Clarity Of Purpose; Learning From Mistakes

Rekha Menon Chairman and Senior Managing Director, Accenture India

CEO Take
“All the candidates I interviewed were excellent and very varied, representing different backgrounds, sectors, corporate and non-corporate organisations, and maturity levels. While it was a long day, I was energised by the end of it, because of the enthusiasm and curiosity displayed by the candidates. In the last segment they had the opportunity to ask me any questions they wanted, and those questions were very interesting and revealing.”

How She Picked Them
Menon was looking for passion, clarity of purpose, ability to learn from mistakes, curiosity and focus on learning. She picked those who had considered the consequences of their actions, thought long-term, and dreamed big.

Candidate take
“Ms Menon asked about a lot of my choices and challenged quite a few thoughts I had about my career trajectory. Her questions inspired me to think deeper about some decisions I have made in the past. In the last few minutes, she said I could ask her anything, and I asked her what her purpose in life was. Her answer left me with some great thoughts to work on, and I plan to convert those into actionable insights.”
Shanti Verghese, Partner — Expansion, Cure.fit

“Ms Menon came off as very down to earth. I was dealing with a personal crisis of sorts when I went in for the interview, but she made me feel at ease, and gave me some great advice on how, as a leader, we must let people face their own challenges. The conversation fl owed very organically and naturally, and she told me that despite my career trajectory being highly unusual, my core values were in the right place. That was great validation for me.”
Raj Parakh, Co-founder, Fabulyst

Candidates interviewed: 8
Candidates selected: 4

BCCL
Communication Skills; Ability to Listen
9/12

Communication Skills; Ability to Listen

Rashmi Daga, CEO, FreshMenu

CEO Take
“The candidates were all very competent and articulate. Quite a few of them were at similar levels in terms of qualifications and seniority. However, most of the candidates were from the sales and marketing functions. In the future, it might be interesting to have more representation from more diverse functions like HR, operations, supply chain, or even those from a factory supervision background.”

How She Picked Them
Daga was looking for how candidates were able to transfer their learnings across roles and companies. She judged the interviewees on humility alongside leadership capabilities. Some of the red flags that she picked up from candidates who did not make the cut were self-obsession, a tendency to talk more than listen, and not having any interests or activities outside of work.

Candidate take
“The short time I spent with Rashmi helped me see myself in a different light, challenged my thinking about my career and abilities. The conversation with her was free and easygoing even though I was pretty nervous at the beginning. She asked me some very pointed questions and even offered some valuable career advice, which I will try and put into practice.”
Lakshay Kamboj, General Sales Manager, Market Operations, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages

Candidates interviewed: 9
Candidates selected: 4

BCCL
Strategic Thinking; Hunger to Drive Results
10/12

Strategic Thinking; Hunger to Drive Results

Karan Singh, Managing Director, Bain & Company. (INDIA)

CEO Take
“I was very impressed with the candidates. The common traits I found in them were that they were all high achievers, driven, diligent and optimistic about the future.”

How He Picked Them
“I was looking for candidates who were bold in their aspiration, had a track record of achievement and demonstrated ambition. I was also looking at a person who is self-aware, humble, balanced and provided evidence of hunger, driving results and leading teams effectively. Besides, I was also seeking demonstration of strategic thinking, strong inspirational leadership and the capability to see the bigger picture.”

Candidate take
“It seemed like he was genuinely interested in knowing about me. I think he’s an authentic person who enables others to be themselves. I learned that the authenticity of the interviewer is also as important as that of the person being interviewed.”
Rahul Seth, Divisional Sales, HR Manager, Marico

“Since I’m also a consultant, a lot of the interview was focused on consulting life. He was very thorough, and discussed everything till the end. We discussed trends in the industry, especially pharmaceuticals—we both had that in common. He really pushed me for insights. The discussion forced me to think about what I’m not doing well. There was even a moment when we discussed how important personal life is.”
Vishnukaant Pitty, Engagement Manager, McKinsey

Candidates interviewed: 9
Candidates selected: 4

Agencies
Analytical Mind; Resultoriented Attitude
11/12

Analytical Mind; Resultoriented Attitude

Aruna Jayanthi, Managing Director, A-Pac and Latam Business Unit, Capgemini

CEO Take
Jayanthi felt that the quality of candidates who made it through to the final interviews was excellent. “I was very impressed by their clarity on their job, industry and what they are wanting to do with themselves. They are extremely self-aware,” she said.

How She Picked Them
Jayanthi chose candidates based on various attributes. Some she liked for their analytical minds and domain knowledge; some for their drive, dedicated and result-oriented attitude; yet others for being passionate and bold in their choice of a career.

Candidate take
“It was an incredible experience. Ms Jayanthi covered a diverse set of topics from my personal and professional life and had a very unique style of questioning which made me discover several things about myself which I hadn’t noticed before.”
Prashansa Jiwrajka, Associate, Investment Banking, JP Morgan

“It was an extremely dynamic interaction where I was evaluated across fi elds. It was so inspiring meeting Ms Jayanthi and the way she made me feel comfortable.”
Nidhi Muley, Manager, Product Planning, Mahindra & Mahindra

Candidates interviewed: 8
Candidates selected: 4

BCCL
Drive to Innovate; Appetite for Risk
12/12

Drive to Innovate; Appetite for Risk

Vineet Nayar, Founder Chairman, Sampark Foundation

CEO Take
“The candidates were exceptionally good. The selected candidates were centered, high on risk taking with an immense innovation drive. There was the enthusiasm of youth and appetite for risk in some of the candidates among the pool interviewed.”

How He Picked Them
Nayar was looking at qualities and information beyond that mentioned in the resume. He was testing candidates for real-life experiences. He was looking for candidates with out-of-thebox ideas at both the corporate front and personal level.

Candidate take
“Initially, I was very nervous. Vineet makes you both at ease and uncomfortable. He switches from one question to another that had me on my toes. So I had to be quick in thinking and responding. This must have been as he wanted me to think and respond without giving fake responses. He pushed me to think about my present moment. I could see the big picture at the end of the interview.”
Deepika Mathur, HR-Business Partner, Vodafone Idea

“It was not a conventional kind of an interview. We did not stick to the resume but it was more free fl owing about my personal interest to my background. I was stumped when I was asked to pick up a book and sing out the lines written. Was also a great experience to ask a CEO some words of career advice. A good experience overall.”
Sahil Kaul, International Growth Manager, Oyo UK

Candidates interviewed: 8
Candidates selected: 4

BCCL

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