Silicon India Interview - Chiranjit Banerjee's Story

About Chiranjit Banerjee's family

I am a first generation late state entrepreneur after having worked for almost 20 years in well regarded state owned, MNC & domestic private sector companies. Both my father and grandfather were in the government. There are no other entrepreneurs in my extended family too.

Done Differently:

If I had begun my career in post liberalization India, I would have probably turned entrepreneur even earlier. Creative people were not always encouraged in a far more closed economy that I experienced between 1979 and 1990 when I was a banker.

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Growth Strategy:

Learning is a journey; never a destination. I learnt to email only in 1997 (when I was all of 40!) and as it happens, 90% of my business today is conducted electronically. I am a very keen student even at this age and read voraciously on matters as diverse as technology to politics.


Required Reading:

Biographies and auto biographies of iconic business leaders like Lee Iacoca, Jack Welch, Warren Buffet, Akio Morita & Bill Gates and closer home, JRD Tata, M S Oberoi and Narayan Murthy are a must read. The HBR is also highly recommended to stay on top of contemporary practices.

Professional Strengths:

Memory, responsiveness, integrity and focus.

Working Life Management:

Am tempted to quote Mr K V Kamath who once famously said, "Get yourself some work before you worry about life". I am an unapologetic workaholic. I am happiest when working.

Degrees That Matter:

Boarding school is the best preparation for life. My school(RIMC) delivered the first few key blows on the anvil of my life that have shaped me. Or else, get yourself a hyper demanding boss who wont settle for anything less than AAA+ output.

Role Model:

Without a shred of doubt - Narayan Murthy. He showed mere middle class mortals like us the high path of doing business without compromising one's ethics, values and morality. I have never paid a bribe to win business nor will I ever.

Job Profile:

I am a very hands on co owner & manager of the firm. My clients expect me to work individually on each and every leadership suite search which I do with passion and enthusiasm even if the outcome is not always favorable. Aside of that, I am constantly mentoring our young staff.

Career Profile:

I have been a business owner for eight years now prior to which I was a management consultant between 1997 and 2003. Still before that, I was a salaried manager. The range of these multiple experiences have been most rewarding.

The Journey So Far:

Its been a roller coaster. A combination of SBI, Citibank & American Express is eclectic to say the least. As a front line banker, I came to understand the customer more deeply than most others. In the capital markets stints that followed, I sifted value from price.

Other Thoughts:

My current business does not touch too many lives restricted that it is to the highest end of the hiring pyramid. I am plunging into another venture that will broaden my canvas by connecting youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to worthwhile career opportunities.

Plans For The Future:

Getting better and smarter at what I do is my perennial objective. Retirement is a lazy thought for me.

Advice For New Professionals:

Choose your vertical with care. Functional expertise is not enough. Research your prospective employer robustly. Consider deriving optimal value by sticking to a company for at least 5 years. Most CEOs are what we call "lifers".

Posted in Leadership

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