India’s top five bankers and their journey to the top

From the realms of banking miracles, the maestros from the industry we look up to today were once leading a life full of struggles and rejections. But their zeal to succeed is what underpinned their obstacles and made them stand on the podium of greatness.

Here we will discuss the top five bankers of India and their journey.

Arundhati Bhattacharya

When mentioning greats from the banking industry, Arundhati Bhattacharya’s name is a must. Post the retirement of her father, it was upon her to take up a job. And exploring her options, Arundhati decided she would take up the State Bank of India (SBI) exam just as her college friends were doing. Fortunately, she was able to crack it and got selected for the post of probationary officer. Even after clearing the exam she was not interested in taking up the job and wanted to pursue print journalism. Nonetheless, she made the important decision to join SBI. Fast forward her amazing career, she was listed as one of the 25th most powerful women in the world by Forbes. She retired as the Chairperson of SBI, an extremely important position in Indian banking.

Rana Kapoor

After having graduated with an MBA from Rutgers University in the US, Rana Kapoor started off as a management trainee at Bank of America (BoA). Between 1980-1995, he worked up the ranks and headed the bank’s wholesale banking business. In 1990, he was presented the “Eagle Pin,” the highest professional recognition within the Bank for performance excellence. Thereafter, Kapoor headed ANZ Grindlays Investment Bank before embarking on an entrepreneurial journey by founding Rabo India Finance. Rana Kapoor was then granted a greenfield banking license from RBI in 2004 to launch Yes Bank. Under Kapoor’s leadership of 15 years, the bank grew to a total asset size of over Rs. 370,000 crores, making it India’s 4th largest private sector bank. Rana Kapoor’s successful entrepreneurial journey is an inspiring story for the young entrepreneurs of India.

Aditya Puri

Starting his journey by going against his father’s wish, Aditya Puri studied commerce and travelled large swaths across Mumbai to reach his workplace. In his initial days, he worked as an executive assistant to the finance director of Mahindra & Mahindra. By early 1990s, Puri became the CEO of Citibank, Malaysia, but returned to India in 1994 as the Managing Director of HDFC Bank. In 2020, he stepped down as the Managing Director of HDFC bank and is currently deployed as a senior advisor at The Carlyle Group.

Romesh Sobti

Taking a degree in engineering to please his father, Romesh Sobti soon realised that his passion lies somewhere else. And therefore, turned to banking. His career began with the State Bank of India in early 70s, and he went on to work with the likes of Standard Chartered Bank and ABN AMRO, before taking over IndusInd Bank in 2008. After years of service, Sobti stepped down in 2020 as the Managing Director & CEO of IndusInd.

Uday Kotak

After completing his MBA in 1982, Uday Kotak started Kotak Capital Management Finance Ltd from a seed capital of less than US$80,000, which he borrowed from family and friends. But his determination paved way and he converted a bill-discounting start-up into a financial services conglomerate with assets valued at more than US$19 billion in 2014. The bank also became the second largest scheduled commercial bank by market capitalization in India with over 1250 branches. In 2019, he was one of the most highly paid CEOs in Indian Banking and is currently the Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Bank.

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