As part of the Industry Interaction Cell, IIM Amritsar, I invited Mr. Vinay Gupta – Global Finance Director, Group CIO, Deutsche Bank to be one of the panelists for our annual Finance Conclave - Pariprekshya. In our initial conversations, he shared, “conclave and all is fine, but Tarun I really want to do something for the students, I want to guide them to make a wise career decision, can we have a casual interaction session before the conclave where I can be of some help to these young aspirational minds, please see if it’s possible, you don’t get a chance to mentor future leaders of the country every day.”
Though in the past 20 months I have invited and interacted with dozens of senior industry professionals-mostly CxO's, his commitment to mentor the student fraternity was remarkable. It was then I decided that someday I’ll definitely catch up with him again to know more about him on a personal level and to discover what makes him so humble even after achieving so many laurels in his professional career.
Vinay started his journey in Deutsche Bank as a Project Lead for MI/ Finance Tools implementation and undertook various challenging roles in India and UK to finally become one of the senior-most executives. Reflecting on his 12-year long journey in Deutsche Bank, Vinay says “The beauty of Deutsche Bank is: there are always more green pastures to walk on, you will always find new challenging opportunities, not only in terms of career but also in terms of learning and development.” “In fact, in the last 12 years I did not feel the need to update my CV”, he said jokingly. Before Deutsche Bank, Vinay also worked in companies like GE Capital, Tata Steel, and JP Morgan. “I always love to work for a place which is very open in its culture and is backed up by its strong values. Where talent is nurtured to contribute not only to the success of the individuals but also to the success of the organization.”, he added.
Referring to the paralogism that only MBAs from top B-Schools make it to the higher most positions in the industry, Vinay says, “ It is not important where you have done your education from, yes many times it helps you to get an interview letter but the kind of thoughts you bring in, the kind of values you have as a person and your risk taking ability makes the difference in the workplace”. Moreover, he says, “What I look for in a candidate in my team is the assertiveness and the zeal to contribute. Functional skills can be taught easily but the difference will always be the soft skills one possesses, the kind of positive attitude one has, and the growth mindset which is quintessential in anyone’s career”.
There is a widely accepted belief that consistency and gradual improvement is the key to do well in life and to achieve mastery in any profession, however, I believe that there is always this ‘one big incident' from our past, or from our education that shapes our personalities and the way we look at things. Responding to that, Vinay says, “If I were to recall one such incident from my time, it will be when I failed the Costing exam in a professional qualification I was pursuing. Instead of repenting over it or thinking of how this happened, I decided to enroll myself for the CA examination in order to push myself harder. Later, I got an all India rank in the CA examination.” Further, he adds, “This particular incident changed the way I look at failure and has shaped my career more than anything. I figured that the obstacle is indeed the way and that every disaster brings us an opportunity.”
But sometimes having an opportunity is not enough, we need someone to look up to in order to capitalize on that opportunity and to make the most of it. For Vinay, that was Anil Kumble. “The kind of demeanor he has and the challenging journey he had which helped him become one of the world's best spin bowlers and later the captain of the Indian cricket team is nothing less than inspiring. His undisguised thought process and his approach of taking each game at a time offer a lot to learn from.”
Vinay also shared that apart from his office work, his passion is to help young leaders by interacting with them which in turn also helps him to do well in his mainline career. He says, “I believe, the other person is always superior to you in some way irrespective of his designation. There is always something to learn from students." His final words to all those who are reading this before starting their management career are “always look for new opportunities, keep stretching yourself, never settle, and above all - appreciate failure”
From the interaction I had with Vinay, I have personally drawn three learnings-
First, staying humble and helping others has a greater impact than one’s designation. Second, having a good education is not bad, but certainly not enough, it’s the great interpersonal skills and empathy for others that matter most in one’s professional life. And third, if you don’t fail, you certainly can’t succeed. The trick is to always move forward.
What were your learnings? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below 😊