A CEO is regarded as one of the most prestigious positions in any corporate setup. A CEO or Chief Executive Officer is the highest-ranking officer in a company. He/she is in charge of all the executive decisions in the company.
So, What Exactly Is the Role of A CEO in A Company?
As the name suggests, a CEO is responsible for all the executive decisions in the company. Consequently, a CEO is regarded as the face of the company.
Elected by the Board of Directors and company shareholders, a CEO is responsible for the company’s operations.
The CEO of a company is an all in all executive of the company. To put it lightly, we can say that a CEO is the “Jack of all trades and master of all.”
A CEO in Indian companies adorns the following roles:
- Executive decision making
- Financial decision making
- The link between shareholders and the company
- Public Relations Manager
- Risk Management
- Setting company vision and mission
Though a CEO’s role may look glamorous and attractive from the outside, it must be noted that it comes with its own set of pressures and is not an easy task.
However, with the right mindset and preparation for the role, you can claim the title without a problem.
Reaching the CEO position in any company requires perseverance and hard work. Also, climbing the corporate ladder is strewn with obstacles, red-tapism, and sometimes nepotism.
How you win over all these corporate hindrances and reach the top position in the company depends on how you manage situations.
For students, achieving a CEO position is a dream come true. However, we all know that a dream will remain a dream unless you make it happen. Always remember all dreams can come true if you dare to pursue them.
Below are some necessary skills and practices to achieve your dream of becoming a CEO in Indian Companies or Indian MNCs.
How to Become a CEO in India: 23 Skills Required for CEO
1. Professional Degree from Top Schools
As a student and CEO dreamer, the first step to becoming a company CEO in India is to obtain a degree from one of the top institutes in the country.
One may think that the top institutes of India only include the IITs or IIMs. However, you can also consider a range of other top institutes in the country that have also churned out global CEOs.
Indian-born CEO Satya Nadella is from the Manipal Institute of Technology, also one of the top professional schools in the country.
Top business management schools in India:
- The Indian Institute of Management
- The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade
- S. P Jain Institute of Management & Research
- XLRI Xavier Institute of Management
2. A Postgraduate Degree from A Foreign University
Doing a postgraduate degree from a recognised foreign university is one stepping stone to becoming a company CEO in India.
So, why do we specify foreign universities? What is it that foreign universities give you that Indian universities don’t?
There are many reasons and benefits of post-graduation from a foreign university. Let’s briefly list some of the advantages below:
- Exposure to a whole new country
The exposure you get while living in a foreign country is a new ball game. Living in India, you will have the advantage of close family and friends.
However, when you study at a foreign university, you learn to live without family and make new friends.
Apart from building confidence, studying abroad can help you think independently and build leadership skills. These are some skill sets required for a CEO in Indian companies.
- International experience
Studying in a foreign university looks good on your CV. You pitch yourself better in the job market with some international experience.
- Dynamic courses
Foreign universities have diverse and dynamic courses to offer. Many universities abroad offer world-class infrastructure and research facilities, making them seek out places to obtain a degree.
- More possibility of international assignments
A company in India is more likely to offer you short-term or long-term international assignments if you have experience of staying abroad.
The company is convinced that since you have already had a stint abroad, it will be easier for you to adjust and complete the assignment successfully for the company.
- Exposure to diversity
Foreign universities have students from all over the world. This allows you to interact with the “world” population.
Consider this your first lesson in public relations. As a CEO of an Indian company, you will be interacting with scores of people within India and outside the country.
Your exposure to fellow students while studying at a foreign university will teach you the lesson of interacting with people from diverse cultures and traditions.
Nowadays, it has become easy for students to study abroad. The internet has made the world a smaller place. Getting information and details about foreign universities has become much easier now.
Many study abroad consultants have made it much simpler for students to get admission to foreign universities.
Experienced study abroad consultants have the expertise to guide students on their journey, stay, and course in a foreign country.
Government and private establishments encourage students to seek admission to foreign universities through scholarships, exchange programs, and sponsorship programs.
Your study abroad consultant will be able to guide you on the various scholarship that you can apply for and prepare for.
3. Learn at Least 2-3 Languages
One of the qualifications to become a CEO in India is to learn more than two languages. Adding a foreign language to your kitty will also prove advantageous as you climb the corporate ladder.
There are more than 22 official languages in India and about 19500 dialects. That’s a lot of languages to learn.
Learning a few Indian and foreign languages can help you gain the trust of shareholders and other people associated with your company.
Learning more languages gives you a wider market. Consider this small product sale example. A consumer will likely buy a product explained in the language he knows.
The consumer can understand all the features and uses of the product. Similarly, a CEO who speaks many languages can attract a wider audience.
The audience will listen only to something they can understand. Otherwise, you have not captured the audience’s attention.
When you learn more languages, the chances of miscommunication are minimum.
4. People Interaction
One of the qualifications to become a CEO in India is to learn how to interact with people. This is called people skills.
It is one of the most important skills every budding CEO must possess. When we mention the term people, we mean not only shareholders or customers but also board members, employees, and support staff.
Every head of the company needs to be able to interact with different types and levels of people in the organization.
The different departments in an organization are like the parts of a machine that work together towards a common goal. Keeping these parts in working condition is the duty of the CEO.
An important people skill includes public speaking. It is how cleverly and smartly you can put the message across.
A CEO must be a good orator or public speaker. Getting the message across to the right target audience is one of the speciality skills of a CEO.
A Chief Executive Officer must convince customers, shareholders, and board members about the decisions.
As you climb up the corporate ladder, never forget to teach your skills to people around you. Remember, when you grow, you don’t grow alone.
Teaching your people skills to peers and learning skills from them will finally get you to the top position.
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5. Communication Skills
An article published by the Institute of Business Management and Research, University of Pune, stated the importance of communication skills for professionals.
- Doing your job well. Good communication skills have a direct impact on how well you perform.
- Develop yourself as a workplace leader, which will bring opportunities to grow and move up.
- Build good relations and camaraderie with all your fellow employees.
- Naturally, command respect from your colleagues and even your bosses
- Improved body language.
- Zero to minimal professional life stress as you will be doing well.
6. Appropriate Attire
Believe it or not, dressing appropriately is one of the qualifications to become a CEO in India. A person’s attire is the first thing you notice when you meet another person.
You first take a visual glimpse before you hear the person speak. This is what is called the first impression. Making the first impression a good one is very important for any working professional, especially a budding CEO.
Always dress decently and modestly. Wearing shabby or indecent clothes can be detrimental to your goals. An article published in ResearchGate in 2013 stated that Clothing communicates information about the wearer, and first impressions can be heavily influenced by the messages conveyed by attire.
The research further revealed the practical implications ‐ Minor clothing manipulations can give rise to significantly different inferences. Even small changes in clothing choice can communicate different information to a perceiver.
This study’s evidence shows that men may be advised to purchase well-tailored clothing, as it can positively enhance the image they communicate to others. (PDF) The influence of clothing on first impressions: Rapid and positive responses to minor changes in male attire (researchgate.net)
7. Be a voracious reader
Read the best business books written by top authors from around the world. These magazines and books will give you a world perspective of the economy.
On the other hand, reading only books and magazines from Indian authors might limit your knowledge to only the Indian economy and business structure.
It is very important that, as a company CEO, you are aware of the global economy, its volatile nature, and all factors that affect the world’s economy.
8. Physical Fitness
As a CEO, you must consider being busy the whole day. You will be on your toes, bustling between jobs in a single day.
In such cases, you must keep your body physically fit so that your body can withstand the pressures of work.
The most important investment you can make is in yourself. Invest in the upkeep of your mind, body, and soul. True enjoyment comes from the mind’s activity and the body’s exercise.
9. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Believe it or not, food is one-factor affecting brain function. Research has shown the relation between certain types of healthy food and the brain’s cognitive function.
Foods containing vitamin D, C, and E, Omega 3 fatty acids, flavonoids, and polyphenols protect against cognitive decline and dementia.
A research paper published in the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health has stated that the relative abundance of specific nutrients can affect cognitive processes and emotions.
Therefore, following a good diet is important to ensure proper brain functioning. Remember, as a CEO, you must let your brain do all the thinking.
10. Energetic and Encouraging Demeanor
An important qualification to become a CEO of an Indian company is to have an energetic and encouraging demeanour.
Always have a pleasant outward behaviour, an encouraging smile, and an energetic approach. Your aura of energy will influence others around you to work twice as hard.
When you have a smiling exterior, you radiate the same and invariably encourage others to do the same. Another smile starts most smiles.
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11. Develop Body Language Skills
Body language mostly refers to physical behaviour. Body language can include posture, facial expressions, hand actions, or even movement of the eyes.
One of the ways how to become a CEO in India is to improve your body language. It is important to be able to express yourself even without words.
12. Develop Article Writing Skills
Have you noticed CEOs of companies giving interviews to channels or magazines or even writing articles on company-related matters.
As a company’s CEO, you will have to give interviews, express your opinion or simply comment on matters.
It is important that while you do this, you never hurt the sentiments of readers or other businesses. Your tactfulness will be tested in your articles.
Learn the art of writing articles and giving interviews. One of the main factors to be kept in mind while writing as a CEO is the art of diplomacy.
While commenting on a particular subject, remember not to hurt the reader with your comments. Therefore, it is necessary to learn the art of writing. This art is learned through practice. You can start practising now.
13. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Today, the tools of communication are innumerable. Social media, being one of the most powerful tools of communication, is something that can be used to your advantage.
Social media is one of the most effective methods of marketing today. When we say marketing, it does not only mean you need a viable product to market or sell.
It also means you can use social media for marketing yourself or influencing the world with your opinions. The power of social media cannot be ignored.
You can start a blog very early in your career. Use the blog to express opinions about important business-related issues.
Writing your blog improves your writing and communication skills and lets the world know you are here.
As a budding CEO, being a social media influencer at a very early stage in your life will be advantageous.
14. Participation Is the Key
Another qualification to become a CEO in India is participating in competitions, debates, and public events.
Participating in such events gives you exposure and hones your leadership and communication skills.
15. Be the Crowd Stopper
One of the most important qualifications to become a CEO in India is to stand out from the crowd.
Remember, a thousand more desire the same if you want to become a company’s CEO. So, how do you ensure that you are different from the others?
Developing important life skills can ensure you remain ahead of others in competition. Apart from communication skills, some important life skills can be shortlisted as follows
- Decision-making skills
- Independent thinking
- Risk management
- Analytical thinking
- Critical thinking
- Time management skills
16. Think Before You Speak
An important life skill is to think before you speak. Choosing words wisely before you utter them is an important qualification for becoming a CEO in India.
Although the Board of Directors collectively takes decisions in a company in a company, it is the CEO who can greatly influence the Board of Directors through words and actions. Therefore, as a CEO, you must think before speaking and acting.
You must weigh the pros and cons of your words and actions before you utter them. A single wrong action or word can have a grave bearing on your company.
A small action can undo years of hard work and struggle. That is why one must always think before speaking, just like you would look before you leap.
17. Post Publicly
Using social media to stay in the game is not a bad idea. It can be one of the most powerful tools for a CEO.
One way to become a company’s CEO in India is to be active on social media. It often helps to post business-related snippets on your social media handles now and then.
These posts let people know that you mean business.
18. Write for Business Publications
Writing for business-related publications like the Financial newspaper can work wonders for your career. Thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners read these business magazines and publications.
Your articles, if written well, can have a great impact on the minds of the readers. Your viewpoints and knowledge expressed in the articles may also be so influential that it could even land you a great job.
However, you must always remember that great articles need greater research and investigations before being written.
So, do thorough research before writing articles for business magazines. You wouldn’t want to publish wrong information that could cost you dearly.
Here is a list of some of the top business publications in India:
- Capital Market Magazine
- Business India
- Fortune India Magazine
- The Economic Magazine Print
- Business Today
- Forbes India
- Business Manager
- Outlook Money
- Entrepreneur Magazine
- Business World
19. Seminars, Webinars, and More
An important way to become a CEO in India is to attend and participate in business events. Business seminars, online webinars, and corporate events are some of the best places to deliver powerful speeches that can influence the market.
All these seminars are attended and presided over by existing CEOs of multinational companies in India and around the globe. Participate in such seminars. Through these seminars, you get noticed.
20. Teach at Business Schools
Teaching at business schools as a guest or full-time lecturer has several advantages. While you teach at business schools, you are in touch with the latest curriculum and syllabus.
You can keep up with the changing economy. While studying, the applicable rules might have changed over time.
Teaching students at business schools will help you update yourself with the latest trends in the industry.
21. Conduct Seminars
Now that you know the importance of seminars in capturing the world’s attention, you must conduct and host seminars and invite eminent speakers to join the panel.
This way, you gain knowledge from the experts and improve your organizational skills.
22. Don’t Jump the Ladder
If aspiring to be the CEO of an Indian Company, remember there are no shortcuts. Every case study of a CEO in a company, whether in India or abroad, has started small but made it to the top slowly and steadily.
This shows that starting with a management-level job is a sure and steady way to climb the corporate ladder.
23. A Sure and Steady Climb
To ensure that you steadily climb up in a company, it is best to remain with it for many years. As you perform and show results, the company will steadily promote you to higher levels within the organization. This way, you will reach the top level of Chief Executive Officer.
Professionals often prefer to exit a company after a few years of experience. This is also a workable method of how to become a CEO of a company in India.
Here, professionals exit a company after gaining experience at that level. They then join a bigger or more viable company in a higher management post.
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CEO’s in India
In India, like the rest of the world, the job profile of a Chief Executive Officer is revered and looked upon with great respect.
Besides the acclaim and recognition CEOs in India get, another great attraction is the CEO salary in India. The hefty pay packages received by some of India’s top CEOs attract the youth today.
According to payscale, a company that determines the average salary of an employee in a particular field stated that the average CEO salary in India is around 2,911,426 rupees per annum.
Salary.com, another research company that determines the average income of employees, has placed the CEO in India’s salary between 1,54,47,910 and 6,29,61,228 as of March 2021.
The survey mentions that the CEO’s salary in India depends on factors like education, certifications, additional skills, and years spent in the profession.
CEOs of Indian Multinational Companies
1. Mukesh Ambani- Reliance Industries Limited
Mukesh Ambani is one of the CEOs of the Indian most valuable companies in terms of market value and a Fortune 500 Global company- Reliance Industries Limited.
2. Anand Mahindra -Mahindra and Mahindra
As the CEO of the Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra is known as one of the most dynamic entrepreneurs of his time.
3. Sachin Bansal- Flipkart
Sachin Bansal was the founder and CEO of Flipkart, a company that Walmart later acquired. After graduating from IIT, he worked at TechSpan and Amazon web services before starting his own company.
4. Anupam Mittal- Shaadi.Com
Anupam Mittal, the CEO of shaadi.com, is hailed as one of the oldest and most successful online matrimonial sites.
5. Rajesh Gopinathan-Tata Consultancy Sevices
TCS is one of the leading global IT companies. A TATA group company, Rajesh Gopinathan, has played a major role in spearheading TCS as one of the US 22 billion global companies.
6. Sunil Bharati Mittal – Bharti Airtel
Sunil Mittal is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Bharti Enterprises. Bharti Airtel is one of the company’s first ventures and is one of the world’s largest network service providers.
7. R Narayan Murthy- Infosys
The founding member, Chairman, and CEO of Infosys, N.R. Narayan Murthy, completed his education in India and started one of the world’s most well-known IT companies in 1981.
8. Roshni Nadar – HCL
As the Chairperson of HCL Corporation, Roshni Nadar was one of the first CEOs of an information technology company in India.
9. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw Biocon
The founder and CEO of Biocon, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, started the company in the garage of her house. Now Biocon is considered a leading global Indian Pharmaceutical Company.
10. Kumarmangalam Birla- Aditya Birla Group
Kumar Mangalam Birla has been one of the most successful CEOs after taking over the reins of the Aditya Birla group from his father in 1995. At a young age, he managed to increase the company’s revenues.
Going by the references made in the case studies of top Indian-origin CEOs of Multinational Companies, it can be inferred that the rise to the CEO level in any company is slow and steady.
Through this article, we have endeavoured to list certain skills required to become a CEO of an Indian company.
Training your young mind on the right path can get you the dream position of a CEO in a company. Dream big, dream without fear because dreams do come true.
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