2016 experiences
Anirudha Jalan CEO Shadowed – Mr Ajoy Misra, CEO, Tata Global Beverages

  1. How was your experience?
  • Brilliant experience. Real world interaction on challenges faced by the company.
  • Mr Ajoy Misra went out of his way to help me understand current consumer insights about the tea, coffee and packaged water market.
  1. Please share the highlights of the day?
  • Sipping a fresh cup of tea every 30 mins
  1. What was the most surprising thing you found out about the CEO?
  • It’s actually quite stressful being a CEO (especially at a large corporation). Regular travel is no longer fun.
  1. Tell us the fun part of the day?          
  • Having lunch with most of the Tata Global Beverages employees. Learnt a lot about the culture of the firm, quirks about senior managers etc.
  1. Tell us about your three biggest takeaways from the day?
  • Learn to adapt very quickly. Don’t overthink.
  • Stay focused, but practical. Don’t always wait for the ideal opportunity, jump at the second best!
  • Always choose a good cup of tea over a cup of coffee J
Anirudha Jalan
CEO Shadowed – Mr Ajoy Misra, CEO, Tata Global Beverages
Amitabh Chaudhary, MD & CEO, HDFC Life
I had the good fortune of meeting Mr. Amitabh Chaudhary for a day, as part of the ‘Shadow a CEO’ program initiated by ISB in conjunction with Daan Utsav. It was a great opportunity for me to interact with an industry stalwart in the BFSI space, a sector I am extremely passionate about. Under such circumstances, I was understandably bubbling with excitement and nervous energy, as I left for the HDFC Life office in Mumbai.
After exchanging pleasantries, Mr. Amitabh candidly talked about his life and passions. Topics ranged right from sports to music to theatre!  After forming an acquaintance with him, I got introduced to the crème de la crème of the organization; the CFO, COO, CHRO amongst others. They shared interesting anecdotes about their career paths with me, stories that I could derive immense value from I was surprised to find that the entire top management at HDFC Life had been inducted directly at the CXO level from different industries altogether. It put things into perspective for me regarding career trajectories, something that we tend to lose sight of, being completely embroiled in the placement season.  Some other key takeaways for me were the importance of being humble and being well read. Mr. Amitabh is a voracious reader of books from various genres, a habit that serves him well as a stress buster. He also emphasized the need to be thoroughly organized by preparing a “to do” list at the start of each day, ticking off completed tasks as we move along.  He encouraged me to pursue my dreams and be ready to take risks which may involve changing career paths at seemingly illogical times.
It was a truly fruitful and enriching experience and I’m thankful to Indian School of Business for giving me this unique opportunity.
Anant Maheshwari and Prakyath Viryala

  1. How was your experience?
  • A fabulous experience altogether! From understanding Anant’s life choices to receiving career guidance. From understanding what shaped his life to some of the difficult choices he made in his professional life. From comprehending his take on leading oneself & the core tenets of his leadership principles, and pondering on his thought provoking questions on leadership, to seeing him in action charting out the roadmap for Microsoft India. An experience that truly has left an indelible impression on me!
  1. Share the highlights of the day?
  • A one on one with Anant Maheshwari - understanding his perspective on consulting vs implementation. How he made the choices in life and what directed him to make those choices.
  • Followed by a chat with Saaransh Khanna , Kartheek Peyyeti , Ashish understanding their take on recruitment, some of the cool Microsoft products, and common sales challenge faced by the Microsoft team and their approach to tackle some of those.
  • Anant’s take on leadership – on mind-set, being an enabler and executioner was enlightening. I was extremely pleased to meet the warm staff and was really surprised to see the big welcome poster with my photograph.
  • A conversation with Uma Raman on diversity and inclusion helped me understand about the culture Microsoft and what tangible steps Microsoft was taking to achieve the same
  • A live sales negotiation with general manager of IOCL was very edifying.
  • Followed by a candid chat with Madhav Vamsi and Neha Saxena about their life experiences and choices in life. Finally, to see Anant in action discussing last year’s sales, the success achieved by the team and the roadmap ahead was the icing on the cake.
  1. What’s the most surprising thing you found out about Anant?
  • Despite being successful, Anant is extremely humble. Unlike most others, he is a man that walks the talk!
  1. Tell us the fun part of the day?
  • The fun part of the day was seeing a senior sales manager Gagan Dewan in a live sales setting handling a critical negotiation with General Manager of IOCL. Despite going through a number of case studies on negotiation and a number of negotiation exercises, this one was a treat to watch.
  1. Tell us about your three biggest take away from today?
  • ‘Live life every moment’ – It’s not only the last few minutes of winning the race or an achievement but to live the entire journey is what matters
  • To lead oneself before leading others
  • To be grounded & humble despite being successful
Shadowing Mr. K.M. Birla Saksham Agrawal
It was a beautiful Wednesday morning in the bustling city of Mumbai, when I was ready to spend my entire day with India’s third largest conglomerate’s chairman, Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla. There were mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness rushing through my body. I was carrying a 20 kg box with a portrait of Mr. Birla as a gift for him.
I reached his office half an hour earlier than I was supposed to be there. I got enough time to clear security, get my visitor’s pass made, and unbox the painting once I reached the waiting area. I had a chance to meet his assistant, Mr. Venkatichalam, whom I had been in touch with over the past month trying to fix a date that works out for Mr. Birla. I was called in at 10.30 am when Mr. Birla had arrived. Initially for about 20 minutes, I got to interact with him on a one on one basis, where he asked me about my business and how my experience at ISB has been. Right after that, he got on with his meetings, where I got to be part of a few of them. He made sure to introduce me at every meeting and would try and explain to me what exactly they were discussing in the meeting. In the middle of the meetings, he called me out at several occasions and asked me what I thought about the discussion, what the marketing strategy should be for the product under discussion, and how they should roll it out in the market.
I had the opportunity to have lunch with him where we discussed more about my business and how it all started. He also made sure to get to know me on a personal level, asking me about my family and who all are involved in the business. He was extremely modest, and I had become very comfortable with him after the first 15 minutes of meeting him. Later on, I attended a few more meetings and also spent some time with the staff right under him, who explained to me how the organization is structured. At the very end, I got through the list of questions I had planned to ask him and he answered all of them in detail. Later we exchanged numbers and I got the chance to present the portrait to him.
Overall, it was an outstanding experience, shadowing Mr. Birla in his office. The biggest take away I believe was that even though he was such an experienced businessman, he always listened to each and everyone’s opinions, evaluated them and provided them immediate feedback. I would like to thank the Indian School Business for providing me with this once in a life time opportunity.
Mallika Priyadarshini for Ms. Meher Pudumjee_Shadow a CEO_Experience
  1. How was your experience?
  • Memories of meeting Ms. Meher Pudumjee will stay with throughout my life. She has not only influenced my viewpoint towards my professional life but also my personal life. She has bolstered my belief on simple living and high thinking. It was see and believe experience. She shared her life journey with so utmost modesty and openness. She was equally eager to know more about my journey and aspirations. Attending a meeting with her for Teach For India-Pune chapter- fuelling her passion towards child education, gave me a sneak peek into her social commitment and passion to empower people around her.   In sum, I was floored by a woman leader, who is an epitome of commitment and simplicity
  1. Please share the highlights of the day?
Major highlights are as follows:
  • Breakfast with Meher at her favorite coffee place
  • Teach For India annual meeting for Pune chapter-Meher urged for my active participation and inputs on their initiative and future plans.
  • Personal chit-chat on life and aspirations
  1. What was the most surprising thing you found out about the CEO?
  • Meher is an extremely considerate and a people person despite her busy schedule. She not only acknowledges the affection and support of people around her but also ensures to support them in times of need.
  1. Tell us the fun part of the day?
  • Sitting with Ms. Pudumjee and enjoying a cup of coffee and her favorite deli dishes at her favorite place. It was a dream like experience.
  1. Tell us about your three biggest takeaways from the day?
  • Be outspoken and logical in your reasoning.
  • Be work focussed but don’t forget people. Care for people around you.
  • Be realistic and simple. It makes life simpler.
Shadowing Mr KM Birla - The Most Memorable Experience of MBA
Prakhar Bindal, IIM-C Class of 2014

Shadowing Mr. KM Birla was the most memorable experience of my two years at IIM Calcutta. Getting to know my role model from such close spheres was exhilarating. We had several hours of exclusive interaction where we talked about anything and everything. Mr. Birla shared his life journey - the ups and downs - and encouraged me to continue on my entrepreneurial pursuits. An epitome of humility, Mr. Birla even involved me in drafting of his annual speech, and introduced me to his family. I would urge every student to bid for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and make the most out of it.

Shadowing Mr Kumar Mangalam Birla – a True Privilege and Wonderful Experience
Amit Sethi, ISB Class of 2010



With my growing interest in the management career, I was intrigued and very impressed with the global force which Aditya Birla Group had grown into, since Mr Kumar Mangalam Birla had taken the reins. I always wondered what it takes to lead a conglomerate of such expanse and take it global, to greater successes despite enhanced competition and opposition, against well-entrenched businesses of the developed world. Having learnt myriad business concepts, tools and lessons at ISB, I was sanguine that my learning would be summarised by availing the opportunity to shadow the leader who practises what we aspire to learn.

Mr Birla called me a day prior to know about my expectations from, and the thoughts about, the next day. Having heard my opinion patiently, he told me the brief plan for the day and conversed about my personal details and past experience. Having been clarified the schedule, I reached the Aditya Birla House the next day to shadow him. After a detailed conversation about my background, aspirations and the life at ISB, he informed me that we would be attending the meetings scheduled by him, so that I got the essence of different sets of decision-making activities for different types of businesses. He encouraged me to ask any number of questions at any point in time– to him or to other participants in the meetings. He encouraged me to draw lessons from the discussions and present my own opinion as well. He took a few minutes break after every meeting, to summarize the lessons and takeaways. He also clarified the myriad details and perspectives, so that I could draw pertinent lessons from all the discussions.

The day was full of various forms of learning; it was a highly insightful and memorable event for me to have met a true leader who can be emulated in every form of professional and personal conduct. It was a capstone event which helped me summarise my ISB lessons by discussing with, andwatching, this remarkable leader.  He very candidly shared his vision, experiences and opinions. During the course of my corporate career, I will continue revisiting the lessons learnt throughout this day. Given a chance, I would opt to shadow or meet the great leader again, as I got much more lessons and insights than I had hoped for.

A rare learning experience with Narayana Murthy
Anirudh Gupta, ISB Class of 2010


The experience with Mr. Murthy was unlike any of the expectations I had built around. Knowing Mr. Murthy and his accomplishments, one would have thought that the entire day will go around talking about Infosys, its achievements and its future. But it turned out to be a lot different and far more insightful.

The day started off with a brief tour of Infosys Bangalore campus, a couple of marketing videos on Infosys while sitting in the main board room and then a preview of the meetings lined up for the day. The day was planned from a perspective of providing me exposure to not just Infosys but to what it takes to start and run your own business. This was priceless. 

Discussions on how VCs look for investments (met with founders of a VC fund Mr. Murthy is overseeing), insight into what entrepreneurs in India are facing in-terms of opportunities & challenges (had a couple of discussions with entrepreneurs and with a batch of students from iGate) and Mr. Murthy's insight into philanthropy (a Phd. Student interviewed Mr. Murthy on this topic) took me deeper into aspects of running one's own business. 

While all this was going on, I was also getting insights into Infosys's Training programs in Mysore and how they are being revamped. I got an hour to pick a senior manager's brains on Infosys Labs and how Infosys is re-defining the role technology & products are playing in the Indian IT Services industry.

Mr. Murthy himself is a very humble down to earth person. Despite his age, his enthusiasm, appetite for reading and attention to smallest of details were a clear indication of what it takes for some one to be as successful as he is. Overall speaking, that fact that I could experience all of the above sitting right next to Mr. Murthy either in his own office or in his discussion rooms, while having lunch and tea with him or while just observing the way he conducts his meetings was a day extremely well spent. 

Such experiences are extremely rare for any one and I am truly thankful that 'Shadow a CEO' program at ISB provides its students such opportunities.

Shadowing the CEO - one of the high points of my ISB tenure
Nipun Aggarwal, ISB Class of 2010



It was an absolute honour and pleasure to be part of the Board Meeting of the Max Healthcare. I'm really thankful to ISB for allowing such a unique opportunity to learn the essential elements of the Board’s corporate culture, and most importantly - a bird's eye view from a Chairman's perspective.

I'm sure and confident that this experience would immensely add significant weight to my learning that I take away from ISB. The interactions at Mr. Analjit’s residence during various meetings and the Board at Corporate office yesterday, has been highly encouraging. I’m honored to say, that one day which I spent as his ‘shadow’, has been one of the high points during my ISB tenure.

After I came back from meeting the CEO of my choice, I also extended my wishes for the Max group to continue its journey of touching a million lives every day and serving health of the nation. 

Lastly, I wish to thank the "Shadow-a-CEO" team of ISB for giving me and other students such once in a lifetime opportunity.

Gainful learning experience with Srini Raju
Pavan Kumar Korlepara, IIM (B)


One of the prime reasons I joined the EPGP program at IIM Bangalore was to take a breather after 14 years of working and plan for my next stint – one being in the avatar of an entrepreneur. The last one year I had been actively ideating as well as polishing my management and business skills at IIMB towards this very purpose. Shadow a CEO program gave me an opportunity to connect and interact with Mr.Srini Raju, Cofounder and Managing Director of Peepul Capital. I wanted to understand the nuances of PE funds and what parameters they look before investing in new tech ventures. My meeting was scheduled for the 3rd of December, a Monday.

I reached Hyderabad the prior evening to relax and mentally plan the interaction for the next day. I reached their corporate office in Hyderabad well ahead of time and was taken care by his staff. Srini arrived at the scheduled time and we exchanged pleasantries and he straight away got down to business. He inquired a bit about my personal and professional experience and then spent the next one hour meticulously detailing his professional journey and how Peepul Capital came into existence. It was really exciting to understand choices he made and tamed uncertainty. He briefed his experience working as the COO of Satyam and Cognizant and various other business investments and interests. He also went into great details on how his current organization was structured and his priority investments and business issues. It was really exciting to be part of an office which was key in making critical strategic decisions.

He set the ball rolling for his office activities and kept prompting me to ask questions and interrupt him to understand the nuances of what he was doing. He focused the first part of his day to get a tab on the operational activities in his office. He had couple of more meetings scheduled with his IT and planning staff for one of his business venture. I had a first hand experience of the key parameters and drivers of business which interests the CEO. It was amazing to see how he was consuming the complex and humungous data points shared with him and he somehow knew to answer the “right” and most difficult questions.

The highlight of the day was the ingenuity and ease with which he made go/no-go decision on a strategic investment. It was quite evident that he trusts his staff and key advisors on the key data points shared and due diligence. I was also party to the most critical and interesting meeting of the day, the operational and investment review of his PE fund’s investments. It was amazing to see the depth and diligence a VC/PE investor.

My day with Srini ended at bit past 6pm. It was an amazing experience overall and gave me key insights on how they crunch huge amount of information, plan their time and manage risk.

Walk the Talk with Kamath
Ajay Lakotia, ISB Class of 2010



I was equally excited and nervous about my rendezvous with K V Kamath- Chairman, ICICI Bank- The man who revolutionised the Indian Banking System. The meeting was scheduled to start at 10:30 AM. I arrived at around 9:30 AM to make myself at home and get acquainted with the organisation and its people. I was shown through the different departments in the ICICI Bandra Kurla Complex, which is an astounding office in itself. Kamath arrived sharp at 10:30 AM and I was escorted to his office where we exchanged pleasantries and he introduced me to key members who run his office.

We settled down for a brief conversation on how Kamath literally built the ICICI Bank into India’s second largest bank. The roadblocks he faced, how he restructured the organisation time and again, how he handled attrition and atrophy in the organisation. Kamath shared his insight on how important it is to listen to the grapevine, understand people’s issues and his innovative methods to handle such challenges. He also explained how dedicated departments have rolled out for strategic decision making and how they function at various levels of the organisation.

As we discussed, he stated that there might be many visionaries capable of making impeccable plans but it is the execution which really creates a successful story. Kamath explained ‘Ajay, every leader worth his salt is capable of executing plan to its finest details’. Sometime during the day, Kamath’s guests arrived in his office. I had the privilege to participate in discussions with his guests representing a MNC who were seeking Kamath’s advice and support about reaching masses in rural market, and trying to augment the benefit of their product to farmers and cultivators.

I was inspired by Kamath’s ability to filter through the labyrinth of details and facts in the discussion and ask for relevant facts and figures while arriving at quick conclusion during the meeting. Another impressive aspect is that his support for the MNC came not because of profitability of the project but because this would deliver benefit to the rural society- addressing the need of common masses. Kamath stated ‘I am in support of this because this will benefit the people at the bottom of the pyramid.’ This philanthropic approach while making business decisions is an aspect every leader would share, which makes them rise above the threshold of common masses.After which, I spent some quality time with Anindya- JGM ICICI, who manages Kamath’s office. He explained me the regular business and discussed different functions in the organisation. We discussed what qualities ICICI Bank seeks in an individual while hiring and his experience with the ISB students.
I was then invited to join Kamath for a high profile meeting with his Executives heading Commercial/Wholesale banking for ICICI Bank. The presentation was largely focused on international expansion benchmarking several aspects of successful integration by competing banks in that space. Kamath while looking into the finer details advised on the strategy and discussed on the flaws that existed in the plan. We then discussed the recruitment policy for the expansion strategy. During the conversation a subject came up about losing a miniscule market share due to older incompatible system. Incidentally ICICI Bank has been a pioneer in developing IT capabilities and Kamath has always strongly advocated the advancement in IT. Kamath actioned on this immediately, this reflected the adroitness and proactive approach of a successful leader in making quick decisions. 

After the appealing discussion over a delicious lunch, we discussed about the financial crisis and he patiently listened and appreciated my opinions about finance and IT bubble. He shared some insightful facts stating how Chidambaram had saved India from economical crisis early in 2002 and the healthy state of our economy to sustain steady growth in GDP. Kamath during the drive then asked me about my family business, consulting experience and future aspirations. He appreciated my indepth entrepreneurial experience and cogent decision system, and stated that I have made the perfect career choice. Finally he wished me luck before I bid good bye to my dream CEO.

It was an honour shadowing Kamath for a day. I realised that anyone spending few months under his mentorship, would not only develop strong grounding in the intricacies of banking, but also inculcate the business acumen and leadership qualities inspired by him, and will be prepared to undertake challenging roles in his future endeavour. His quick and rational decision system, ability to cut the noise and focus on relevant but finest of the details, ability to inspire others, and contributing in his own way towards building a better world- encompassing philanthropy and profitability at the same time is more than laudable.