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She joined the State bank of India as a 21-year-old intern! And today she leads the 200-year-old bank, and is not only an achiever as the first woman Chairperson to lead the bank, but also, is the youngest person to reach this position!
Today, she is an iconic model, to every banker in the country. Very few people know, that Arundhati’s background does not have anything to do with banking or finance! She graduated from Jadavpur University as a English Honours student and went into State Bank of India to work as an intern.
How many people do we know of who have converted their first job into their passion and their highest point of careers?
Arundhati Bhattacharya has not seen an easy life.
Bhilai was purely red gravel, no medical help was available there.. not even regular groceries!
During her childhood, Arundhati, saw that the male members of her family would be so busy, that they would not come home for straight 72 hours! Bhilai was setting up it’s steel plants back then, and her father would be busy in the castings.
“I was in 6th standard, and I saw my mother go to homeopathy classes in the evenings, just so that she could help the women and children in the surrounding areas with medical assistance.”
Arundhati Bhattacharya’s mother, Shri Kalyani Mukherjee, has been the immense source of strength and inspiration for her daughter. It is known that she died at the age of 92, and three months before she passed away, she was writing prescriptions and giving medical guidance.
That’s where I learned what professionalism is about. What is it to actually want to do something, and give everything to it.
SBI: The Journey
SBI has always been a promoter of quality work. If an employee irrespective of gender, is performing, and generating quality work, promotions will follow. And this has helped her climb the corporate ladder.
Arundhati also emphasises on the concept of reputation at work. She has said this many a time, and this should hold true for everyone who wants to be with a single organisation for a long time. The reputation that one creates, at the work environment, helps one get through important tasks and assignments. If one shows reliability and dedication to every task given at hand, postings and promotions follow as per that. No one should have the opportunity to question capabilities.
Policies For Women at SBI
The Two Year Sabbatical Provision
There is not a single reputed news channel or magazine that has not given Arundhati a much-deserved acclaim for this step. Being a woman employee, she noticed that there were two major reasons when women wanted to go in for a break:
One was when their children were in important classes such as 10th or 12th standard; and the other was when someone at home was physically sick and needed care and attention (aging parents/in-laws, old relatives etc).
The women employees have an option of availing this benefit, three times during their work period at SBI.
Not only was this beneficial for the organisation, in terms of helping them retain their employees, but also boosted the employee’s morales and dedication towards the organisation.
As per Arundhati, the women employees were doubly motivated and happy to be pack post their sabbatical.
There were many women, who took a one-year sabbatical to help an ailing member at home and came back just after three months!
The SBI Internal Blog
Very few people know that SBI has an internal blog for it’s women employees! It’s a platform where women can share their problems and take suggestions from their seniors. A platform much like Feministaa, as per Mrs. Bhattacharya!
Chamaries or Shared Accommodation for Women
Arundhati says, that for women who are working in rural areas, SBI provides shared accommodations in nearby towns. This helps the women & their families feel safe and secure about working in various parts of the country. Truly, SBI’s women staff has benefitted after having a woman leader!
Banker For The Youth
The State Bank of India, has gradually emerged as a modern bank for every Indian. Arundhati is trying hard to change the obsolete image that a government bank brings along with itself in the country. Today, the most successful project that brings the bank closer to the youth is the SBI In-Touch galleries. These digital banking outlets will facilitate services such as instant account opening with personalised debit cards, instant loan approval for car and home, remote expert advisors available via video links, along with interactive walls and table displays etc