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Good morning and KUT CHIBAI! Thank you for giving me this opportunity and the honour of being invited as the ‘Functional President’ today – the first of its kind for me here in Hyderabad!

My co-special guests have both already spoken at length about our traditional KUT celebrations. I will, therefore, focus more on the freshers who have recently joined us (given that ours has always been a Freshers’ Meet cum KUT Celebration) and take this opportunity to briefly share my own personal experience and perspective on ‘success’.

I do hope, however, that the deliberation that follows is relevant and perhaps maybe even equally helpful for the rest of us – the old-timers – who have also been working very hard to create our own success stories here in Hyderabad! 

The Backdrop…..

A few years back, in one of my interactions with the young students back home, I challenged them to a task of collectively developing a “Success Formula” – i.e. identify its key ingredients, apply the formula to create our own personal success stories and refine it through personal experimentation and fine tuning.

As expected, the initial ingredients included the typical success secrets like goal setting, perseverance, hard work, discipline, etc. Over the subsequent years, I have also read several books and articles on ‘success’ as well as biographies of many successful people whom I truly admire.

What I have come to realize from the exploration to try and understand what makes successful people successful and also from my own humble experiences is that – success is personal! Although the general key secrets to success as outlined in the ‘Success Formula’ do play a role in all cases and for all people, the definition of success itself (which can vary widely) and particularly the key driving force behind one’s success (if you were to try and narrow it down) tends to be unique for different people and their distinctive success stories.

Hence, what follows is the result of a reflection of my own humble experiences with success as well as failures (whether big or small) and an attempt to identify the one key factor which has played the most critical and significant role for me – if I were to pick one!

The No.1 Key….

After my engineering, I was one of few students recruited from the various IITs to join NTPC. The organisation plan at that time apparently was to train and groom us into possible key future managers in the various departments of the organisation. Hence, after a special one-year training programme, the much coveted head office posting in NCR was accorded to all us.

The head-office posting was a matter of great pride at that time – particularly after seeing the amount of effort and lobbying my other co-new recruits had to undertake to secure a posting in the corporate offices.

However, by the time I was leaving the organisation (about two years later), I realized that the initial head office posting would have resulted in a major handicap for me if I were to pursue a long-term career in the company / industry.

I missed out on the best opportunity to start off the initial years of my career towards building a keen understanding of the industry’s basic fundamentals. A posting in one of the site offices (although highly challenging and demanding given the remote locations) would have enabled me to get a first-hand experience and understanding of the intricacies involved in setting-up and/or operating a power plant – the core business of the company.

Even during the my B-School interviews, I realized that such an exposure would have enabled me to speak with greater authority about the industry and my own company’s operations.

Hence, when I joined my current organisation to pursue a new career in another industry, I decided not to repeat the same mistake! I resolved to focus on first grasping the key basic fundamental knowledge and skills-sets which I believed would be critical for a long term growth in the organisation and industry.

Although I was initially recruited for a role in Business Development (which was apparently a better profile), after several persuasions and promptings, I got myself shifted to the role of a Financial Analyst – as I soon realized that’s where I need to start!

I spent the initial few years learning everything I could about financial modelling / analysis as well as gaining a broader perspective of the intricacies involved in financially evaluating prospective investments – which is the core of any investment firm’s business. I spent those years trying to gain mastery of those basic fundamentals and skills – investing in myself  first (reading books – actually lots of them, attending courses, seminars, workshops, etc)!

I recently came across a saying “People who have mastered a skill or area of expertise usually stand out in the crowd”. When I look back today, that’s precisely what has happened for me as well. The initial few years I spent gaining MASTERY of the hardcore financial aspects of the business soon enabled me to stand out both within the organisation as well as outside (amongst our business partners / associates).

It enabled me, initially and at a fairly early stage, to start playing a role in the decision making process of the organisation. Very soon, it resulted in increasingly bigger decision making roles and a higher career growth path – with bigger roles and assignments!

Several subsequent events and other factors were also definitely at play. However, the main reason which enabled me to achieve such growth within my organisation and finally landed me the responsibility of being the CEO, I believe, is the initial MASTERY of the basic knowledge / skill sets which enabled me to get noticed and kick-started the chain of events leading up to my final appointment as the CEO.

To Conclude…

Some of you might still remember the discussion we had on Financial Intelligence during our recent Youth Day Celebrations. We pondered on how 60-70% of the world’s total wealth is owned by the wealthy 1% while the poor 50% people own only 1% of the total world’s wealth.

Even more surprising is the social scientists’ prediction that even if the total world’s wealth were to be equally redistributed today, we would revert back to the above highly skewed unequal distribution of wealth, just within a few years.

One logical explanation for the same is this – the wealthy 1% have mastered certain high-income skills – be it artistic, sports, business or investments which cannot be taken away from them even if they were to lose all their wealth.

That same mastery of a specific skill(s) which enabled them to build their wealth the first time will help them rebuild their wealth – while the rest will continue to work (for them) to help them do so again!

Even if Bill Gates or Warren Buffet were to give away their entire wealth today, their business or investment acumen, which they have mastered and are a class apart, will not take them too much time to rebuild it all over again!

That I believe is also the real financial freedom! Knowing and being confident that the you have mastered certain skill-sets which will enable you to generate your desired level of income / wealth, anytime and anywhere – even if you were to lose your job, your business or your entire accumulated wealth!

We are all here in Hyderabad today to script our own success stories. If you ask me the one key secret which can give anyone an edge for success in any field / profession – it is MASTERY! It doesn’t come easy, but anyone with a strong resolute desire can acquire it!

And if we do manage to reach that requisite level of mastery in our chosen field, nothing (literally) can stop us from being successful or reaching the goals we have set out to achieve!

Thank you all once again!