Fortune India|December 2019
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less travelled by,” wrote Robert Frost in his poem ‘The Road Not Taken’. These words echo Arundhati Bhattacharya’s idea of life and what she has achieved so far as one of India’s most successful women business leaders. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by, being [a] woman,” Bhattacharya said, succinctly putting forth the achievements, not only hers, but of India’s most powerful women business leaders.
The former chairman of India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) was speaking at the fifth edition of Fortune India’s Most Powerful Women (MPW) in business summit in Mumbai on November 8.
“I have a background in English literature. When I became chairman of SBI [in October 2013], people would very quickly skip over my academic credentials because they were embarrassed that a woman with a background in English literature was heading a Fortune 500 bank. Something that had not happened in the world,” said Bhattacharya. “But the fact of the matter is that I had a background in English but took the risk of getting into a bank about which I knew nothing and still managed to get up there and head it.”
Fortune India’s annual list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in business is an acknowledgement of the outstanding work that women entrepreneurs and executives have done in their respective fields. “In a country where women are still up against several socio-economic challenges, the 50 women who make our 2019 MPW list are examples of how determination, drive, creativity, and compassion can make a potent recipe for success,” said Sourav Majumdar, editor, Fortune India, while delivering the welcome address at the summit.
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