Women cannot run companies. Women cannot manage personal and professional life. Women cannot do this, that and those.
Except, they can. They do.
In a rapidly changing world where women are taking up roles previously only “destined” for men, PepsiCo Chief Indra Nooyi is an inspiration for millions. If you too aspire for the stars, dreaming of one day running a multi-billion-dollar company, check out this list of invaluable lessons from the power woman.
Tips From Indra Nooyi: Career Guidance For Professionals & Students
Padma Bhushan Indra Nooyi, the incumbent Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, is one of the most powerful women in the world. She’s at the helm of affairs in the world’s second-largest food and beverage business (after Nestle) and has been since 2006 – a whopping 12 years already! In 2015, Fortune magazine declared her the world’s 2nd most powerful woman. Beyond PepsiCo too, Indra is a force to behold. She’s part of the International Cricket Council Board – the first independent female director ever.
So, how did Indra, a girl from a simple Tamil family in Chennai with a regular childhood, become this magnificent boss-woman?
- Take Your Education Very, Very Seriously
This is an age where brushing off school/college is considered “cool” and “entrepreneurial”. While some dropouts do manage to win without education, there’s no denying this: education is the most potent ingredient for success. The commitment, however, must develop young, especially while choosing your stream in 10+2 and your subsequent career.
Do you know Indra’s academic background? She earned bachelor’s degrees in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics from Madras Christian College, Chennai. She then pursued MBA from IIM Calcutta. It doesn’t stop there. She earned a master’s degree in Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Management too. Throughout her academic life, she pursued several internships to garner on-field experience.
Tip: Even for the seriously academic-minded, professional career counselling can be highly beneficial during 10+2. Seeking this guidance lets you make an optimal stream/career decision aligned to your aptitude. Even if you’re toying with – and are daunted by – the idea of changing careers at 40, seek expert career guidance. For instance, at CareerFutura.com, you can take an in-depth aptitude/psychometric test, at the end of which you’ll get a detailed report on the careers matching your skills and personality!
- Build a Strategy for Everything
For any Endeavour to succeed, strategy is paramount. A chaotic, haphazard lifestyle may seem fun and impulsive and even produce temporary results, but in the long run, strategy is indispensable for academic and professional success.
Take Indra’s example. While working in PepsiCo, she identified the core problem affecting sales: a shift in consumer preferences to healthier lifestyles. This was a situation that only strategic intervention could address. Indra organized a redirection of all PepsiCo products into three categories: “fun” (say, regular Pepsi), “better” (diet Pepsi), and “good” (say, oatmeal). Then, she directed the company’s funds to the “good” category, which eventually meant that even the other two categories became healthier and hence, more coveted!
Did You Know?
One of the best examples of Indra’s strategic brilliance is her handling of the water crisis associated with PepsiCo in India. Since early 2000, PepsiCo was getting ire for wasting water in India – a country already grappling with water shortage. Indra strategized a country-wide “positive water balance” program to understand and address this problem. By 2009, according to media reports, PepsiCo had managed to restock 6 billion+ liters of water in India – much more than PepsiCo’s average intake of five billion liters! Eventually, the program was extended to other countries too. Who says a corporate career cannot be philanthropic?
- Diversify Your Skills & Approach
What worked for you to ace class Xth exams is not going to work in 10+2, and definitely not for entrance exams. Likewise, the approach you need for an Engineering career is very different from the requirements of Advertising. This is why, if you seek career counselling for professionals, the top suggestion you’ll get is to tailor your approach to the situational need.
Check out how Indra did it. She started her career with ‘Total’, a British textile company, and then moved on to ‘Johnson & Johnson’. From here, she completely shifted domains to Motorola and Asea Brown Boveri (an automation technology company), and finally to Pepsico.
Over the years, Indra diversified for the various brands she handled, from the woman-centered Stayfree at J&J to tech-based products at ABB and food and beverages at PepsiCo. At PepsiCo, Indra even led the formation of ‘Tricon’ (now “Yum! Brands”) that comprises KFC and Pizza Hut, among others.
Remember – diversification should also comprise non-work-related activities to re-energies your brain. Indra reportedly does this by fishing – a therapeutic hobby. During her college days, her hobbies were “wilder”: all-girls’ cricket team and rock-band!
- Never Grow Complacent
Satisfaction is good; complacence isn’t. Whether you’re a student or a professional, grow constantly. The day you stop is when you’re no longer an asset. Indra, even after her marvelous achievements, never stops persevering. Since her joining, PepsiCo’s profit has reportedly grown from $2.7billion to $6.5billion in 2014! She’s always exploring new arenas, such as leading sub-brands Quaker, Tropicana and Gatorade to success.
Indra, you inspire! Let’s take a leaf from her book as we continue on our own academic and professional journey.