1998
Vice President – Head Shopper Insights & Category Management PepsiCo
Ms Pratibha Chhaya batch of 1998, is currently the VP & Business Head for Morphy Richards at Baja
Electricals Ltd, India’s leading appliances company. Prior to this tenure, she has been associated with severa big brands in the industry, such as Cadbury, Pepsi Foods, Britannia, Marico, and ICICI bank, to name a few At Cadbury India, Ms. Pratibha received President’s Global Award for Project New Way which was made a case study and was implemented within Cadbury Schweppes across several countries. She also enjoys reading extensively and also takes part in marathons.

Excerpts from her interview:

1. You have worked in the FMCG, consumer electronics/electrical, banking and media sectors. How was the transition and how are the challenges different in these domains?

Key skills and competencies across sectors remain the same. However, the extent, depth and complexity may
be different. At different points in time of your career you need to acquire new capabilities to further your
career. e.g. when you rise through the ranks you may need to lead large teams and thus you’ll end up taking
up different roles that teach you team management and leadership. It doesn’t matter which domain you are
working in, for example, I led a team of about 300 people in media, whereas in marketing you would typically lead a team of 4 or 5 people at the same grade. Hence you have to make career moves
accordingly.

2.How difficult was it for you as a woman rising up the corporate hierarchy?

In sectors like banking and media, women occupy the top positions. In most companies that I have worked
for, a lot of thrust was placed on gender diversity and company’s policies and systems were designed to
support women workforce. As a matter of fact, it depends on your immediate supervisor too. Since, I started
as a sales officer for Phillips where one could not find many of the fairer sex, you have to underplay your
feminity a bit as you don’t want any distractions since you want your work and competencies to speak for you.
However, things are definitely changing for the better in the present times.

3. While you have had a number of achievements in your career, what has been the proudest moment of your professional life?

I think coming back to my alma mater and attending the inaugural ceremony of the new academic year as the
chief guest is the greatest moment of my professional career. It is a recognition of all my efforts through the
years. It’s an honour to be present and to able to share my experiences with the students.

4. Who is a person that you considered as a role model early in your life? How and why does this person impact your life?

I have quite a few mentors who have helped me a great deal in various aspects of my professional life. From
helping with the subject matter such as advertising to development of my leadership abilities, they have
played a huge role in my life. However, the one person I truly look up to would be Amitabh Bachchan. He
personifies all the qualities a successful person must have – resilience, adaptability, humility, determination,
command on his capabilities.
He has stood the test of times in spite of serial failures in various ventures in his career and every time rising
like a phoenix, taking on small screen and making it so big that it’s an indispensable platform for all
celebrities. Despite his health conditions, he has managed to become the numero uno of the Indian
entertainment industry. He is the only star brand who is equally relevant and admired across all generations
from teens to octogenarians. At the same time, he has managed to stay grounded and that has made him what
he is today. I have had an opportunity to work with him while I was working with ICICI Bank and his sheer
determination and humbleness continue to inspire me till date.

5. How challenging is it to maintain a work-life balance as one moves up the corporate ladder and how do you cope with this challenge?

I think it isn’t an accurate question given that I am not married. However, I think from a career’s point of
view, it worked to my advantage. For me, my career is as much a part of my life is as my personal life is. I
believe that a balance between work and life isn’t attained when you leave for home at six. It is all about
enjoying work and as a matter of fact, I haven’t taken an off since the last 10 months and I am not
complaining.
At the same time, I urge upon everyone to try and strike the balance and invest in oneself. I started reading
and running marathons and that helped me become more successful as a professional and made me develop a
holistic personality.

6. Could you please share any anecdotes that you recollect from your time at NMIMS?

I think one of my fondest memories during my time at NMIMS was the annual cultural festival, especially the
beauty contest event. It was an amazing experience and I think our batch is remembered for being extremely
participative and active in extra-curricular activities. We had a great time on campus in those days

7. Drawing from your own experiences, what advice would you like to give to the students at NMIMS?

Network well and make sure you find a mentor who can guide you. Please be humble throughout your
journey. Invest in yourself and make sure you keep developing yourself. Also, throughout this journey make
sure you never stop learning! Good luck !!