Aditya Birla Group’s Chief Data Officer decodes his 5Cs and 3Ps formula of success
Pankaj Rai, in conversation with Dr. Geeta Hegde, Dean, UPES School of Business, discusses the skills that will keep graduates relevant for life, why he feels there is no dearth of jobs if students identify with their purpose, and more…
Practical advice and knowledge from the masters of their respective fields are invaluable for a student. That is why industry interactions form an integral part of UPES’ pedagogy. Among several initiatives to bring such insights to the students, the university conducts ‘Dean Asks’ sessions.
As part of the series, Dr. Geeta Hegde, Dean, UPES School of Business, spoke with Pankaj Rai, the Group Chief Data and Analytics Officer at Aditya Birla Group. They discussed the most relevant life skills for graduates and executives and the value of purpose in the success of a business and individual. An industry veteran, Rai specialises in Analytics, Risk Management, Strategic Planning, and Data Analytics. In a career spanning over 25 years, he has worked with reputed organisations such as Wells Fargo, Dell, Standard Chartered Bank, and GE Capital, to name a few.
What are the life skills that you would look for in graduates and executives to be relevant lifelong?
Pankaj Rai: Over the years, I have been talking to a lot of people – from youngsters who are coming out of college to peers my age, and everyone in-between about career, choices, and life. Following those conversations, I came up with the 3Cs framework – compassion, conviction, and creativity – derived from economic principles.
Compassion, in my opinion, leads to a conviction, which is your belief in yourself. If you are compassionate, hopefully, you will figure out your conviction. And if you have both of those, then you will have the creativity to solve the problems. Later, I added two more Cs in the framework, one at the beginning and one at the end. The first one was curiosity; if you are not curious and keen to learn, there is no way you can get to compassion or conviction or creativity.
The last C was communication. We should share our knowledge and gain feedback from others.
What, according to you, is the value of purpose?
Pankaj Rai: Here, I would like to put a 3P framework that I have formulated. Earlier, we were all driven by the process, which used to be the main P. Over time, when products came into being, people said the process is passé, it is old-fashioned, and we should be making products. Products were determining how we would succeed. And now, in my opinion, we have come to the third P stage – purpose – not that the other two have disappeared, but they have become subservient to the last P.
The purpose is the king. What am I trying to achieve is the most important question! I think that purpose-driven individuals will be better off. Because to solve that purpose, one needs to acquire all kinds of knowledge. There is no dearth of jobs if we identify ourselves with our purpose. There are so many problems to solve.
If I were to ask you about the problems of the world, you would have an infinite list. To me, that is the number of jobs out there. Because everything has to be solved, and there is some economic value to it. Either the government pays for it, or the private-sector organisations pay for it and so forth. So, instead of identifying ourselves with a means to an end, if we start identifying more and more with the end, I think the means will follow.
(The session has been edited for length and clarity.)