ET Young Leaders Winner 2011 – View from the top

Thu, Sep 1, 2011

Alumni Speak

Vikash Priyadarshi (Batch 2010) has done the MBA program proud with his achievement of being in the elite 22 of the Economic Times Young Leaders – 2011. Here is a blow-by-blow account from the man himself as he tastes well deserved success after a gruelling fight.


Amidst the ethos and pathos of the daily chores of life as a management consultant in KPMG, the opportunity to rub the shoulders with some of the stalwarts of Corporate India came as a refreshing and enriching change, the experience of which will be treasured for life time. The Economic Times Young Leaders initiative has been one of the firsts of its kind in India, supported by SHL Plc and ISB, and is targeted to give a platform to promote aspirants amongst the younger generation (26 years to 32 years). The advertisement appeared in Economic Times in the month of May and the incentives were too good to resist. Besides the opportunity to understand the nuances of leadership seen through the prism of senior industry veterans, the platform also paves a way to test the leadership skills & competence and prepares the aspirant for a leadership role in a globalized environment. The platform offers plethora of opportunities in terms of networking, chances to participate in leadership seminars, events & networking sessions with the CEOs and most importantly an opportunity to participate at the leadership workshop to be held at the prestigious Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. There were 8-10 predefined leadership competencies on the basis of which assessment was done at each stage. I would consider myself lucky to get into the elite group after a string of tests, as close to 30,000 participants had applied for the same in the first round. The overall test, excluding the interview round, comprised 3 phases. The first one, Quicksift, was a multi-option test which required providing ranks on the traits listed. The second test again comprised of 2 phases; the first one mostly judged on the verbal ability and numerical reasoning; and the second one was a personality assessment test called OPQ. Both the phases in second test were time bound. After this stage only 256 candidates were short listed for the round 3 which was an on-ground testing phase. In this phase each group went through an in-depth group task and role plays. In my case the group task involved finding out avenues to revive a sick firm. It was followed by an individual task assignment which was almost on the same lines as the previous case. The team from SHL Plc, pioneers in the field of competency assessment, was evaluating us to check the consistency in personality questions answered in all the phases so far. The trick here was to be true to your self and not answer the ones which are most preferred. After crossing the hurdles in the first 3 phases, I finally qualified for the ultimate leg of this event i.e. the CEO interface. The short listed candidates were interviewed by an esteemed panel of CEOs which comprised:

  • Kalpana Moraparia – Chief Executive Officer, J P Morgan
  • Adil Zainulbhai – Managing Director of India, Mckinsey & Company
  • Pramod Bhasin – Non Executive Vice-Chariman, Genpact
  • D Shivakumar – Vice President and Managing Director, Nokia India
  • Vineet Nayar – Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, HCL Technologies Ltd
  • Nitin Paranjpe – Managing Director and CEO, Hindustan Unilever Ltd
  • Anand Mahindra – Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra
  • Harsh C. Mariwala – Chairman & Managing Director, Marico Limited

I was privileged to have Mr. Pramod Bhasin as my interviewer. I was called upon at the Gurgaon headquarters of Genpact. He asked me questions about leadership, ambition in life, risk-taking capabilities in real life scenarios, understanding of a true and inspiring leader, views on consulting industry, about my plans later in my life, about my thoughts on giving back to the society in terms of Social Responsibility and a string of other questions. I had to correlate most of the things with my personal and professional deeds so far. True to the terms of an able leader who can balance work and life, I was checked on my family, educational backgrounds etc. and also my views on the social institution of marriage and my plans on it in the future.

On a lighter note I am still called by my friends and colleagues in IIT as ‘Neta’ – a colloquial Hindi term which in English translates to ‘Leader’.  Whether this gentle affection imbibed in me a sense of leadership and responsibility towards the larger goals of my life, I am not sure but that confidence definitely helped me in transcending the hurdles to reach this platform of the Economic Times Young Leader, 2011. Hopefully I will be able to share and utilize the experience garnered through this for some noble cause.

Vikash Priyadarshi

MBA Batch of 2010

7 Responses to “ET Young Leaders Winner 2011 – View from the top”

  1. Pushpender Says:

    People used to ask ” Does IIT kanpur offer MBA program too?”
    Vikas has answered this question once and for all….I hope this question will not be asked anymore.

  2. Manu Says:

    Congrats to our ‘Netajee’:yours is an accomplishment which was very well deserved ! :-)

  3. Harshad Says:

    We should add a ‘like tab’ in this forum like facebook..What Pushpender has said is right and answers many of the queries in turn shows the quality over here…

  4. Muktha Prabhakar Says:


  5. Mcx Tips Says:

    I really appreciate your post and you explain each and every point very well.Thanks for sharing this information.And I’ll love to read your next post too.


    Mcx Tips

  6. raja Says:

    gr8 job

  7. Nimishai Says:

    Very inspiring!! congratulation Vikas sir!!

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