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Story of Chanda Kochhar, the Woman behind the Success of ICICI Bank

If you are a woman, then making a mark for yourself in this male dominated society requires a lot of hard work and determination. We have a lot of inspirational stories from across India, where women, from different backgrounds, have achieved phenomenal success. But there is one woman who keeps inspiring us all the time. She is none other than Chanda Kochhar.

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Born and brought up in Jodhpur, Kochhar is the CEO and Managing Director of ICICI Bank. A brilliant student, she completed her schooling from St. Angela Sophia School in Jaipur and her bachelor's from Jai Hind College in Mumbai. After that, she pursued her master's degree in the reputed Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies. While in college, she was awarded the Wockhardt Gold Medal for her academic performance and J. N. Bose award in cost accountancy.

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With a three-decade-long career, Chanda Kochhar has carved a niche for herself in the Indian retail banking scenario. She has changed the face of the banking sector in India with her effort and determination. Her brilliant growth and development can be witnessed with the growth of ICICI. She is one of the driving forces behind the progress of the bank. ICICI has been awarded the 'Best Retail Bank in India' for five consecutive years. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise for her to be ranked 20th in the list of most powerful women in the world by the Forbes Magazine. 

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Kochhar joined ICICI in the year 1993 and nothing has stopped her escalation in the company since. In the same year that she joined, ICICI decided to set ICICI Bank and she was a major part of the team. When she initially joined she was assigned the job of handling projects in various industrial sectors like cement, petrochemicals, paper, textiles etc. In 1994, she became the Assistant General Manager of the bank and, in 1996, she became the Deputy General Manager. In the same year, the bank established an Infrastructure Industry Group and Kochhar was the head of this group. After that, she was promoted to the post of General Manager and became the head of ICICI's 'Major Client Group'.  She also started the bank's retail business in 2000. Under her leadership, the bank became the biggest retail financier in India. 

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Kochhar was the Chief Finance Officer (CFO), Joint Managing Director (JMD), and the official spokesperson of ICICI from 2007 to 2009. She led the Corporate Center of ICICI bank and worked as the director of the ICICI group of companies. In 2009, she was appointed as the Managing Director and the CEO of ICICI bank and has held this position since. 

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Her journey has been an amazing one but all of these achievements couldn't have been possible without her mother's support. Losing their father at a young age, Kochhar and her siblings found strength and determination in their mother. She is one of the most brilliant and established woman bankers in India. She has received many awards like the Retail Banker of the Year 2004, Business Woman of the Year 2005 and Rising Star Award 2006. She was even given the most prestigious award of the country, Padma Bhushan in 2010. She has also received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Global Corporate Citizenship, whose previous recipients have been individuals like APJ Abdul Kalam, Narayana Murthy, and Hillary Clinton.

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The journey of the top position holder in the Forbes’ list of 'Most Powerful Women of the World' is awe inspiring. When Economic Times asked her 'What helps a woman, determined to reach the top, stay the course?', she said, "Keeping a cool mind and thinking through a potential solution before implementing it, helps you emerge as a strong person."

It's her contribution and ability to recognise and honour excellence across every area of human endeavour that sets Chanda Kochhar apart and makes her an incredible leader.  

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