Hard work and general curiosity have helped Madhumita Mitra overcome challenges throughout her life. Despite starting off as an average student, Mitra managed to end up at the top of her class due to her sheer diligence and focus. It was through her father —who has always been a strong source of inspiration for her — that she learnt to work hard, achieve her goals and fulfil her dreams. He is the one who also encouraged her to be more ambitious.
At first she aspired to become an engineer, but unfortunately, she couldn’t clear the entrance exam. Her father advised her to broaden her horizons and consider other career choices, such as civil services and law. Mitra chose to be a management graduate and ended up specialising in marketing. She landed her first job at HCL through campus placement.
Recalling her mixed experience at HCL, she shares that the Company was, at the time, looking to move away from the hardware business, and getting into mobile handset, network solutions and computers. Since it was a new area, there were some hiccups in Mitra’s journey, which is natural.
Even though she found it challenging to move from one division to another at HCL, she admits that she had the support of fantastic managers who helped her through the process. HCL’s amazing onboarding programme helped Mitra get acquainted with all the nuances of the work.
She talks fondly of her dream posting with Unilever, at Kolkata, the city from where she had completed her college education. She had wanted to explore a different side of learning and development and Unilever granted her the right kind of opportunity to fulfil that desire. Not surprisingly, her time with Unilever was very fulfilling. While moving from one industry to another, as a practice, Mitra always prepares herself by researching about the kind of work and environment the organisation offers, before signing up for the position.
She also keeps a very open mind and avoids offering solutions to problems without applying critical thinking. It is her strong belief that situations should be examined
closely before rushing in to provide hurried solutions.
Every company has its own dynamics, which must be respected by people trying to assimilate themselves in it. She believes that a person’s progress in an organisation depends on his/her connections with the stakeholders. It is important to maintain such relations because it helps one traverse difficult situations.
One of the major turning points in Mitra’s career came when she made the switch from the technology space to performance consulting and training.
In her professional journey, Mitra has always been inspired by the excellent people she met at different organisations that she worked for. One of them was her manager at Unilever, with whose support she created a new business model. She cherishes the memories of how her manager boosted her confidence at work, and helped showcase her work, allowing her to win accolades.
Mitra had a mentor at Aircel as well — a lady she describes as being dynamic in nature. According to Mitra, she had all the qualities that one looks for in a mentor and supported her at every stage of her work.
For young people who aspire to become CHROs, Mitra has some advice. Since HR has many verticals, she suggests that people should learn to get a taste of each in order to gain deep and thorough experience in the field. For instance, HR business partners should also work on other aspects because it’s important to gain better knowledge of more than one area in HR.
People should always be open to learning new things, advises Mitra. She encourages aspirants to take up odd tasks that not everyone wants to do in the organisation. While people may think such tasks are beneath them, they can actually provide precious learning experience that’ll stand them in good stead in the long run.
Mitra loves travelling and reading books. Her favourite books are Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.