In the past few years, I have learned a few things about career progression in corporate life. Every graduate dreams about becoming CEO but it is almost impossible for ordinary hacks who are not exceptional in some way or other (and I am not just talking about talent) to move up the so-called ladder. To avoid this becoming another 2000 word rant, I will concisely present those points :
- There are only so many positions at the top, which make up only less than 1% of the numbers joining the industry every year.
- People with exceptional credentials will obviously always be preferred for top jobs.
- Those credentials are: IIT/IIM, Ivy League, recommended by others in the top management, relations and friends of the top management (more applicable for family businesses) and
- US returns. Much top positions in India are occupied by foreign returns irrespective of how good they are. The Indian fascination with “phoren” continues.
- Pure, dumb Luck. Right place, right time and all that.
The average small-town graduate from some run-of-the-mill college with no connections or exceptions to boast of will get only so far before the glass ceiling hits and he/she fades away as a nobody. Even if he/she is exceptionally brilliant, the caucus out there wouldn’t allow them to be part. Those who do not fit, are pushed or squeezed out of the sides of the pyramid into the infinite whiteness of the corporate graveyard.