03 Feb 2021 14:02 IST

MBA should focus more on developing future leaders’ EQ

Rohit Chadda, CEO, Zee Digital

Zee Digital CEO Rohit Chadda says his path to success had innumerable twists and turns

An investment banker turned business leader, Rohit Chadda is the CEO of the digital publishing business of the Zee Group. A computer science engineer from Delhi College of Engineering and MBA from Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, he was awarded a 100 per cent merit scholarship sponsored by Aditya Birla Group, for both years of his MBA degree.

How has your MBA helped you in your corporate life?

My MBA has helped me immensely in my career. The benefits of the degree can be looked at from three perspectives — knowledge, work ethics, and networking.

As a business leader, you need to understand the nuances of subjects such as sales, marketing, finance, and operations, something that you learn during your management education.

Regarding work ethics, top B-schools drive you to work really hard, and make you a stickler for time and build your ability to work well in a group through the various group projects during the course of the programme. This helps you organise your time and ensure maximum productivity.

Your batch mates and friends from MBA form a strong network that you can tap into any time in your corporate life, be it for getting an understanding of a new industry or a prospective client for a new product you are launching.

What have been the key learnings from your MBA for you?

The ability to take tough calls in a high-pressure circumstance and to identify your teammates’ strengths and allocate work accordingly to maximise results. There were numerous times when I had to deliver a project within a short timeline. In such situations, it becomes crucial that a team leader has the ability to motivate and inspire others to bring out their best.

What does a typical schedule look like?

More often than not, my work is extremely demanding and the schedule is jam-packed. I try to take some time to myself to keep things sane and make sure that the larger vision is not lost while tackling the day-to-day tasks. Part of that sanity is also achieved from allocating some time to physical exercise, a great way to de-stress. I end my day by watching a movie or a TV show to unwind.

On days that I feel like I’ve learned something new or found a breakthrough to solve a problem is a happy day for me — a day of fulfilment.

If you had to re-visit your MBA what would you have liked to see as part of your course?

If I had to revisit my MBA and redo everything, I would not change a single thing, because my degree helped me become the leader I am known to be today. Changing it would mean I am not happy with whatever I have achieved so far. I am proud of my mistakes and the learnings it has gotten to me. The course structure helps young leaders metamorphose into future business leaders.

What have been the chief ingredients in your road to the top?

I’m a lazy person; I am always on the lookout for saving human effort wherever possible. Hence, I tend to challenge the status-quo, and my strengths lie in figuring out the best and the most optimal way to do something, both in terms of effort and cost.

This knack of always trying to find the best possible solution to a problem inspires me to build something new — whether it’s building new companies such as foodpanda or PayLo, or building new businesses such as Zee5, ZeeNews.com, and India.com for an existing company like Zee.

Nothing can be done alone. None of my successes would be possible without the never-ending cooperation and dedication of great teams and peers that I have been fortunate enough to be working and collaborating with.

What have been your best and worst moments?

It’s not the best moments in life that teach you lessons, but the worst moments. The road to success is often paved with innumerable twists and turns of many not-so-perfect moments. However, I personally feel that the lows in my life have taught me more than the highs could. My mantra is to learn from every situation, no matter good or bad.

What would be your advice to young MBAs who are joining the corporate sector?

Every student will enjoy a different MBA experience equipping them with their own unique and diverse skill set to take into the workplace. My advice is to be ready to learn from any situation that you are put in and take each day as it comes.

Another thing to keep in mind is that business environments are known for pressure, pace, and high responsibility. It's important to not get bogged down by high-pressure situations, and remain calm and focused, no matter what. Keep asking yourself — what’s the worst that can happen — and you’ll realise nothing can go so wrong and there’s no need to stress.

Are you happy with the way the MBA is structured/ taught today?

The MBA is structured in a way that each student understands the importance of working under deadlines. It prepares students for corporate life and to work under pressure. While working in teams is great for learning and simulating the corporate environment, more focus should be given to developing the Emotional Intelligence (EQ) of our future leaders. I see a lot of people in workplaces great at their jobs but are not so comfortable managing teams. They’ve mostly focused only on developing their IQ and not EQ.

What would you advise young MBAs to read/ watch?

Thanks to OTT platforms, youngsters have access to high-quality content, not only for entertainment but also for learning. I’d suggest young MBA graduates watch a lot of documentaries of successful and unsuccessful businesses, to gather what they did right and what they could have done better. The more you can learn from other people’s experiences the better. Further, I’d suggest reading self-help books to build your emotional intelligence to become a better people’s person and strong leader in the long term.