HR Professional - I Bet On My Instincts

Name: Divya S.
Work stream: Human Resources (HR)
Years of work experience: 10 yrs.
Current role & company: Associate Vice President & HR Business Partner, Deutsche Bank

Education history:
• 11th & 12th – Commerce with Math
• Graduation – B.Com. (Hons)
• Post graduation – PGDBM (HR)

Career history:
• First 6.5 yrs: Across various HR roles at the Corporate Office, Factory & the Technology Center at Delphi Automotive Systems
• Last 3.5 years: In Deutsche Bank

Until my graduation, most of my choices had been dictated either by my lack of awareness or by my need to avoid what I didn’t like to do! It was only during graduation that I let my instincts guide me towards what I liked – and that led to my path in Human Resources!

The early choices based on ignorance & avoidance!

After 10th, the one thing I was clear about was that I did not want to pursue Science. And since my school, at that time, did not offer a Humanities/ Arts stream in 11th (nor did I have any idea about it), I took up Commerce. Since I'd seen people jump from Commerce to other streams, I thought there was flexibility there, so I took the plunge.

I took up B.Com (Honours) as a default next step since I’d chosen Commerce. When learning about journals and balance sheets did not excite me, I took a decision that I was not going to pursue a career related to my educational qualifications.

Figuring Out

It so happened that most of my friends at college were studying other courses such as economics and journalism. They did a lot of group projects. Just hanging out with them, and listening to the kind of stuff they were doing made me feel a deep desire to connect with people and to work jointly.

In their company, I instinctively gravitated towards organizing college events. And my natural enthusiasm saw me playing Master of Ceremonies in many of them! I even tried my hand at radio, and hosted shows for AIR FM in Delhi. Many recommended to me a career in journalism, but I was gravitating towards Human Resources. Couple of seniors in college who had done HR gave me a good perspective of the profession. I liked the fact that one needs to connect with people across the company, in different departments. They also helped me realize that the need for such a role is never going to disappear. As the role combined both my strengths and interests, I knew it was the right one for me.

The MBA prepared me for the role and the campus interviews found me my mentor. The HR Manager who recruited me became my first boss. When he moved to a regional (Asia) role, he took me along to work at the Corporate Office. He took me under his wings, connected me with folks all over & made me responsible to move things on many key projects. In one, we had to lay down the HR processes for all the countries in the region! That was fantastic exposure for a management trainee like me. Yes, there were long working hours, like 12-14 hrs a day, but it was great learning & fun. He let me even develop content for training programs, and while he connected me to people who guided me, it was clear that I had to take the lead in driving my growth. That first year at work worked wonders for me as I found my feet in HR!

Subsequently, I broadened my exposure in HR roles at the Factory & at the Technology Center of the company.

Advice to youngsters interested in HR

People think HR is a cushy job, especially for women. As a woman, let me tell you, it’s not! You need to have the passion, an eye for detail, and need to be watchful about closing loops with different stakeholders. You can't afford to be absent-minded, and do well here. Just knowing theory is not good enough, you finally need to connect with real life, and apply it through the processes you design. That's when you start gaining credibility & people start seeking you out.

Sometimes HR can be a thankless job. Most people in the company tend to point out what you didn't do, and not what you did! I have survived because I have learnt to pat my own back. You be ready to do the same.

True Career Stories, Human Resources Management

Entrance Exam


Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams, follow their interests & curiosities and see the opportunities in life's setbacks-- including death itself.