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Executive Education
Metilda Stanley
Senior vice-president, customer relations, HDFC Life


Strategic Thinking and Leadership at the Indian Business School, Hyderabad, in October 2011.

What is your background?

I have a degree in law from Government Law College, Mumbai and have also done a course in insurance from the Insurance Institute of India. I worked with Life Insurance Corporation for 10 years and then moved to HDFC to start its risk assessment department, after which I moved over to the customer services department and was responsible for creating a cohesive services strategy for the department.

Was there any change in your designation after doing the course?


What were your key learnings from the course?

The first major learning was the need for a well-defined roadmap for any kind of evolution to happen. Clarity on what you want to achieve is crucial. This, in turn, influences the benchmarks you set for yourselves, which was the second major learning. You can benchmark yourself against the entire industry, the Indian market or against global peers. The third key takeaway was the knowledge and insights we got into other industries, thanks to the heterogeneous batch. Each person brought his own perspective and domain knowledge, which was shared through discussions in case studies. With decades of experience in a particular industry, it is quite easy to get straitjacketed in your approach and forget that there is a wider world out there. By discussing different business models, we learnt how to define a competitive environment through a straightforward strategy.

What did you like the most about the course?

Apart from the single-minded focus of the professors on the course theme, the campus infrastructure, especially the library facilities, really stood out.

What would you like to change about the course?

The module on how an organisation’s culture promotes strategic thinking and leadership was taught in a very abstract, theoretical manner and it became a meaningless monologue.

—As Told To Adit Mathai

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