Perspectives from ISB

The trend of working outside the family business, especially outside the country, by Indian business family scions is gaining traction. As per Professor Kavil Ramachandran of ISB, “this global exposure prepares the new generation directly for senior roles in the family business. It enables them with the experience to work with non-family professionals, offers networking benefits and a lot of credibility and respect to their profile when they join the family business”. The learning in global organizations is also critical for family businesses from the strategic point of view. As several Indian family businesses internationalize, either through joint ventures or acquisitions, or setting up offices outside India, it becomes critical to understand how global organizations are run. The previous work experience also helps them to secure deals and close negotiations efficiently.

Given below is a list of Indian family business scions who have recently worked outside of the country.

  • Burjis Godrej, son of Godrej Industries Managing Director Nadir Godrej, works as a customer support Asian development specialist at the US-based Conservis.
  • Mukesh Ambani’s daughter Isha Ambani; Kulin Lalbhai, son of Lalbhai group Chairman Sanjay Lalbhai; Lakshmi Venu, daughter of TVS group Chairman Venu Srinivasan; and Nandini Piramal, daughter of Swati and Ajay Piramal, all worked at McKinsey & Co before joining the family business.
  • Dilip Piramal’s daughter Radhika worked at Bain before joining family business VIP Industries
  • RPG Harsh Goenka group scion Anant Goenka took his early lessons at Unilever; Morgan Stanley Hong Kong; and Accenture before joining the family business.
  • Aditya Mittal of ArcelorMittal started out in investment banking with Credit Suisse.
  • Bhairavi Jani, daughter of Tushar Jani, former Chairman of logistics major Blue Dart, did a stint at KPMG.
  • Scions of south India based businesses — Krishna Mahesh (Sundaram Brake Linings), Subbiah Vellayan (Cholamandalam) and Lavanya Nalli (Nalli Group) — also spent some time at consulting firms before joining their respective family businesses.