Tracing a unique career trajectory from an army man to a leading role in the corporate sector and then becoming an inspiring mentor, Captain Raghu Raman has done it all! During his Indian Army days, he wrote a highly detailed paper critiquing the army’s strategies in the Second World War, this paper was read by one of his senior officers who joked that the writer is either “destined to be a general or be court-martialed”. But Captain’s journey was going to be even more iconic as he left the army after completing 12 years and became the CEO of the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID). This was just the start of his unprecedented professional quest which held many new adventures for him! Here we bring you the journey of the inspiring CEO Captain Raghu Raman and his army lessons to help you conquer every area of your life!
Captain Raghu Raman was born in New Delhi where he completed his graduation from Sri Venkateshwara College, Delhi University. Since there was no history of army brats in the family, he never visioned or planned to become an army officer until he witnessed the anti-Sikh riots in 1984. Raman was inspired by the army men after witnessing them barge in, to settle the mayhem caused due to the riots. He was firmly determined to be a part of such an organization that plays such a central role in saving people and hence planned to join the Indian army. He appeared for the CDS exam to join the Indian Army.
“I have been in a few sticky situations in all legs of my career, but of course, the stint as a Complex Commander in Siachen Glacier probably tops the list.”
Captaining in the Indian Armed Forces
After completing the 18 months of intense training, Raghu Raman was posted in active combat in Punjab battling terrorists and the Siachen Glacier- the world’s highest battleground- facing Pakistani troops. Captain Raman has also been on international soil (Angola) as part of the Indian army. He has extensively talked about his time in the Indian army, from the recruitment process to the training days in many interviews and discussions.
In a recent interview with Beer Biceps, Captain Raman talked about a particular aspect of the recruitment method carried out by the Indian army in which the rejected candidates are announced by name in order to ensure that they don’t feel disheartened. He further also detailed the psychometric test and holistic training in the Indian army from battling your inner demons to tackling trauma and mental triggers in combat.
Captain Raman also highlighted how armed forces are becoming more empathetic around the world and fostering brotherhood, friendships, teamwork and mental health awareness.
Entering the Corporate Arena
Having served in the army for eleven years, Raghu Raman was resolute to explore his way back to the civil world. Since he was about to enter a new life which would be contrasting to his experience in the army, Raghu Raman spared no efforts in learning and advancing his knowledge and skills. It was the initial stage where the Internet was being set up in India and he worked hard towards understanding new technologies and their functions.
Raghu Raman had experience working on a few projects and hence, he knew the nuts and bolts of a corporate company and IT industries. He assisted in setting up the Mahindra United World College and his presentation grabbed the attention of Anand Mahindra, who then asked him to join the Mahindra Group in 1998. After working diligently and leading companies like First Choice and Mahindra SSG and DLSI Mahindra. Raghu Raman was then appointed as head of the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), Ministry of Home Affairs in the Government of India. He then went on to work as the President at Reliance Industries Limited Risk.
“Nothing is as good or as bad as it seems at first.”
Becoming an Inspiring Mentor
After living a distinguished life full of passion, hard work, and excellence; Raghu Raman went on to write a book named, Everyone’s War. He is presently a motivational speaker and a keynote speaker at many leading business schools and is always eager to impart his army-life lessons to the young people of the country. He is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation and writes columns on the topics of National Security Strategy and Leadership.
Captain Raman has truly ventured into one of the most unique career journeys and utilising what he’s learnt, he is amongst the best role models you can look up to!
Lessons from the Army by Captain Raghu Raman
A life filled with tough decisions, struggles, and unique experiences has something to teach us. Let’s go through a few of the many life lessons to learn front the life of Raghu Raman.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!
Focusing on the bigger picture is one of the key lessons we can learn from Captain Raghu Raman. Going back to his army training days with Josh Talks, he reminisced about the time he complained about the seniors for finishing up the breakfast food way before the juniors would arrive. This lead to a haphazard punishment cycles from the teacher to the seniors and then eventually to the juniors. He teaches us to sweat less over little things and focus on the bigger task and goal and how it can be accomplished without fussing over every small thing that annoys you or has went wrong.
Make Extra Efforts to Learn Something New
Raghu Raman lived the majority of his life trying out new things and being consistent with his work. Trying out something new doesn’t mean one leaves the current job unfinished. To explore new paths, we must be determined to understand its directions. Hence we must adopt the same energy, take chances, push ourselves, make mistakes and learn from them. These experiences will not be taught anywhere but can teach you lessons of a lifetime.
Never Take Rejection Personally
One of the most important life lessons to learn from Raghu Raman is that we must never take rejection personally. One rejection or disapproval doesn’t decide your fate and definitely isn’t a reason to stop. Different characteristics appeal to different individuals. It is not in our hands to control others, but we can certainly control our emotions and keep improving ourselves.
Learn to Take Ownership and Accountability
Capt. Raman emphasises that an army captain needs to be accountable for his team and their actions in the battleground. Similarly, whether you are a leader or part of a team, you need to take ownership and accountability for your own tasks and consistently strive to ensure that you are making your team proud!
“Everyone is a teacher, every day is an Experience.”
Thus, we hope the adventurous career journey of Captain Raghu Raman also inspired you to venture towards your own unique career quest! His life is the best example of what is to work hard on yourself and never stop seeking knowledge. Looking for career guidance? Our Leverage Edu mentors are here to help you find the best career path as per your interests and aspirations. Sign up for a free session now!