Piyush Chandra, managing director, Oriflame East Africa
1. What was your first job?
I started working early in my life. I did assignments as a project coordinator and data collector for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Air India during my university days. The early start not only gave me insight about the professional world, but important lessons of hard work and diligence required at all stages of our lives.
2. What parts of your job keep you awake at night?
We live in a dynamic and challenging environment. In any business your success depends a lot on people with whom you work, and it is all about having the ‘right people on the bus’. In our work, there are those both within and outside our business who contribute to our success. Identifying their development areas, training them and creating growth opportunities keeps me on my toes and also gives me sleepless nights.
3. Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?
I have had the opportunity to work with some wonderful people throughout my career. However, there’s one person who has had a deep impact on me as a human being and a leader. I had a senior in my previous organisation (who actually happened to be younger to me) – his clear vision always motivated me. He had the ability to keep everyone together and forge ahead as a team.
4. What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received?
It is easy to be on the top but very difficult to maintain. Another important one I adhere to is to ‘walk the talk’.
5. The top reasons you have been successful in business?
I love my work and am passionate about it. I am a people’s person. Together, these two things give me a chance to bring about change in people’s lives. Having a clear vision, working as a team, giving equal opportunity to all and delivering on the ideals set forth by my organisation have helped me be successful today.
6. Where’s the best place to prepare for leadership? Business school or on the job?
No doubt on the job learning is the best way for developing as a future leader. Schools introduce you to the theoretical world, but real life experiences teach you even more.
7. How do you relax?
I am an avid cook and while I love spending time with my family, it gives me pleasure to cook for them as well. I enjoy travelling – exploring new places and getting to know different cultures.
8. By what time do you like to be at your desk?
I am an early bird! I prefer being in the office early so I can strategise and plan out the tasks for the day.
9. Your favourite job interview question?
Why do you want to change your present job?
10. What is your message to Africa’s aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs?
Success comes by choice not by chance! Don’t wait for the tide to come, just jump into the sea and start your journey.
Piyush Chandra is the East Africa managing director for Swedish cosmetics company Oriflame. The natural beauty products manufacturer has a presence in more than 60 countries globally, selling its products through approximately three million independent consultants. In 2012, Oriflame acquired its businesses in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda previously run by a franchisee.
In Africa, Oriflame has a presence in Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria and Sudan. Its product portfolio covers skin care, make-up, fragrance, body care, hair care and Wellness products.