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No kidding, please

It was not her ability, not her gender, not her qualification, but getting past her youth that has been a challenge for Pooja Gupta.

Shamni Pande | Print Edition: April 4, 2010

It was not her ability, not her gender, not her qualification, but getting past her youth that has been a challenge for Pooja Gupta. "Often, people hesitate because they feel that you are too young for the job, though you may have the right attitude and aptitude," she says.

She sailed through her chartered accountancy finals in the 99.6 percentile, and started off as a 19-yearold in 1995 at S.R. Batliboi. The funniest moment in her career was when she flew into London to apply for a finance head's post and the people thought that she had come for an HR job.

"It underlined the stereotypes that people have across the world ...I found it quite amusing," she says. Today, other than her main role, Gupta finds time to groom other young people within the group for leadership roles. "Developing talent is taken very seriously at J&J," she says.

Pooja Gupta, 33, Finance Director, Johnson & Johnson Medical Asia Pacific

  • EDUCATION: MBA from INSEAD, France; CA.
  • EXPERIENCE: Finance Head, southern Europe, Honeywell Inc.
  • 'AHA' MOMENT: Being given charge of the entire southern European market at Honeywell.
  • TOP GOAL: A global leadership position.

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