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Kedar, the CFO of Founding Years Learning Solutions (Klay Schools), is a contrast from our previous guest RD Sriram in terms of number of jobs and career strategy. Yet, both of them are also similar in their humble backgrounds. Kedar’s career is a journey of transitions. He has worked in Indian promoter driven organisations, PE funded organisations, multinational companies, in education sector, dairy sector, engineering technologies, software sector, manufacturing sector and financial services sector. When I had approached him, I was curious about his habits and beliefs that made him succeed in such diverse environments. What impressed me was the origin – the struggle and lack of resources of a small town life in Orissa. His is a story of grit and perseverance, and an inspiration for everyone who is determined to succeed on their own terms. Enjoy listening to this one.

Small town beginnings to CFO-in-demand: Kedar Choudhury

Kedar, the CFO of Founding Years Learning Solutions (Klay Schools), is a contrast from our previous guest RD Sriram in terms of number of jobs and career strategy. Yet, both of them are also similar in their humble backgrounds. Kedar’s career is a journey of transitions. He has worked in Indian promoter driven organisations, PE funded organisations, multinational companies, in education sector, dairy sector, engineering technologies, software sector, manufacturing sector and financial services sector. When I had approached him, I was curious about his habits and beliefs that made him succeed in such diverse environments. What impressed me was the origin – the struggle and lack of resources of a small town life in Orissa. His is a story of grit and perseverance, and an inspiration for everyone who is determined to succeed on their own terms. Enjoy listening to this one. Here are some of the highlights from our conversation:

  • Determination, Hard Work and Sacrifice. Three variables that played a huge role in Kedar’s journey of success. Early on, he created clarity on what really excited him.He mentions his interactions in a bank that created awareness about the world of finance and Chartered Accountancy (CA).Though he was an undergraduate in science, he decided to pursue CA. Next, he put in hours and hours of hard work – studying during the week, and then supporting the family by working in the family business. Coming from a humble background, Kedar sacrificed entertainment and play that other young people of his age considered as normal.

  • An example of fierce determination is when Kedar had to make a choice of where to study for his CA exams. Being in a small town in Orissa, he had 2 choices – Kolkata or Chennai. Chennai was ~2000 kms away from his home. Yet, he chose Chennai over Kolkata because of the lower cost of living in Chennai. He makes it sound simple by stating that he had always studied on scholarships. This is so much in contrast to a privileged life of many, where such choices are based on what’s more convenient.

  • The Chennai routine started at 6 am with classes, followed by articleship from 9 am (like any full time job), then classes in evening and then cooking food for dinner. That was the hard work component Kedar speaks about. It’s hard to imagine such a routine but it is foundational for one life skill – mindset to put in efforts and keep on going.

  • To survive office politics and different work cultures, Kedar’s mantra has been ‘high quality’ work output and speed of execution. He learnt and shared how this mantra helped him across different organisations, politics and cultures. It is easy to get bogged down with the complexity behind career success. However, few parameters are fundamental. They don’t change. Being excellent at your craft and striving to become better and better at that, is one such parameter.

  • Finally, Kedar spent a few minutes on prognosis for the post-Covid world of elementary education, where his organisation Klay is active in. The prognosis also highlighted some opportunities for professionals, entrepreneurs and other organisations to collaborate with Klay. According to Kedar, these are in after-school and weekend activities. Listen to the conversation to understand more on this!

Kedar’s journey and success habits are not completely unique. They are however very inspirational because of the segment Kedar represents – everyone coming from an under-priviledged, resource constrained environment but aiming to make it big. It is not surprising that the foundations of fierce determination, hard work, mindset to make sacrifices and focus on being excellent at own craft took Kedar to being one of the most sought after finance professionals in the country.

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