This Company Secretary who wrote all his CS Exams in Hindi (and cleared in the first attempt) encourages others to do the same if it feels easier
As a Hindi Medium Student Vikas Goyal opted to write his CS exam papers in Hindi. He not only cleared the course in the first attempt but later went on to build a successful corporate career
- Hi, I am Vikas Goyal a Company Secretary (CS), a Law graduate, and a Senior Manager at NTPC Limited, an organization owned by the Government of India.
- For a Hindi Medium Student who was not so proficient in English, I thought it would be wiser to just write the CS course exam papers in my native language.
- I broke the stereotype and cleared the exam in the first attempt, and it has been almost 17 years since I began my exciting corporate journey.
- Here is how it began.
Taking up CS
Growing up in Muradnagar, Uttar Pradesh, back in the 80s was quite challenging I would say.
I did my schooling from a Hindi Medium school which was not very unusual in those times.
Although my father had his own business, I had no intention of going in that direction. This is one of the reasons why I had a hard time choosing the right career path for myself.
We neither had the privilege of career counseling in our school nor did we have access to the internet. This was way back in 1999.
In class 12 on the advice of my accounts tutor, I enrolled for the Company Secretary course from ICSI (The Institute of Company Secretary of India). He told me “Look, for a commerce student Chartered Accountancy (CA) and Company Secretary (CS) courses are two of the finest options. And I think the CS course is best suited for you”
Since I did not have access to a lot of useful information, without contemplating too much, I went ahead and enrolled at The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI).
And that is how it began.
Clearing all CS Level Exams in the First Attempt
I had been a Hindi medium student all along. That is why I chose my native language as the medium of exam for the CS course.
Many of the books for CS foundation and CS Intermediate Programmes (Now CS Executive) were available in Hindi hence I was able to grasp those concepts quickly. I cleared both of those stages of the CS course fairly easily.
After that, I registered for the CS Professional Programme, the final level of the Company Secretary Course.
However, this time the difficulty level was significantly higher, as most of the study materials were only available in English.
Despite the constraints, I decided to continue with Hindi as my opted medium.
Then came the herculean task of reading the study materials in English and then translating them into Hindi. It took quite a lot of my mental effort, but in the end, I cleared the final level of the CS exam as well, because of my dedication.
To all students who are giving their CS exams in Hindi or intending to do so, it is very much possible. Do not let a language barrier stop you from pursuing your career further.
My Professional journey so far as a Company Secretary
After qualifying as a Company Secretary in 2004 I commenced my professional career with a private company in Ghaziabad. But after a while, it became clear to me that this was not the place I was supposed to be.
There were two options in front of me, either stick it out at this job or look for bigger opportunities.
Fortunately, I received an opportunity to work with Gujarat State Petronet Limited (GSPL) owned by the Government of Gujarat.
But it was a difficult call to make as a young person. Moving to Gujarat meant leaving my family, and friends, behind.
Some of my friends and acquaintances even tried to talk me out of making this big change, “ Why are you moving so far away from your home, this job does not even offer a lucrative salary”
No matter what they said I had a feeling deep in my gut that urged me to take up this opportunity. I wasted no time and moved to Gujarat.
After working there as an Assistant Company Secretary for almost 2 years, another bigger opportunity came my way. It was from NTPC Limited, India's largest energy conglomerate owned by the government of India.
For this, I had to again relocate but this time closer to my hometown because my job was in Delhi.
I have been working with this great organization for over 14 years now and it definitely would not have been possible had I not gotten out of my comfort zone back then.
Building my confidence
As a Company Secretary, my role is to advise the Top Management on various Governance and Legal Issues. Hence, one needs to have knowledge as well as confidence to interact with the Top Management.
Personally, I have gathered a lot of confidence by taking up different kinds of professional development programs and internal training programs.
These turned out to be extremely beneficial for the overall improvement of my personality. I am now able to connect with my target audience and feel confident about my delivery.
Recently I have done quite a few webinars as well at various chapters of The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI). It was an honor.
I would therefore suggest that anyone who feels overwhelmed by challenges, try to focus on their strengths and work towards their goals. As they progress, constraints would get removed, sometimes unexpectedly.
Why company secretaries should have good communication skills
Company Secretaries are skilled in various things, such as Due Diligence, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Corporate Governance. But good communication skills, are also an important part of being a CS, which they lack sometimes.
We have to deal with not only the Top Management but also the Regulatory Authorities and the Shareholders (in the Annual general meeting).
Even if you lack those skill sets there is no need to be discouraged because I believe that with hard work and practice anyone can achieve that.
You have to remove the doubts that you cannot articulate properly.
Have conversations with people regularly on various topics, choose a Communication Skills Training Course (there is a myriad of online courses available) and keep practicing.
And most importantly do not think too much about how you are going to sound to other people and be confident that you know your subject well and can speak on it fluently.
I still believe that Proficiency in English is a must, especially in this period of globalization... but speaking English is not a measure of success.
Do not undervalue yourself just because your English is not the best.