10 wise parenting tips from the CEO of DBS Bank that will make your child future-ready

Mr. Piyush Gupta, CEO and Director of DBS Group (in centre), was in conversation with well-known entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Mr. Jayesh Parekh, Managing Partner, Jungle Ventures (first from right) on 16 July in Singapore. Inspired by the conversation, here are some parenting tips to make your kids resilient and to help them secure their financial future.

Mr. Piyush Gupta, currently the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director of DBS Group, is one of the most well-known names in the banking industry in the Asia Pacific region.

Recently, he shared some very useful parenting and career tips at a talk organised by the SGS MentPro under the aegis of the Singapore Gujarati Society (SGS).

Piyush Gupta

Piyush Gupta (right) with Jayesh Parekh of Jungle Ventures

Born in New Delhi, India, to a bureaucrat father, Gupta grew up in a household of three siblings. Having obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Degree in Economics from the prestigious St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, he moved to Ahmedabad and enrolled himself at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) for his Post-Graduate Diploma in Management.

Mr. Gupta started his career at Citibank India at the age of 22, as a Management Trainee in 1982. In a career spanning 27 years at the same bank, he rose to become the CEO of Citibank in South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He joined DBS Bank as its CEO in 2009.

Mr. Gupta said that he did not come from a well-off background. “My growing up period was instrumental (in shaping me) in many ways,” he said. For example, he could not afford to take an autorickshaw to school.  So, he always took a bus to school. He said that his background forced him to strive for success. He never stood first in class but fortunately, he received a well-rounded education, for which he gives a lot of credit to his school, St. Columbus in Delhi. He developed a range of skills such as debating, writing and people skills that have served him well all along, he admitted.

piyush gupta DBS Bank

Besides his professional engagements, Mr. Gupta supports a lot of charity work in his personal life. He is an ambassador for CanKids India, a non-governmental organisation that supports victims of childhood cancer. His wife, Ruchira, is a physiotherapist and is actively engaged with ageing and geriatric care in Singapore.

Mr. Gupta places a lot of value on being grounded and the ability to stay rooted is very important to him. “You must have a sense of loyalty to your community, no matter where you live,” he said.

Here are some parenting tips that he shared with the audience. We believe that these tips that are inspired by his comments could help you make your child more resilient and future-ready:

 Don’t make things too easy for your child. If you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth, it may not necessarily be a good thing. It may kill your desire to succeed in life. So, don’t make life too easy for your child.

Limit exposure to electronic devices. Too much screen-time can overstimulate the brain. Avoid excessive use of the cell phones and other electronic devices as it could lead to ‘electronic obesity’ and addiction. Instead of wasting time on an electronic device, encourage your child to read a book.

piyush gupta DBS Bank

Find a balance between academics and extracurricular activities. Academic rigour is important. That can’t be avoided. Your child needs to be academically sound or at least competent in subjects like maths, science and languages to succeed in the professional world.  But academics should not be made the be all and end all for your kid. You should also encourage him or her to excel in extracurricular activities. Overdoing in any one sphere is unhealthy. Take the middle path.

Develop horizontal skills. Though one is expected to develop vertical skills (in-depth expertise in an area) and be well-versed in at least one area (but we don’t know what kind of expertise will be in demand in the future), pay attention to horizontal skills—problem solving skills (one should be a good problem solver); applied learning; communications skills, and people skills. These skills will make your child stand out in a crowd and will take him/her far in his/her professional life.

Develop influencing and selling skills. How to influence people and how to make a sale—these skills will always be in demand, no matter how advanced technology gets. In human societies, these skills will contribute to your success.

Take off the pressure to do well. We all want our children to perform well—in school and outside school. Sometimes we put them under so much pressure to perform, that they get crushed under the burden of our expectations. We should free our children from any such parental pressures.

piyush gupta DBS Bank

 Develop resilience and adaptability. Are your children resilient? Do they have the ability to bounce back after suffering a setback? Can they adapt themselves to new environments, environments that they have not been exposed to before? They need to learn these skills of resilience and adaptability. These are skills that will still be relevant 10,15, 70 years from now.

Choose a career wisely. No one knows what kind of jobs will exist 15-20 years from now. Technological disruptions are deep and innovations in the field of artificial intelligence and robotics will wipe out many jobs. Jobs that will go quicker than others are specialist jobs (for example, the job of a specialist surgeon that a robotic arm can do in a much better way). But a General Practitioner’s job will still remain relevant  as it requires people skills. That job can’t be done by a robot!

Teach (your children) entrepreneurship skills. Entrepreneurship skills are acquired skills. At the right age, let your child start something—it could be something small. It might fail but it will give him or her the confidence to run a business. He or she will learn from it. There are no job guarantees in the future, so entrepreneurial skills will come in handy for your child. For example, Mr. Gupta’s son started a restaurant business in America but it failed and had to be shut down within months. As a father, he does not regret it as it has taught many valuable lessons to his son.

Help your child plan his/her career. Your child must have a vision. Ask your child: Where do you see yourself five or ten years from now? Once he shares his or her vision with you, now you work backwards from that vision and chart a path that will take him or her to the goalpost. It will take effort, competency and some networking but your child will get there if he or she knows where he or she wants to reach in his/her professional life.