Arundhati Bhattacharya is a retired Indian banker and former Chairperson of the State Bank of India Indias largest commercial bank, who is known for being the first lady to head the State Bank of India. She is also the first woman to lead a Fortune India 500 company and the only woman banker in the world to do so.The banker is also credited with being the youngest managing director and chief financial officer of the SBI. The Telegraph.Arundhati, a Bengali at heart, always aspired to get a PhD degree early in life, and she also wanted to learn Sanskrit. Reportedly, the banker initially wanted to become a journalist while pursuing her PG in English literature; however, after clearing the Probation Officer exam conducted by SBI, she took up the job. India Today.She joined the mammoth institution of SBI on the Panchami day of the Durga Puja festival in September 1977, as a young 21-year-old Probationary Officer in Alipore, fresh out of SBIs training school in Hyderabad. The Telegraph Recalling her eventful first day at the job, Arundhati said, It was my first day at work and beginning my training on the job, I was given the job of writing cheques and entering their details. The branch was surrounded by hordes of peoplesoon they had to close the gates to manage the crowds and they started pushing in. I remember every bit of the day and my aching hands as I kept writing the cheques in a daze, ensuring there were no mistakes. I remember the pressing crowds and their urgency to withdraw money before the bank closed for the festive season. It was a day of baptism by fire..After her stint as PO, Arundhati initially got posted in the Kolkata main branch where she worked at the junior management grade-1 level. From there, she was transferred to the local head office, and in 1983, Ms Bhattacharya moved to the Kharagpur branch. She worked there for nine years, got promoted three times, and left the branch as an assistant general manager. The Economic Times.Before leading the bank from the front, Arundhati has held several positions during her 36-year- long career at SBI, including the chief executive of the State Bank of India Capital Markets and the chief general manager in charge of new projects. She used to work in retail operations, human resources, foreign exchange, treasury, and investment banking. Bhattacharya was also posted at SBIs New York office from 1996-2000, where she oversaw external audit and correspondent relations. The Times of India.According to SBI, Arundhati was instrumental in launching several new companies and initiatives at the bank, including SBI General Insurance, SBI Pension Funds Pvt. Ltd., SBI Macquarie Infrastructure Fund, SBI Custodial Services, and SBI SG Global Securities Services, and she also set up IT platforms like mobile banking and e-commerce.In 1983, Arundhati married Pritimoy Bhattacharya, who was a professor at IIT Kharagpur at the time. The two largely had a long-distance relationship since Arundhati was based in Kolkata and Mumbai, while her husband lived in Kharagpur. Forbes She said in an interview, The Economic Times In 1993, I came to the commercial branch in Kolkata, while my husband was still at IIT Kharagpur. Before I had my daughter, Sukrita, in April 1995, I would commute over weekends to meet him. Then he would travel the distance. When I was posted to Mumbai in 2008, it was my first stint here. My husband remained in Kolkata. He would travel to be with us for two weeks..Ms Bhattacharya revealed in an interview that she almost gave up her job at SBI when she got posted in Lucknow in 2006. The Economic Times She said, I seriously thought of giving up. I was worried that the kind of integrated school my daughter required would not be available in the city. My husband had returned from the US and had taken up consultancy work in Kolkata. He didnt want to leave and start from scratch.Ms Bhattacharya, who was earlier posted as the MD and CFO of SBI Bank, succeeded Pratip Chaudhuri as the Chairman of SBI on 1 October 2013. Reportedly, her appointment was favoured personally by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after all the managing directors of SBI contested for the top post due to last-minute changes in the rulebook by the finance ministry. The Telegraph.