Indian American business leader Chandrika Tandon will be receiving the 2019 Horatio Alger Award, among 12 others, from the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education.
According to a press release, Tandon was born as the first daughter of a traditional family in Chennai, India and was raised to make a good wife, and she only knew the world through music, poetry and literature that her grandfather shared with her.
She then began to dream of making it big in the music world, but was discouraged and instead focused on the business world.
Tandon used to go on hunger strikes so she could be allowed to attend college and business school, and eventually graduated with a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Madras Christian College in 1973.
She then went on to attend the prestigious Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad to pursue her MBA and began her career for Citibank, the press release said.
She then immigrated to the United States at the age of 24 and was the first Indian woman to work for McKinsey and Company, where she found herself advising CEOs on their biggest problems.
With a dogged determination to create impact for businesses and clients, coupled with a fearsome work ethic, she made partner at the firm within a few years.
In 1990, she founded Tandon Capital Associates, a financial advisory company, restructuring preeminent financial institutions worldwide, and creating billions of dollars of market cap.
At the pinnacle of her career, Tandon decided to pursue singing as an extension of her professional life, and she would often leave her home at 4 a.m. on Saturdays so that she could learn from artists she idolized.
She went to win a Grammy nomination for her album “Soul Call” in 2011.
In the past 20 years, Tandon has used her business skills and resources to commit to a life of public service and through the Krishnamurthy Tandon Foundation; she strategically directs resources to create pathways to economic, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being for all.
“Chandrika is a visionary who took control of her future at a young age. Despite barriers, she never lost sight of her goals, and fought for the life she wanted and deserved. We are delighted to welcome Chandrika as a lifetime Member, and I look forward to sharing her story of triumph and accomplishment with our Scholars,” Matthew Rose, the president of the Horatio Alger Association, is quoted saying in a press release.
“Ms. Tandon defines tenacity and boldness – characteristics that many of our Scholars also embody. Her business acumen, dedication to service and passion for education will serve our Association well. I’m certain she will be a tremendous role model for the young men and women we support,” Terrence J. Giroux, the executive director of Horatio Alger Association, added.