Three months ago I began my journey by writing in my blog and for the final time I will complete my journey at this same place
I do not even know where to start……
A Worthwhile Experience……..
I have definitely found coming onto this project to be a worthwhile experience. It is a new organization, a new location, new people, new management; I was surely out of my “comfort zone”. Specifically to the organization my ideas were fresh, they came from a different mindset, I was someone new to think “outside the box” which had allowed me to also offer constructive criticism (if any) on the projects I was working on. The past experience at Credit Suisse and professional coaching by Ed Williams surely allowed me to hit the ground running at an early stage. The PDC project I was working on meant working closely with another investment bank so I was particularly valuable to serve as a “bridge” between the two organizations and facilitate their long term collaboration. Also by working with the Swadhaar team developing skills and having buyin, I had a lasting impact because when I left they were be able to build on our previous work experience together.
What will I take back to CS…..
Through my three month experience I shall surely be taking back to Credit Suisse that CS employees like me are particularly valuable for these types of projects. In banking I (we) gain a lot of skills. Skills ranging from advanced excel, to writing reports, presenting slides to dealing with difficult people, in addition, of course to the banking-specific skills like understanding back office to front office processes, cash management, risk management, research and extensive product knowledge. All these skills are valuable in a microfinance context, i.e. another form of financial services, and worth transferring which is why I shall be gladly promoting this project when I go back to CS and reiterate why employees are so valued on these projects
Personally I have had first hand experience that there is a world out there other than banking. I have learnt how to deal with a diverse range of individuals, different cultures and occasionally different perspectives. I have become more assertive, a confident decision maker and an active listener. Personally I have learnt how to put myself in someone else’s shoes and to see things from their point of view.
For this project I was based in the head office but gladly had the opportunity to see the “roots of the tree” which in Microfinance language means going into the field. Professionally I have learned a lot about how microfinance programs function and how a MF firm operates. I have learnt for all tasks (projects and line roles) it is important to understand what goes on behind the scenes as understanding this will help me to progress on my role back at Credit Suisse with a greater sensitivity to other people’s needs.
What I have learnt on this project I will surely take back to CS. I have become an assertive decision maker, more confident in delivering results, become better at reviewing priorities and learnt how to allocate tasks. On a personal note I have learnt not to let the small things bother me, life is too short when there are so many other positive notes I can focus my mind onto. This experience has been just great, has helped me to grow as a person by seeing 1st hand that the skills I learn in banking are extremely valuable to social organizations. I am glad to have transferred some of that knowledge in the last 3 months and was gladly able to make a sustainable impact. I had a great relationship with Swadhaar, not once did I feel like an external consultant but always part of the team. I made some wonderful friends on this assignment with whom I shall be keeping in touch with both professionally and on a personal note. I do not see this as the end of my involvement with Swadhaar or MF but the beginning
Three months is a pretty significant amount of time, so if during that time of writing in my blog, I said, did, or posted anything which offended anyone then please accept my apologies, but if while following my blog you felt you learnt something, or if any of my discussions on Microfinance (or the Rescue Foundation) sounded inspiring which made you want to take on a new challenge, then please recall those “sweet talks” and always remember this wonderful journey we shared together.
I finally wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU to all my followers! Actually what motivated me to continue writing was the significant amount of people who followed my blog and also the constant emails I received when I had not updated my blog on a regular basis.
I wanted to say a final thanks to three people. Firstly to Swadhaar for having me for 3 months and for always making me feel part of the team, secondly to Laura Hemrika who worked closely with me throughout my assignment and finally to my manager and dear friend Kristeen Mehta who has been very supportive over the last 3 months. I know it’s been hard for Kristeen without me in the CS office but we both know the experience had been worthwhile and I shall be taking many positives both personally and professionally back to CS NY which Kristeen is excited in hearing about over “spicy red” – she also has a stack of work kindly waiting for me!
New York here I come