On August 26, the MBA 2021 and 2022 classes had an Alumni Hour session with leaders of the Network of AIM Alumni Singapore (NAIMAS), namely: President Vivek Goyal, MBM 1986, and Senior Vice President and Secretary Sridhar Ramaswamy, MBM 1996. Vivek and Sridhar shared very important learnings and insights from their very extensive career experiences with the students.
Vivek’s Journey after AIM
After getting his MBM from AIM, Vivek was fortunate enough to receive two job offers. One was for the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, and the other was with Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). He was going to be part of the Associate Program for both companies. He ended up choosing HSBC and shared that having the opportunity to be immersed in all the subsidiaries and departments was the best outcome of his stay there.
He stayed in HSBC for ten years where he moved around from consumer to investment banking. Vivek said that this is where his career took off. He eventually joined Fitch Ratings, then Moody’s, to head the organizations’ Asia Pacific operations. Currently, he is a Partner at V&C Capital in Singapore.
Career Building Tips from Vivek:
- Work hard and be visible. If an opportunity comes up to lead a special project, raise your hand and take ownership of it.
- Don’t feel shy of moving out of your comfort zone.
- Develop intellectual curiosity. Try and learn to be conversant in many subjects. This will come in handy during “icebreakers” and will allow you to communicate with different kinds and levels of people. Vivek mentioned that as leaders of the future, they need to be excellent communicators.
- Network, network, network. Know everyone in the organization. Your best network are the ones you are doing business with. Vivek gave as an example his opportunity to work in Singapore happened because his client in HSBC referred him to Fitch Ratings.
- Find a mentor within the organization. It is important to look for someone who will champion you and will help you build your career.
- Look for interests outside work. This can be anything that does not relate to your work: travelling, reading, doing charitable work, etc.
- Humility is a rare quality. Vivek shared that the aggressiveness he learned during case discussions in AIM played a major role at the beginning of his career. But emerging into his leadership role, this became a red flag for him. He realized that being humble is one of the most important aspects of being a leader.
Tips for when you are ready to emerge into a leadership role:
- Build a world-class team.
- Hire people who are better than you.
- Leaders develop over time.
- Give credit where credit is due.
Sridhar’s Journey after AIM
After graduating from the Institute, Sridhar took an intern position in Indonesia when Asia was reeling from a financial crisis. He has been in the IT/Electronics industry since finishing his MBM degree. His subsequent jobs made him move around a lot, much like many in his cohort who were in the same career trajectory as him. To date, he has lived and worked in four different countries.
Sridhar has worked for top-tier technology companies like Dell, Intel, Motorola and many more. He started his career in Sales and Marketing. Currently, he is the Senior Vice President at Lazada Group Singapore.
Career Building Tips from Sridhar:
- Immerse yourself in a diverse group – much like your CAN group/Learning Team at AIM. Sridhar recalled that his CAN group experience was not pleasant because it was hard to work with a multicultural group of people. But now, it has helped him understand other people’s views and biases.
- Do not be afraid of the intensity of your work – you already have the stamina from the all-nighters you pulled off during your stay in AIM. He noted that he found himself outworking his colleagues because of what he went through while taking his MBM.
- Step out of your comfort zone – you don’t have much choice because that is what we do at AIM. He reminisced about the time that professors will push you to your limits and really pull you out of your comfort zones.
- Get involved with projects while you are still students. Sridhar shared that he was part of the school newspaper that they gave out together with case packs. He said that this was one of the best memories he has during his student days.
- Get to know everyone – the batch before you and after you. During his entire career and everywhere he went, Sridhar said that he meets alumni every time.
- It will be a long journey. Sridhar advised that the students should learn to manage relationships and for them to take care of their physical and mental well-being. He said that in the long haul, to be valuable contributors to an organization, they need not only understand their relationships with other people but also take care of themselves.
How to students can network with NAIMAS?
Vivek and Sridhar opened the doors of NAIMAS to the graduating students and mentioned that should they find themselves working and residing in Singapore, NAIMAS is ready to welcome and help them.
Both speakers gave the students a valuable tip on how to approach not only NAIMAS but also other alumni they want to connect and network with. Sridhar emphasized that sending just a curriculum vitae and saying “Hey, I’m an alumnus/alumna of AIM, can you please get me job?” is not very productive and helpful for both parties.
Sridhar shared that the graduating students, or any alumni for that matter, should do more work and research the networks or organizations of the alumni they are trying to tap. The better way is to send their CVs and list down their skills and the positions they are interested in. Both Vivek and Sridhar agreed that this is the most productive way to approach the alumni of AIM.
MBA 2021 and 2022 students had the chance to ask questions and advice from the featured speakers. Click the link to watch the Q and A, and the whole session: https://aimleader.aim.edu/alumni-hour-with-network-of-aim-alumni-singapore-naimas-leaders/
To know more about the Network of AIM Alumni Singapore (NAIMAS), visit their website: https://www.naimas.sg/
We would like to thank Vivek and Sridhar for taking time off from their busy schedules to share their AIM journey as well as their extensive career lessons and experiences with our MBA students. Until the next Alumni Hour!
words by Janelle Erika Santos
edited by Bernardino Jiao