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Mohammed Rahim – Reaching for the moon

Juggling a full-time job as Global Head of Data Conduct in CFCC, a part-time master’s degree and organising a global virtual race may seem daunting, but Mohammed Rahim sees this as a challenge that he’s more than capable of rising to

Ever thought of landing on the moon?

That’s what 2,900 of our colleagues across the world are planning to do in what is called the Moonshot race. Instead of jetting off into space, we're running, walking, cycling or using a wheelchair to cover 384,400km in 120 days – the equivalent of the distance between Earth and the Moon.

As a running enthusiast, I came up with the idea of the Moonshot race. In fact, I've organised several of such events before – this is the third edition of the virtual racing series that I created.

It all started in 2006 when I joined Standard Chartered in London where I started the running club. After my move to Singapore, my passion never waned and I continued to organise training sessions and races for staff.  It was during the pandemic when I got the idea to create an online virtual race series. It's more than just a means to keep fit – it aimed to boost morale and create a sense of connection in a time when people felt isolated.

The first virtual race created in April 2021 saw 500 participants across 20 countries take part. This was followed by the Polar Expedition race in October 2021, which focused on creating more environmental awareness. This year’s Moonshot race is the biggest one yet. The race started on the 15  March and will end on the 24 July - the exact date that Neil Armstrong landed Apollo 11 on the moon in 1969. With this race, I hope that participants get to foster a greater sense of self-belief as they pursue their goals, as well as improve on their physical and mental well-being. Another key outcome that I would like to see is greater collaboration.

The Bank has a presence in 59 markets, but we rarely meet our colleagues or even know what they do. This became especially salient during the pandemic. Hence, the Moonshot race is a great way to connect and learn about each other, but also learn about the markets in which we operate. It also breaks down barriers as everyone – no matter your seniority or level of capability – is working towards a common goal. An inclusive culture is being built, one step at a time.

As of 18 May, the Bank has travelled 540,000km which is approximately 13 times around the earth and surpassed the distance to the moon. The end goal is for each of the 4 teams to land on the moon in the days that remain.

It has not been a walk in the park organising such a massive event, coupled with a full-time job where I am the Global Head of Data Conduct, Conduct, Financial Crime and Compliance (CFCC).  At the same time, I'm also doing a part-time master’s degree in Data Science and Analytics. But I believe that this is what the ethos of the race is all about – challenging yourself.

I believe that making an impact requires challenging and believing in yourself to raise your own standards. It is possible to succeed in different areas of your life, but you need to be mentally prepared for hardship that will come your way. I always live by the motto that one needs to endure discomfort to become world-class.