Despite starting his professional life as a Chartered Accountant, Saurabh demonstrates the benefit of combining his transferable skills, passion and work ethic through his flourishing career in the banking industry. Saurabh embodies the Bank’s value to never settle through his ambition of growing Standard Chartered’s wealth management service to be the largest in India.
How have you gotten to where you are now in your career?
I have always utilised the knowledge I gained as a Chartered Accountant in the positions I have held. My first jobs as a Chartered Account were within finance and risk management, but I have always sought opportunities to leverage my abilities in a business-focused role. My first position in business operations was as a Branch Manager at Citi Bank's flagship Chennai Branch, where I developed my knowledge of the banking industry and most importantly, learned how to effectively work with people. Since embarking on my career in banking over two decades ago, I have worked in five cities and held a diverse range of positions.
I began my career with Standard Chartered in 2015 as the Executive Director and Head of Investment Strategy, Products and Sales. Since then, I have had the opportunity to progress through the Bank and work in departments such as Wealth Management and Retail Banking. Since entering the professional world, I have always sought out opportunities to build on my skills and experience different aspects of the industry. I am currently working as the Managing Director and Head of Wealth Management at Standard Chartered India.
The best piece of advice I have ever received is “Jitna chini daloge utna mitha hoga”, which can be translated from Hindi to “The more sugar you add, the sweeter it gets”, meaning that the harder you work, the better it gets! This has always stuck with me, and I have seen it play out on numerous occasions.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced when working?
The most significant challenge of my career was leading my team during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. My country was in complete lockdown for over two months and business had come to a standstill. Prior to Covid 19, we didn’t have a digital onboarding journey for our customers which meant we were unable to tap into the huge potential that the online channel offered. My team and I worked incredibly hard and we were able to launch Standard Chartered’s new digital deposit platform in less than three months! Our digital platform became a competitive advantage for Standard Chartered. Our clients wanted a digital and contactless journey and we were amongst the few banks that offered it.
What has been your most memorable experience with Standard Chartered?
I have always enjoyed working with people, so my most memorable experience has to be working with our clients. They place implicit trust in us and I have been able to establish long-lasting relationships with them. Some of our customers have banked with us since they were young and now their children have followed in their footsteps. It is very fulfilling to see multiple generations of the same family continue to use Standard Chartered and appreciate everything that we do.
How do you live by Standard Chartered’s values - doing the right thing, better together and never settle?
Our values are a centre point in everything we do and set us apart from other banks. I particularly align with the value “never settle” as I always strive to challenge the status quo. I am committed to giving our clients exactly what they need, if their request does not seem possible I will try a different approach to achieve their desired outcomes. My team and I embodied Standard Chartered’s value of never settling through our contributions to the launch of a new onboarding journey for a new savings account. Our results were great from the start, but because we didn’t settle we were able to reduce the onboarding process from 15 minutes to 5 minutes.
What advice would you give to someone looking to work at Standard Chartered?
Standard Chartered is a unique place to work. Everything we do is done with purpose and we make a real impact with our work. Collaboration is at the heart of our operations so it is imperative that individuals hoping to work at the Bank align with our value of being better together. Opportunities to progress at Standard Chartered are plentiful if you are committed to your role. To succeed at Standard Chartered, it is important to take ownership of your work, set the bar high and actively engage with key stakeholders to help you to accomplish your goals.
How should someone prepare for an interview with Standard Chartered?
Preparation is key for a successful interview, so it is imperative to gather as much as possible about the role that you are interviewing for. Identify how your skills and experiences can contribute to the position and determine what Standard Chartered’s values mean to you. Above all though, be yourself! Standard Chartered values every unique individual in the organisation and recognises the importance of a diverse workforce.