Social Sciences to Banking
1. What have you been working on since graduating from LUMS?
I joined Standard Chartered Bank's International Graduate programme in Karachi; this global management trainee programme took me to places like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai. I took on a new role in Business Planning and Strategy at Standard Chartered, Qatar in 2013 where I got a chance to work closely with teams across the Middle East, London and Singapore. After spending almost two years in Qatar I moved on to take a new role with Standard Chartered in New York. I am currently a Programme Manager for Regulatory Remediation with the New York office.
2. How did your time at LUMS prepare you for this?
I think LUMS is one of the few educational institutions in Pakistan that empowers its students and encourages them to question everything. Organisations across the world, including Financial Institutions are looking for people to bring a fresh perspective and question traditional ways of doing things. The mix of courses that LUMS allows its students to pursue during their four years gives the individuals a very unique insight into various aspects of business and economics which they can combine with their understanding of culture, politics and human psychology.
3. Why did you choose this line of work?
Even though I was a Social Science major at LUMS, I wanted to pursue an international career with one of the leading Financial Institutions of the world. When I joined Standard Chartered in 2007, I realised that a Bank or any large organisation for that matter has multiple career paths that one can pursue. I have personally worked in Relationship Management, Marketing, Strategy and Project Management while keeping close to the Bank's talent development, community partnership and sustainability agendas which are all very close to my heart.
4. Why would you recommend an SS Major to Current Students?
A social science major equips you with some key skills that go long way when you step into leadership roles. Whether you choose to join a corporate, financial institution or a development organisation, the SS major will give you that skill set that sets you apart from your peers. You build analytical skills, excellence in writing papers, presenting to high level boards, understanding organisation culture and devising strategies based on an understanding of cultural and social anthropology. In addition to preparing you for a vibrant career, a Social Science major enriches your life by exposing you to literature, film, music and cultures from across the world. This major allows you to develop informed opinions on world politics and economics which all contribute to the person you eventually become.
5. Anything else you'd like to add?
I think to be successful at anything in life you must enjoy what you do. The same goes for your experience at LUMS - enjoy the courses, the readings and the research papers. Don't pursue a major based only on future career prospects, pursue the major where you actually start looking forward to even the 8 am class - career prospects will come to you! I don't know if I'm in a position to be giving advice on success... but to be the best at anything you have to love what you do and give it a 100% - if your hearts not in it, chances are you wont give it that 100%! Pakistan needs leaders and visionaries...pick the path that makes you that next leader who can present a vision.
6. What advice would you give to a LUMS student or graduate interested in your field?
Banking is a vibrant industry which is evolving before our eyes and is so closely linked to world economics and geopolitics. I think its very important to keep yourself informed about what's happening in the world, read the Financial Times, follow Bloomberg, subscribe to Mckinsey's research papers; start linking the dots between events that may happen in any part of the world, commodity prices and the eventual results that a large bank announces at the end of the financial year. Always think like a leader, dont restrict your thinking to a specific job, department or unit, be the person that shows the bigger picture and at the same time be able to execute at a micro level.