Describe what you believe to be your two most substantial accomplishments to date, explaining why you view them as such.
The above mentioned question brings to memory varied accomplishments at different stages of my career. The first is where I led a major turnaround at ABC (Small-to-medium enterprise business) and the second was during an international student exchange program in the early stages of my career.
On taking charge as Zonal Manager, I realized that morale among the 1200-strong sales staff was abysmally low. We were adding new clients but the confirming collections (account activation and account-related fees) never materialized. Sales personnel were meeting just 3-4 customers per day when the business needed a minimum of 8 “quality interactions”. Traveling, in itself, consumed nearly 60% of their working time. On an immediate basis, the core team was lead towards re-aligning operations – each salesman would now be assigned leads (prospects) closest to his/her area. During various training events, I accompanied salesmen during their client visits. More than 8-10 client calls per day were shown to be possible. My core team was quick to replicate this initial “hand holding” thus creating a positive ripple effect and bringing the average (per person) to 9 calls per day. As a “third front”, a 5-person customer analytics group was quickly mobilized. We were thus able to match the right set of banking solutions – to the right prospects – and customize effectively. The results: A complete turnaround with a 30% increase in client enrollments and 50% increase in sales revenue.
Thus, the 12 months beginning May 2008 concluded with a major entrepreneurial success. In retrospect, it taught me the nuances of facilitating across various functions – right from the details of day-to-day client servicing to developing, pricing, promoting and selling cutting-edge products.
In September 2002 and as a student of management studies (at MDI, India), I was selected for an international student exchange program at the BI, Norwegian School of Mgmt. During the 4-month-long stay, I went on initiate and organize the “India Day” festival – the first of its kind at the university. The day long event showcased various aspects of my country right from its immense cultural diversity to the capital markets. It culminated with an entertaining music extravaganza followed by traditional Indian cuisine. My skills in multi-tasking and time management peaked as I organized the event and simultaneously partnered on a major team presentation the next day.
Miles away from family, I had learnt the basics of self-leadership. I had successfully “managed myself” – right from studies to basic household activities to organizing a cultural extravaganza. Essentially my first step towards leadership, the event always brings in cherished memories of working in a truly global setting.