Srilakshmi Narayanan is a part of the prominent KIAMS diaspora in the Middle East. A pass-out of the 2006 batch of KIAMS, Srilakshmi has been with Al FuttaimWillis as an Insurance Consultant in Dubai for more than 5 years now, catering to the insurance requirements of Government Companies and large Multi National Companies.
“I began my career with Al Futtaim Willis, post KIAMS. As a beginner, it was certainly not a cakewalk, since Insurance is a specialized subject. I had to start from the basics, right from Operations, claims, and now I independently handle large clients. Had it not been for KIAMS my journey would have been very tough, since KIAMS groomed me into a professional helping me scale steps one at a time. Thanks to the soft-skills classes by Colonel Sunil Brijkrishnan at KIAMS, I am rather well known in my organisation for my presentations skills, report-making and clear thought process.”
Al Futtaim Willis is a Joint venture between Al Futtaim Group and Willis Limited (Headquartered in the UK). Willis is one of the world’s leading insurance broker with its portfolio including some of the major corporates across the world. Willis has been present in the Middle East for 30 years now and has offices in UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Bahrain, and 3 offices in Saudi Arabia.
“As a Senior Account Executive in the Non-Marine Department, I’ve had immense opportunity to handle end-to-end insurance requirements of clients in sectors as diverse as Manufacturing, Healthcare, Hospitality, and Infrastructure. In the beginning, I was not very sure about the real working environment as it was my first job, but KIAMS definitely gave me the confidence and competence to face the challenge. I currently am the one-stop source for major corporates when it comes to executing functions ranging from Marketing to Placementsand renewal. I also assist my line manager in supervising my team.”
Time and distance have not dulled Srilakshmi’s love for her alma mater. Despite her hectic schedule, never does a day go by when Srilakshmi does not use some part of her teaching at KIAMS, at her work place in Dubai.
“KIAMS is a beautiful memory – the friendly but professional Faculty, the Marketing classes, the winning moments at Operacy, Management of Pragati(the one of its kind rural marketing fest at KIAMS), Group Discussions, Capstone project. Everything at KIAMS was so full of life.”
Srilakshmi points out that in terms of HR and Training, the Middle East generally sources middle and lower level managers from the Asian market, and recruits the senior management from western countries. She advises her juniors at KIAMS to keep an eye out for opportunities in the Middle East as this is definitely an emerging market especially in the finance, hospitality and retail sector.
“Markets in the Middle East are still evolving; its not a developed market yet. They hold Indian qualifications in highesteem. One thing that students need to understand is that MBA is not yet recognized as a professional qualification required to be a manager. Sometimes we may feel more qualified and technically capable, yet we must remember that experience offers us the kind of learning that classrooms cannot.There are many companies which source experienced employees from India. Most of the time, placements for senior roles happen through networking. Contacts established through linkedin profiles and recommdendations works a lot in this market. Some companies also advertise on their websites for career opportunities.”
Srilakshmi believes that the KIAMS program is designed in a way that even as a student she had no problems in relating to the corporate world.
“The opportunity to actually walk into an industry and study it is not something that everybody gets to experience during MBA. The KIAMS program is meticulously designed and captures all possible streams. More than everything, when you leave your family back home, you need an environment that makes you feel athome. KIAMS, no doubt, scores very high on that count.”