Tag Archive: KIAMS Alumnus

Mr. Rajkumar Vijayakumar, KIAMS alum from Batch 2006, has built a strong career in the banking industry over the past eight years. He got his campus placement with the prestigious ING Vysya Bank.. Having worked over a substantial period as the relationship manager for the bank in Kerala, Mr. Rajkumar felt all set in taking his career to a new direction.  That’s the reason he moved on to Dhanlaxmi Bank, and after a successful stint there, joined AXIS Bank in November 2011. He has consistently climbed up the ladder in the tricky banking sector, which in itself speaks a lot for his efforts and determination.

Today, Mr. Rajkumar works for the third largest bank in the country and handles the portfolio in Kerala SME proposals.  After being in the banking industry for many years, what is it about his job that he enjoys the most? “I am mostly involved in the examination for sanctioning loans based on collateral security,” he tells us. “This work is very different from finance in the corporate world. But, there is a lot of thought involved in maintaining the right balance and achieving the right parameters. Your practical experience comes into play, and most of the loans we have offered haven’t gone bad.”

However, one has to realize that the banking industry is target-driven, which includes its own set of challenges. Mr. Rajkumar though has a simple philosophy to cope with the pressure: “For me, the most important mantra is to not think about the targets. If you get daunted by the target, you will never achieve it. I break down the targets according to different quarters. When you break it down, it doesn’t seem too overwhelming.” And, smiling, he adds, “You need to have a plan for how you want to proceed. If something goes wrong, you should have a backup.”

Mr. Rajkumar’s simple but effective strategies give you the impression that you are speaking to a man who has gained tremendous insight into the banking sector. Present day students can only benefit from his take on the changing scenario in the banking industry. He offers his valuable inputs, stating, “After Nationalization, banking has gone way beyond collecting deposits and lending money. There is a wide array of products, including insurance, which brings in a lot of money.” He further encourages students to gain experience in big banks in the private sector or some of the major nationalized banks for valuable exposure.

From his words you can tell that Mr. Rajkumar has always been passionate about Finance. In fact, he worked with UAE Exchange, handling transaction and accounts of their products before joining KIAMS. He believes that things took off on another level after his academic stint at the institute. “The third trimester in particular was helpful for my aspirations because we had a program called Management of Bank& Insurance Companies,” he reflects. “It was mostly taught by professionals who had experience in the field. That was truly helpful.”

Talking about KIAMS takes Mr. Rajkumar down memory lane. And, he admits that though he hasn’t been back to the institute, he stays in touch with his batchmates through social media. He also feels a bond with current students at the institute, for whom he has thoughtful advice: “Banking might seem boring, but it is a good career option. You have to be adaptable and flexible because managers keep changing, just like banking norms. There are several opportunities for you but it’s important to build your network once you are in the profession.”


1231208_563739057013790_628061968_nWhen Ms. Saumya Manglik was pursuing her management dreams at KIAMS she had the unique distinction of getting a Pre Placement Offer during her internship with HUL. She was the only one in her batch to do so. According to Ms. Manglik, it put her in a position to be able to choose the companies she wanted to opt for during campus placement. She was offered a corporate position by Future Group. She let go of her PPO at HUL and joined Future Group, because of the profile that she was offered. That’s how her journey in the retail industry began, and now it still continues seven fruitful years later.

Looking back on the time gone by since her days at KIAMS, Ms. Manglik says, “It has been an amazing journey. I was handling the vertical for Human Resources for Future group. I was with them for 4 years and got promotions over the last seven years. Her achievements are noteworthy, especially when you consider her short stint with Larvij International in Moscow. “It was just a few months after my college and before starting my placement with Future Group. I had participated in a few management competitions and their COO of Larvij International invited me to Moscow to work on some projects with them,” she says modestly.

Ms. Manglik clearly was determined on making the most of the opportunities that were coming her way. And it’s this go-getter attitude that has enabled her to scale new heights of success. She was the Manager, of Human Resources at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and will be shortly, taking a new profile with another giant in India. But, she is quick to assert that she only does a job she likes. “Yes, my seniors know that if they give me a job that I don’t like, it won’t go down well. The easiest way to get the best out of me is to give me something challenging,” she adds with a smile on her face.

Ms. Manglik admits that there are two things at the back of her mind when she decides whether or not to take up a task: “I am financially secured and I am a girl. This is a huge security net and an advantage that very few people may enjoy. If I don’t like something I can simply walk away, without thinking of the financial implications of it. Not everyone has this benefit and therefore for me, the key is whether I get to learn and grow in any project. This security net, actually makes me very good at what I do, because I am able to do it fearlessly and confidently”.

So, being a woman at the top of her game, what’s her advice to other young women who want to join hospitality industry? “You need to keep your head straight and have a value system in place,” she says. “You need to know what you want from life. The industry has matured enough to treat women at par; all you need to do is focus on your work and nothing will be able to stop you and get in your way, definitely not your gender. ”

Today, Ms. Manglik is in a position to hire “professionals”, but she insists that her company focus on looking for “right people” instead. She has an interesting philosophy: she believes that if you are a culturally fit person, you will turn out to be a good professional; but only a good professional might not always be a culturally fit person. Elaborating further, she says, “For me it’s 90% attitude and the rest is skill and knowledge. You can gain knowledge and skill over time, but it’s not the same with attitude. I love my team and I love to take care of each and every one of them. They are my biggest strength. In-fact, one of my ex-team members at Fairmont was also from KIAMS.”

Knowledge and skill are two things she gained in abundance during her time at KIAMS. But importantly, Ms. Manglik learned life lessons that she still relies on today. “Everything I learnt at the institute, I have managed to use in different aspects of my life,” she tells us. “Be it relationships, education, time management or professionalism. Everything you do in college, you do it again in the walk of your life,”

Little wonder, that she misses the institute and regrets not being able to go back. But she remains in touch with her batchmates as she makes a place for herself in the field of human resources.

Many of the former students of KIAMS are global ambassadors for the institute, as they carve out a niche for themselves in their chosen fields. Ms. Raji Balachandran Hemalatha, a Senior Finance Analyst with EY GSS, is one of them. After her studies at the institute, Ms. Hemalatha had a reasonably successful stint in the banking sector but she realised that her real interest lay in financial analysis. And the rest, as they say, is history – or in this case, her story.

Today Ms. Hemalatha works with the Global Financial Reporting team within the Finance & Accounts division and her job involves providing reports for EY’s management based on their ad hoc requests. She has definitely created a name for herself in her line of work, but above all, she is happy to be working in a field that excites and motivates her to give her best every day.

Talking about her professional stint after her time at KIAMS she says, “I got a job with ICICI Bank through the campus placements. I was placed in Kerala and my job gave me tremendous learning opportunities. However, I moved to Bangalore for personal reasons and did a short stint with HDFC bank there. In 2010, I made a career switch and joined EY as a Financial Analyst. It’s been a fantastic place to work at ever since.”

Ms. Hemalatha is quick to acknowledge that the journey for her began at KIAMS as that is where she built the self-belief to go after her dreams. Her time at the institute also taught her to take challenges in her stride, something that has helped her throughout her professional career.

She narrates an interesting anecdote from her working days at ICICI, which says a lot about her work ethics, professionalism and personality. “Although I was working in branch banking operations with ICICI, we also had to sell financial products. However I am more of a safe FD investments kind of person over ULIPS, which we had to sell,” she smiles. “Although I would pitch ULIP I would be happy if someone bought an FD. However, as pressure started mounting I decided to give my ULIP pitches my best shot. When I managed to sell them to two unlikely candidates, I got a huge morale boost and it won me appreciation from my managers too,” she adds.

It’s the same kind of boost she had received for the first time during her days as a student at KIAMS. Ms. Hemalatha remembers this important phase fondly, as she says, “I come from a protected background and was only exposed to life in my home-town till then. When I came to KIAMS I had a chance to interact with a class full of students from diverse geographical backgrounds. I learned about cultural differences and ways to fit into the world outside. Thus my time at the institute was instrumental in shaping my social behaviour and attitude, which I value till date.”

While the learning at the institute gave her the cutting edge advantage, according to Ms. Hemalatha, she gets nostalgic about the overall experience at KIAMS. “The beauty of the campus, excellent food in the cafeteria, the calm and peaceful atmosphere, ice-breaking sessions with seniors – I miss it all. And above all, I miss our classes, which were made different by our faculty, who also came up with novel ways of giving us exams. These are memories I will cherish my entire life,” she says nostalgically.

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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.”