"For anyone to survive professionally, hard work is mandatory. Some choose to work hard right at the early part of the career and some in their latter; but everyone does.
"For anyone to survive professionally, hard work is mandatory. Some choose to work hard right at the early part of the career and some in their latter; but everyone does. I chose to finish the hard work part at the start of my career." These are the words of Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies (KIAMS)'s alum Mr. Gaurav Setia. Mr. Setia has worked hard in the tough financial sector, and has earned the title of Assistant Vice President and Team Leader at ICICI.
But Mr. Setia admits that he had to begin at the lowest level when he started out in the world of banking. "I started at the bottom after being placed with ICICI Bank as a senior officer," he says, describing the beginning of his journey. "After working rigorously there for two years, I moved to HSBC where I had a stint for about five years. Then I returned to ICICI, in their Securities Ltd. division, as a Chief Manager for their Private Wealth Management vertical. Today I manage about 100 crores of their assets."
As a Private Banker, Mr. Setia's days are packed with meetings and client lunches and dinners. These important meetings take up most of his time, leaving little room for a personal life. He is quick to remind youngsters that there's no such thing as work-life balance at the start of one's career. But he is enthusiastic to add, "Most of the time, a happy professional life automatically results in a happy personal life." And as a professional, Mr. Setia has some noteworthy achievements to his credit. In his professional career, he has moved up six levels in nine years. He also acknowledges the fact that assets managed by him have grown from 2 to 100 crores. That wouldn't have been possible without having the requisite skills for his job, which is something that he points out: "Excellent relationship skills, knowledge and advice. All three skills are interlinked and you can't move forward without the others."
Luckily for Mr. Setia, he developed these skills during his time at KIAMS. But, according to him, two of the most important skills he gained at his institute are presentation skills and problem solving: "I've always had an upper hand with my colleagues in these two aspects. We had to go through hundreds of presentations at KIAMS and our problem solving skills were tested during Pragati (the rural marketing fair at the institute). It taught us how to break down our problems into smaller parts and solve them."
He also remains aware of the importance of theory lessons learned at the institute and asks today's students to pay attention to them. He recommends relating a concept learned to a real world problem because that's what companies are looking for today. He believes there is a place for young professionals who can apply their theoretical knowledge into practice as they can be assets to the organizations they work with.
Not only has Mr. Setia been put through the paces in the industry, he has also seen setbacks like the global meltdown in 2008. But he has been through it all and has carved a place for himself in the industry today. However, his advice to youngsters who want to make it as professionals is rather simple and practical: "Sometimes all it takes to sail through tough times is to put your head down and keep working hard." That's exactly what he has done with great success.