Vineeta from India, Assistant Vice President, Citibank
What does your job involve?
Smart Branch is just that – the smartest digitised branch of Citibank in India.
We’re regularly in the press – for example, in a recent article in The Economic Times about the digitisation of the banking industry.
I’m the Branch Head, so my role is to manage not only profit and loss for the branch, but also the control functions relating to regulatory procedures, anti-money laundering systems and supervisory surveillance.
A team of 12 people from sales, service and operations reports directly to me. It is an extremely exciting role with an immense amount to learn.
But you've only just completed your MBA – how did you get so far in such a short time?
I firmly believe it was my qualification from the UK that gave me an edge over my peer group.
Towards the end of my MBA, I sent across my CV to a few employers and got an interview call from Citibank.
I did have to clear some seven rounds of interviews, but I was delighted to get my appointment letter and to be offered a role in Planning and Strategy by Citibank for Retail Bank India.
Within six months I was given the opportunity to head my current team.
Essex helped me broaden my horizons in terms of thinking critically. It boosted my confidence level, which was so useful for those interviews and is still invaluable today.
During my course, I evolved as a person, became more creative and enhanced my skill set, which helped me bag my dream job at Citibank.
The networks I built up while I was in the UK have helped me a lot, and will go a long way towards facilitating my career goals in the future too.
I met a lot of industry experts during my MBA programme with senior positions in reputed banks. This helped me get a placement on a summer project with HSBC London.
Since I was keen to come back to India because my family is here, I also took my own steps to make connections with people in banking in India.
Why did you choose to study in the UK if you knew you wanted to work in India?
I did a lot of research into which country to go to for my MBA and learnt that a UK education has a particularly good reputation with Indian employers. The UK also tops global charts for research-oriented universities.
I did consider a few other destinations, but realised that the MBA course in UK is a 12-month programme compared with an 18- or 24-month programme in some countries.
Thus, for executives like myself who already have some work experience and want to fine-tune their skills, a UK MBA indisputably became the best choice.
And what about settling in? Was the UK a friendly place?
Absolutely! The UK felt like home away from home.
From the start, the process of applying and getting admission was seamless and hassle-free for me.
Furthermore, the language and lifestyle (in terms of culture and food) in the UK was very comfortable and not a challenge at all.
From impressive professors who guided me so well in my projects and reports, to my enthusiastic and friendly course mates, the experience was so enriching.
The energy there was simply so high and contagious. It was academic and fun all at once!
Can you give any advice to students hoping to get into management and finance?
Be extremely clear and cautious about what you want to gain from the course.
You’ll be asked to choose a lot of courses yourself, and there are lots of them, so make sure you select your course structure based on your career goal and professional needs. Do not randomly pick up electives.
What’s next for you?
I am very pleased with my career so far, but I do not want to rest on my laurels. I plan to continue climbing the corporate ladder and hope to reach the top.
What’s your number one memory of your time in the UK? The one you’d tell your grandchildren about?
I had the time of my life in the UK and made some wonderful friends from across the globe.
Settled in: Vineeta (furthest left) with her friends from the University of Essex (Picture: Vineeta Suri)
There are so many cherished memories, but the one that I'd like to tell my grandchildren would have to be my prize dinner for being a top student in the beautiful Wivenhoe House in Colchester, along with the honorary graduates of 2012 and the Director of Essex Business School.
I felt I had arrived at a key point in my life that night, as I had dinner with David Yates (director of Harry Potter), Lucy Kellaway (one of my favourite writers) and many other renowned and admired people.
I was completely star-struck and will never forget that evening.
I am filled with gratitude towards my university and the people around me in the UK for such a memorable year.
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