MDIS - A View from the Top - Premkumar Rajendran
HeadHunt Issue 164 (16th Oct)
B.E. (Honours), MBA (Ashridge UK)
Regional Operations Manager,
Global Cash Operations,
Deutsche Bank AG, Singapore
Why did you decide to do an MBA?
Having gained a few years of experience after graduating with a computer engineering degree, I felt it was an opportune time to expand my knowledge and skills beyond technology. I realised that pursuing an MBA would provide me with additional skills that I could use both professionally and personally. I would also be able to expand my network of professional contacts. Deutsche Bank supports the continued development of its staff and encourages their pursuit of higher academic qualifications and industry certifications. I was based in Germany at that time and chose to enroll in the MBA programme offered by Ashridge in the UK.
How did the MBA help you in your career?
“Transform” is a more appropriate word. Until my MBA, I had been playing various roles in the technology space. The MBA enabled me to look at the organisation not just from a technology perspective, but through other lenses such as Operations, Human Resources and Finance. It equipped me with the skills and the confidence to step out of my comfort zone. I moved back to Asia and took on a role outside of technology. The skills gained during my MBA helped me in this transition and subsequently in taking up higher responsibilities. Since then, I have freely moved across departments in different roles. The MBA has provided me with the capability to better contribute to the organisation’s strategy and to deal more confidently with the challenges each day brings.
Best career or personal advice you’ve ever received?
Way back in 1999, when we were busy with Y2K projects, one of my managers presented each of us in his team with a copy of “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr Spencer Johnson and said, “Anticipate and accept change, and grow with it.” The next year, I accepted an expanded role and moved to another city on a transfer. Much later after my MBA, as part of my career development, I requested a role to manage a multi-cultural team. Offering me the opportunity to lead a global team spread across Asia, Europe and USA, my manager remarked, “You wanted to swim, and we are asking you to jump into the ocean. We believe in you. Do you believe in yourself?
What was one of your biggest challenges that you’ve faced in your career?
Juggling work, study and family has not been easy. For a period of time, my family was in India while I worked in Germany and attended MBA classes in the UK. The challenge was to balance all three aspects and this was possible only with very supportive managers, colleagues and family. I did spend a fortune on phone calls and airfares and sacrificed a number of other things in order to pull through. Another challenge was paying careful attention during verbal and non-verbal communication when I interacted with multi-cultural or multi-locational teams.
Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
In dynamic organisations, there are always opportunities to grow, and Asia is seen as a growth market. I see myself adding more value progressively, and in five years’ time I expect to play a further expanded role in the region.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is keen to do an MBA, what would it be?
Success has no limits – don’t limit yourself to what others have achieved.