To begin with, let me introduce myself. I am Vaibhav Shah. I recently graduated with my Bachelors in Agricultural and Food Engineering and Masters in Financial Engineering. In my days at the campus, I was actively involved in a plethora of Soc-cult activities like Elocution, Debate, Dramatics and What’s the Good Word. I was also the General Secretary Social and Cultural of Patel Hall of Residence in my 3rd year. The only reason that I mention these things is to emphasize on the point that KGP is a land of a million opportunities and possibilities to explore yourselves. Just don’t miss a chance when the opportunity comes.
Currently, I work with Credit Suisse Business Analytics India Pvt. Ltd, as a part of the Model Risk Management Team (MRM), based in Mumbai.
Why did you select this particular field? What options were available to you during placements?
Finance had fascinated me since the day I took my first course in “Corporate Finance” from VGSOM
Finance had fascinated me since the day I took my first course in “Corporate Finance” from VGSOM, IIT Kharagpur. A fantastically designed financial engineering curriculum at VGSOM helped a lot; not only in getting my current job, but also in helping me to clear my CFA Level 1 exams. The more I learned, the more intrigued I got and the more confident I became about pursuing a career in the field of Finance. Also, the choice was based on the fact that Finance is one of the industries which is directly applicable to the knowledge I gained at IIT.
As I had made up my mind to be in the finance industry, I targeted mostly Investment Banks. Landing a job at Credit Suisse on day one, was actually a dream come true.
What is your advice for students who are appearing for their interview with Credit Suisse?
Having a good grasp of mathematics helped me a lot in my interviews for the Model Risk Management Team (MRM). Some topics such as Probability, Statistics, Regression, and Algorithms might be good to know. Having some knowledge of finance adds an edge for sure, but this is not an absolute necessity. The most essential thing that I believe the company is looking for is one’s willingness and ability to learn.
Can you describe your work profile/average day for us and tell us whether it was what you expected when you sat for placements?
The MRM team is responsible for the validation of mathematical models across the bank.
The MRM team is responsible for the validation of mathematical models across the bank. To put it simply, this involves a lot of mathematics, statistics and some finance. There is a project based work allocation, and projects typically have a duration of about 3 months on average.
The work timings usually differ based on the stakeholders involved in a project. But, generally speaking, my working day typically spans 8 hours, with a lunch break in between. Sometimes we have meetings with the stakeholders and model owners (people who develop the models that we validate) in the afternoon. The MRM team is involved in the analysis of the models by means of back-testing of data, running historical simulations, challenging the model assumptions and occasional report writing. There may be some training sessions planned during some weeks to keep us updated about the latest developments in the field.
How would you describe the Credit Suisse work culture and the work life balance?
There are several points I would like to raise as far as the work-culture is concerned. Firstly, the average age of people working in my team is around 25-30. This means I work in a fairly young, energetic and dynamic crowd who has the motto, “Work hard, party harder”. We often have team outings and activities. Also, the working hours are fairly flexible and it is possible to achieve a good work/life balance.
Another good thing about Credit Suisse is that the company values the work of its employees equally and everyone who is involved in a particular project has the opportunity to add value. It doesn’t matter what the designation of the person is, whether they are a full time employee or an intern, or in which geographic location they sit, whether it is in the India office or the Zurich office, everyone is held to the same standards and all contributions are valued. It is very satisfying to see that your work indeed has a significant contribution to the company and you are not merely reduced to making presentations and updating reports. The environment is highly conducive to learning and to becoming a better professional. I feel privileged to work with such an awesome group of people.
What are your long-term goals?How do working in CREDIT SUISSE help you get achieve them?
It is really difficult to comment about my long term goals. However, generally speaking, my long term objective is to be in a stable, well earning and well learning job where I am given new challenges every day. I know I would not be able to stand the monotony of any sort of work where the learning stops and the growth becomes stagnant.
My role at Credit Suisse in fact helps me to achieve my objectives. My objective to constantly learn is achieved by the training and development programmes that all employees undergo. This training is tailored to each individual’s needs, and is not restricted to finance, but rather the holistic growth in all aspects including technical as well as personality and soft skills. In addition, the opportunities for internal mobility which enable an individual to move between particular work streams or departments also ensure that the learning never stops and that one always has new and exciting challenges.
Any specific advice you want to give for junta sitting for placements this year and juniors who aspire to be in the same ?
Placement season is a time with high hopes and high expectations, which can result in stress. My advice would be to stay calm during this stressful time, and take comfort from the fact that things will eventually fall into place sooner or later. If everything seems like it is going wrong sometimes, have faith that you are destined to be in a much better place. Also, I would say that life changes a lot once you get placed. So make the most of the time you have as a student at the campus, as you might not get another chance to have this same experience again.
I wish you all the best for your placements!!! Keep machaying junta!!! KGP ka tempo high hai!!!