Senior Director - Cognizant Business Consulting
My company and my job
A Fortune 500 company listed on the NASDAQ, Cognizant is recognized as a global leader in business and technology services, catering to clients across a wide range of industries. As Senior Director for Business Consulting in banking and financial services across APAC, I lead both business development and project management with a strong focus on client satisfaction. Engaging with senior client stakeholders, managing business operations, developing my team's talent and keeping a close eye on the latest business and industry trends are also some of my other key responsibilities.
How I got my job
Cognizant's results are driven by its vision to be the partner of choice and industry domain expert in consulting-led business transformation. I joined Cognizant after two rounds of interviews, which tested me on the depth of my knowledge of capital markets and asset management. I remember having been simultaneously intimidated by the job prerequisites, and also impressed by the depth of expertise possessed by the consultants I encountered during the interview stages. My passion for capital markets won me the job, and from then on, I was focused on becoming a domain expert myself.
The highs and lows
My passion for the asset and wealth management domain, and opportunity to build a world class consulting practice are what motivates me to go to work. Consulting is a lifestyle choice which involves long intense hours and constant challenges in aspects like selling, execution, research, building assets, building teams and keeping them focused and motivated. Balancing one's life and work is challenging but worthwhile when a strategic deal is won, or when one sees a motivated team coming together. My biggest achievement is building a successful consulting practice in Singapore from scratch 4 years ago with the kind of work done, the client references received and how fast we are growing as a consulting organization.
Training and support
I received much training over the years on consulting tools and techniques, team leadership, managing client relationships, consultative selling , negotiation skills, executive presentation skills, and so on. I also took advantage of the extensive domain training in the company as well as external courses to build my subject matter expertise. I did not have a formal mentor assigned to me but I was fortunate to work with amazing leaders and managers who genuinely cared. Mentoring that I received from my managers played a huge part in making me the leader that I am and helped me when I took on the responsibility for building the consulting business in Singapore.
I prioritise, plan well, and delegate tasks. Another key thing that has kept me working for Cognizant for so long is its culture - a unique hybrid blend of business and people focus. We are aggressive and go all out when we are selling, yet are flexible and supportive. Employee-friendly policies encourage managers to help their people meet their aspirations. Neither hierarchical nor rigid, our culture encourages dialogue to resolve conflict, empowers managers to make decisions and provides channels for colleagues to share, speak up and so on. Every manager carries that responsibility to maintain this culture.
One needs a hunger for learning and an ability to see the big picture, ask questions, and explore available resources. One shouldn't complain of lack of resources or opportunities to learn nowadays. They only have to keep their eyes wide open, ask questions, and be curious. Every task or project is an opportunity to learn but go beyond and further than you have to. Surf the internet with purpose, and think, probe further ("So what?" / "What else?" etc.) to build objective analytical thinking, and educated opinions. Seek out experts or peers and never fear to ask questions or share opinions, no matter how experienced or senior the other person is.