What are your primary assignments?
I play an interdepartmental role that comprises three main assignments. First, I am the chief of staff for the BNP Paribas manager who covers India. I help him manage his daily projects and provide support on strategic issues including the subsidiary’s governance and partnerships with Indian businesses.
My second assignment is to develop collaboration between the Group’s various entities in India (Corporate & Institutional Banking, Wealth Management, Asset Management, etc.). My role in this case is to build bridges between the various businesses, with the aim of generating synergies.
Finally, my third assignment is to develop our sustainable finance offer in the country. For example, I help to implement solutions for financing local projects that have a positive social or environmental impact. This is one of the most exciting parts of my job.
What is the most important quality required for this job?
Above all, this job takes exceptional coordination skills. Much of the job consists of connecting employees who work in different entities and do not necessarily know each other. It’s also important to be a “banking generalist”, which means having a comprehensive grasp of all businesses in order to collaborate more efficiently with all stakeholders. Finally, adaptability is a crucial skill, because you have to know how to wear many different hats and communicate with a broad range of contacts.
What path did you take to reach this job?
Towards the end of business school, I took part in an academic exchange program for six months at a university in Taiwan. I decided to extend my stay by completing an internship, followed by a corporate volunteer program at BNP Paribas in Taiwan. Next, I had an opportunity to go to Singapore for a job in the business management department of BNP Paribas Wealth Management. After spending eight years in Singapore, I moved to Mumbai, India, with the intention of discovering new fields and expanding my knowledge of the Group. I have now spent more than 12 years working in Asia and I never would have guessed that my career would have taken me this far!
You have worked in several countries. What have you gained from these experiences from a professional standpoint?
Mainly, an international network. Through my expatriate experiences, I have had the opportunity to meet a great number of professionals from inside and outside BNP Paribas. I was also able to expand my knowledge of local economies in Southeast Asia (Singapore), Northeast Asia (Taiwan) and South Asia (India). Finally, it also helped me learn more about the business culture in these countries. All these aspects are major advantages in my current job.
What attracted you to Asia?
Asia has grown at an accelerating rate over the past 10 years. It offers more professional opportunities than Europe, and that’s what attracted me to the region. On a personal level, I was drawn to the continent’s immense cultural diversity. Within a single country, you will often find a vast range of cultures rubbing shoulders. In India, for example, it is fascinating to see how language, religion and customs vary from one state to the next. For me, this melting pot of cultures is extremely enriching, especially in a city as cosmopolitan as Mumbai.
In India, it is fascinating to see how language, religion and customs vary from one state to the next.
"My first advice is to accept a certain amount of uncertainty. When considering an assignment abroad, our fear of the unknown can make us want to control every aspect of the trip. But it’s much better just to dive right in without thinking too hard about things, or you might never leave. Though the uncertainty can be frightening at first, it’s what makes the trip so exciting once you arrive on site. My second tip is to consider going directly to the country in order to look for professional opportunities. Take it from me, it’s much easier to find a job once you are in town instead of by email or over Skype."
What image would you use to explain your job to a child?
Like a conductor, the development manager is the person who directs all the different businesses with the wave of a wand, so that everyone can work together in harmony. He knows the score like the back of his hand and has a clear vision of how it should be played. He communicates his vision to experts, while setting the tempo, measure, nuances, etc. At every moment, he is the one who gives the cues, keeps the beat and maintains a careful balance between all the different businesses. His goal is to ensure that all the bank’s specialists work “in concert” in order to create melodious synergies.