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‘The teachers at this school were extremely supportive’

Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park set the foundation of my learning and communication skills



He is at present, based in Delhi and working in Gurugram with Genpact as Global Delivery Head, Data and Analytics. The career trajectory for this alumnus from Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park, is an interesting one.

“After completing my Computer Engineering in Bengaluru, I started working with Tata Infotech in Noida. After working here for a few years, I moved to another company – Keane; they sent me to the US where I lived and worked for nine years. I also did my MBA in Marketing from Vanderbilt University – Owen Graduate School of Management in Nashville, TN. In 2008, I moved to Toronto, Canada before moving back to India in 2017. During this period, I’ve worked with well-known companies like Deloitte and Accenture,” Nikhil Bimbrahw said.

Excerpts from the interview.

Elaborate on what your work entails and what a typical day looks like for you.

My work involves owning the engagement delivery for the entire Insurance Analytics practice, which includes around 600 people; I have a large team based out of India. I oversee various projects for different clients, ensuring we deliver on our promises, and building data and analytics capabilities to drive business growth while reducing costs and improving efficiencies. We also work towards looking for new opportunities to provide value to clients. The daily tasks vary, but they mainly include numerous meetings with different stakeholders, both internal and external, client calls, firefighting, addressing issues, and resolving various challenges that arise.

When you mention clients, are you referring to individual clients or companies?

I work with companies, primarily large insurance companies, including some of the world’s largest. While I can’t share specific client names at present. In the past, I’ve worked with clients like Aviva, Manulife and the WSIB (Workers’ Compensation Board of Ontario), to name a few. My work encompasses serving various insurance companies across different segments like Life, P&C, Broker, and Re-insurance.

Can you elaborate on the types of challenges you face and how you handle them?

Challenges often arise when client expectations aren’t met. These challenges can stem from various factors like performance issues with our staff, process-related problems, governance issues, or even technology-related issues like network outages. I investigate these issues, identify their root causes, propose solutions, and implement them to meet our clients’ needs.

When working with clients, it can sometimes feel like a thankless job. How do you keep your team motivated in such situations?

I don’t see it as a thankless job because clients often understand that some issues are beyond our control. As long as the lines of communication are open and we can convey the same to the client, we are on the same page – it is collaborative work – which is essential. We work as a team to ensure that certain deliverables are taken care of. When clients perceive our commitment and collaborative effort, they are appreciative of our efforts.

We work with clients rather than just for them, and that’s how relationships evolve. Clients recognise the value we bring, and although they have expectations, we continuously discuss how to meet those expectations and what investments may be needed, whether in terms of people, technology, or process improvements. The clients are aware that we bring to the table certain capabilities at a certain cost that they can’t find in the open market on their own and they are appreciative of this fact.

At the same time, there are expectations. This happens continuously with discussions on which of these are must-haves versus nice-to-haves. In order to keep our teams motivated, we have to keep ensuring they see the bigger picture and they see the value of their piece of work as part of that picture.

You studied at Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park. Can you share some fond memories or memorable experiences from your school days?

Absolutely. I spent my entire school life at Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park (formerly Sheikh Sarai) – from kindergarten to class XII. I also held the position of School Prefect of Ashoka House, which was my first leadership role. Fond memories abound, and I’m still in touch with many friends from school. We meet regularly, and the camaraderie is alive and kicking.

One memory that stands out is when a teacher gave me a fountain pen in class V as a reward for my accomplishments in Social Studies. That gesture of encouragement has stayed with me over the years.

I also had extremely supportive teachers who encouraged my interest in different subjects; namely Ms Kiran Kapoor for English or Ms Verma for Biology. Even my Sanskrit teacher, Ms Shukla, was supportive and gave me all the help I needed even though I was not very good at the subject.

School plays an important role in shaping a person. How has Apeejay shaped you?

Apeejay set the foundation in terms of my learning, communication skills, and soft skills in terms of how to deal with people as well. The school taught me how to work in a team, and that it is all about how you play with other people– whether it is volleyball or football or work on a project. Working together to achieve something, while continuing to improve yourself as an individual is what the school taught me. Some of these lessons have stayed with me for life.

You have worked in the US, Canada, and now in India. What is the difference in work ethics?

People are not too different. Everybody wants to do well at work; at the same time, they are trying to balance their challenges in their personal life. In terms of work ethics, there is huge professionalism in the US and Canada. In India, things are a bit different since there is a lot of family influence. Also, my role here is different, so I wouldn’t really call it an apples to apples comparison.

Advice to present to Apeejayites who want to in the IT sector.

I would say, don’t focus on one sector. Try and learn how technology can be used for creating business value – whether through programming or non-programming areas like Data. Students should understand that just because they are not good at programming, they can’t have a career in IT. Several opportunities in this sector are not related to programming. The whole area of Analytics, for example, including Generative AI that is gaining ground in recent years, is not heavily reliant on knowing a programming language.

I would say use the time in school to explore different things. Play different games and join various clubs; use the opportunities to explore life beyond academics; those are the memories that will stay with you!

Is AI being used in your field?

Yes, we are using AI/ML, and more recently Generative AI tools. As a firm that is well-versed in using technology and data to create business value, we are in a leading position. The key focus right now is to find the right business use case from the client’s perspective like Underwriting, Claims, Actuarial, etc. We have an initiative called the “Tiger’s Den” where brainstorming on use-cases occurs. This is an ongoing discussion and we are continuing to explore this field since new use cases keep coming up.

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.

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