Its been a 40 day roller coaster ride to say the least...at the end of it I am supposed to have got ‘trained'...the formal training process ends today and we are left open to the wolves of the 'big bad world of business' from tomorrow! The comforts of passive participation; of being just able to sit back and attempt to absorb some of the information overflow ceases today and one is expected to apply all that we went through in the past few weeks to actual business!
But all said and done, with all my characteristic cynicism in place, I must say, its been a huge learning experience for me personally…these 6 odd weeks have made me a much more saner person…the different stints through the training saw us lugging through the rougher terrains of northern India and actually ‘feel the pulse’ of the customer…"Customer is king" and all the other clap trap that B-school grads like me are usually fed with evanesces! Its an all together different ball game to be there in the field either luring the customer to buy your product (tougher when its an intangible financial service!) or showing him the stick to repay when he goes delinquent!
Through these weeks I met scores of people from myriad walks of life; all diverse individuals all operating within their own domains and constraints…from the Global Risk Officer Ray Duggins to the CEO Vishal Pandit, the other members of the top management including the CFO’s, CIO’s, VP’s AVP’s and the rest to countless sales managers, DSA’s (Direct sales agents) who lug it in the field trying to sell products to people entering data in the Ops shop floor to the brash Collector who threatens the customer to pay back promptly…just went to show that the job of a matrc pass who fed data from teh application forms was as critical to the process flow as perhaps the CEO's!! images also flash of the numerous faces of the ‘Indian customer’ I encountered---there was a dream in each eye, an aspiration for a better existence and since money is one of the most important means to get you there, all of them invariably wanted loans (of course at low interest rates!)…it was equally fun going on bikes to places like Ghaziabad, Ballabhgarh, Faridabad etc which I hitherto wouldn’t have dreamt of making a trip to! All this in either the sweltering northern heat or the erratic monsoon showers drenched from head to toe! Its been equally interesting learning about the entire gamut of the Retail finance business in India- be it Credit cards or the loan spectrum covering home, personal, auto, two wheeler, consumer durable and a plethora of other loans; what competition does, the finance dynamics and the profit considerations that go behind the same---a huge disconnect from what I was fed at in B School!
So on the threshold of a new phase, its both apprehension and excitement that engulfs me now…the task seems as daunting and challenging but at the same time quite intellectually stimulating…all I can do is to keep fingers crossed and look at each passing day as a new challenge, a new opportunity for growth, for learning!
I seriously do have miles to go before I sleep!