NSIT to Wall Street

NSIT to Wall Street: Saurabh Kushwaha

Saurabh Kushwaha

Barclays – New York

Assistant Vice President, Global Markets Team

IT batch of 2011

  1. Working at the Wall Street is a dream for any investment banker. Describe a typical day of work at the Wall Street. 

Well, to start with, any day at Wall Street is not at all as vulgar or compulsive as you saw in Leo Dicaprio’s starred movie. Life is Wall Street is typically unique. Every individual looks very confident and is extremely well dressed in formals. People are in a rush all the time and have to be very punctual, as it’s a place where 8 o’clock means 8 o’clock, not even 8:05. The office area is very well kept.

A typical day is spent tracking your market, staring at your Bloomberg, meetings, presentations, and brainstorming. I won’t deny that it gets quite stressful at times, but the good part is you can relax after 5 pm, when most of the markets are closed. People here are fitness freaks and like to go to gym thereafter. Friday evening is like a festival; people celebrate the toil of the week with drinks and music.

2. You were promoted to New York this February after working in Mumbai for two years. How did the transfer process go like? What is the percentage of people who get a transfer to NY from Mumbai office? 

Barclays has an excellent relocation policy, which is very employee centric . Thus, the process was very smooth and comfortable for me.  I am not sure about the exact percentage, but here are some stats that I am aware of – I was the 9th employee to move to any global office and 4th employee to move to New York office from India office. 

3. What was your role at Barclays India? Which profile and team were you in? 

I was a part of Agency Derivatives (Futures, FX & OTC) team of the Global Markets division at Barclays India. When I joined the firm, I was responsible for setting up the Treasury desk for my team.

I worked on Proprietary trading domain and technologies at my previous firm, so my initial role was slightly technical, where I worked on creating & automating various models & tools for the global business. Eventually, I was handed the responsibility to handle the business of Asian markets and I used to work in Korean, Malaysian, Australian, Japanese, Hong Kong and Singapore markets on a daily basis.

4. How did you go about building a vast knowledge of the financial markets, looking at the fact that you were an Information Technology undergrad at NSIT?

Having a computers background was never a hurdle. I decided upon a career in Finance as early as 7th semester. I did my BTP in FMS which helped me understand various concepts. The real learning started with my first job, where I worked on practical examples and learnt even more about the industry. However, after cracking Barclays, I realized that learning is just a part of this job and I learn every day.

5. How you have changed as an individual in these four years, post your graduation?

I consider this as a funny question, as I believe nothing is constant. From hostel outfits to office formals, from being extremely lazy to being mature, and from doing anything you like to being limited by a strict timetable with things in priority order, life has taken certainly taken a big leap.

6. What words of advice would you like to give to your juniors willing to pursue a career in Finance?

NSITians are everywhere but I believe that the relative percentage is lesser in core banking and trading roles and that every NSITian is capable of making to the Wall Street. If you have deep interest in Numbers, Maths, Economics, Financial Markets, etc. then Finance is the right career path for you but you have to make sure that you will be an ideal fir for this career.

My advice is to start by reading online, talking to people about their day-to-day work and researching about the various roles in finance.  After you decide that you want to pursue this career, I recommend starting early either by cracking a good finance role through on-campus opportunities or switching to a related role as early in your professional life as possible. MBA is an easy career switching option. 

In my opinion, an MBA from a top US school, however, is more valuable than an MBA from a top Indian school due to lack of good opportunities available in India. But at last, your ambition should very strong, your dreams should be powerful, and perseverance is the key to survival.