Moving to Poland
For Polish people, India is a very far and foreign land, but one full of beauty and fascinating traditions. Could you tell us a little about your hometown and region?
Indeed, it’s true [laughs]!
My hometown is Jaipur also known as “The Pink City”. This is because most of the old buildings, shops, and homes used to be colored pink – to keep the name, the Government makes sure to enforce the pink color.
Jaipur is the Capital of Rajasthan state. This is the largest state in India and is also known as ‘The Land of Kings”, thanks to the high number of forts and rich palaces it has. This is also the place where you can see the Thar Desert, one of the biggest deserts in the world.
Interestingly, a few of these palaces are still owned and inhabited by the current generation of India’s rich royal families.
If you ever visit India and Jaipur City, the biggest festival which I would recommend everyone to see once in a lifetime is “Kite Festival and Diwali”(Festival of Lights). It is very beautiful and so enjoyable that almost everyone takes part in it – from the youngest to the oldest. Even people over 90 years old, like my Grandfather! And last but not least, it is famous for different types of red chili and powdered spices
How is Poland in comparison? What surprised you the most upon arriving here?
Completely different. I have been in cold areas and cities and seen the snow in the northern part of India. But I have never actually seen a snowfall. I came to Poland in February, in the middle of cold weather. I traveled from most hottest state in India to the Polish winter and cold: it was super windy and snow was falling, even though it was a sunny day. Directly from the airport, I checked into a hotel and didn’t go outside for the first two weeks. It was beautiful and scary at the same time [laughs]! That was the most surprising thing for me.
What was your biggest worry when moving to Poland?
When I first came to Poland the biggest challenge for me was finding an apartment. At that time, it was the peak of wartime between Russia and Ukraine. So many refugees were coming to Poland and thus they were given priority in renting the apartment. The lack of available options in the market resulted in high rent prices. It took me almost two months to find the apartment.
Secondly, before coming to Poland, I did some research and learned that Poland has its national language. But I had never thought that doing grocery shopping would also be that difficult. But thanks to Google Translate, I feel like I’ve now adapted to living in Poland.
Finally, the biggest worry of all, was that I wouldn’t be able to travel home so often due to the long distance and the high price of tickets after COVID-19.
Professional Experience and Working for PwC
Could you tell us something about your professional experience?
I started my career path in August of 2014 with a German investment bank as a Graduate Trainee.
I got a campus placement in one of the top five investment banks at that time. I worked there in the US Client Onboarding team as a KYC Analyst. Since I was covering the US process, I was working night shifts. At the same time, I completed my Master's degree. I worked there till February of 2017.
Then I got an opportunity to work with one of the Swiss banks as a Senior Analyst in the KYC team. There I supported multiple territories UK, the US, Spain, Germany, and Canada. I worked on many different positions and the last one I held was that of Assistant Vice President.
I also led the Global Client onboarding team of UK & EMEA. My team was based in two different locations: India and Poland. Additionally, I managed internal QA audits, regulatory audits as well as external audits.
After that, in February of 2022, I moved to Wroclaw, to work for the Polish branch of the bank, and lead the global team. I decided to leave the company in March 2023
In April 2023, I got a chance to join the Big Four heavy hitter, PwC. This was the first time when I shifted from working in the investment banking industry and entered into the world of consulting.
I started working for a German client. After that, I moved to my long-term assignment where I’m currently working as Ops Manager for the British Chanel Islands and Netherlands Anti Money Laundering/Know Your Client project.
What aspects of your job at PwC do you find most enjoyable? What are the aspects or tasks you find less pleasant?
For me, as a person coming from the investment banking domain, the best aspects of working in PwC are those related to consulting work. It requires various personal skillsets of the management information team, the tech team, and the operations execution team, all collaborating as part of project management. Together they strive to achieve the common goal – providing the best solutions to our clients.
Here, there is one thing you can be sure of – and that is constant learning. If one assignment is finished, you will get a new one, and a new opportunity to not only learn but also to apply the knowledge gained in the previous projects.
Also, you get a chance to travel for work.
Since I still call myself a novice in the consulting world, I have not encountered anything I would tag as particularly unpleasant. But if I have to name a less enjoyable aspect, I guess that would be my schedule, with back-to-back calls sometimes starting from 8:45 am till 3:30 pm.
How does PwC introduce the idea of work-life balance for their employees?
If I compare it to investment banking, most of the banks have a hybrid work approach of three days working in the office and two days at home. In PwC we just started with two days in the office, and that too comes with a bit of flexibility depending on the line of service.
What is more, we have “2h for wellbeing & development” – during which you can take some time off from your project and spend it on your education or any non-project-related effort for your personal development.
Living in Poland
Is there anything you enjoy about Polish culture? Is there anything you don’t quite like about it?
In my opinion, the best thing in Poland is its labor law which helps everyone to prioritize work-life balance. Secondly, I enjoy the food: if you are a cheese or meat lover, then you will fall in love with Poland and its culture.
Is there anything from your culture you believe people in Poland could benefit from?
I think our cultures have one thing in common – in Poland, the close relationship between kids and their parents is very important. This is to the value of family in India, and I like it very much.
Is there any advice you would like to give to those who are considering moving to Poland?
To all who are considering moving to Poland, the first thing I would suggest is: to do your research about the country’s culture, and language and try to be aware of the possible benefits and drawbacks based on your priorities. This will help you to make an informed decision.
From another perspective, you have so many different places to see around in Poland, and many different kinds of dumplings (“pierogi”) to taste.