Morgan Stanley
  • Experienced Professionals
  • Oct 28, 2021

The Second Time Around

A value-driven culture and rewarding opportunities often entice professionals to return to the firm in our India offices.

Ashish Gilda’s career proves that success doesn’t always follow a predictable path. In 2011, the technologist, who supports the prime brokerage systems, started at the firm as a junior developer and analyst on the Portfolio Accounting team in Mumbai and soon realized he had joined a company where he could take on as much responsibility as he could handle. He progressed quickly, developing software, and then leading a small team before being promoted to Vice President in January 2016, all the while supported by senior colleagues. “I got to work in different business service areas, on challenging projects, and was rewarded for my efforts,” Gilda says, crediting part of his success to support and mentorship from senior colleagues.

Despite the wealth of opportunities he encountered, Gilda made the decision in May 2017 to leave the firm for a FAANG company, where he expanded his focus to large-scale software engineering projects. That experience positioned him well to return to Morgan Stanley in September 2019 with new experience in cloud technology, an area that was just taking off within the firm. 

A Haven for “Boomerangers”

For employees in our India offices like Gilda, such a trajectory is not unusual. While some technologists leave to go to other firms in hopes of broadening their experience,  the culture of collaboration, autonomy and individual recognition at Morgan Stanley often lures them back to roles that leverage those new-found technical and leadership skills.

For Gilda, his return was also fueled by strong relationships with colleagues and expanding opportunities at Morgan Stanley, driven by the firm's implementation of a cloud first strategy. “The opportunity to enable the firm’s cloud transformation is a dream role for a technologist,” Gilda says.

Morgan Stanley has a long track record of attracting talent back for a second stint, particularly in Bengaluru and Mumbai, which continue to grow as major business and technology hubs. Rajat Mathur, India Head of Human Resources, confirms that in the last 10 years, the headcount has grown multi-fold and that "boomerangers" are encouraged to apply. “We understand that at times people may choose to leave to try something different, but the door is always open for them to come back,” he says, adding that alumni can often be a great fit. “They integrate into the firm’s culture quickly because they have already experienced it," he says, including the culture of collaboration that is a hallmark of Morgan Stanley.

Pathways to Professional Growth

Technologist Anto Felix returned after five years away from Morgan Stanley working at a rival bank, where he managed interest rate products, trading applications and real-time risk calculation.  He’d initially left to take a job in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, in part to be nearer to his family. In his current role as Vice President in Institutional Securities Technology in Bengaluru, he’s able to flex new muscles as both a manager of a team of six and a technical lead for Fixed Income eCredit STP deliveries for Europe and Asia. “I get to see the whole picture—what happens with the apps when traders use them, what problems they encounter and how to risk manage the application,” he says. He’s also able to enjoy the sort of work-life balance he didn’t have at his previous job, which is a big benefit for the new first-time father. “My manager gave me flexibility to schedule my workday so that I could avoid a two hour-commute in traffic,” Felix says.

Opportunities Beyond Technology…

It’s not just technologists who return to Morgan Stanley India, however. Puja Kumar started her career at the company in 2005 as a manager in the Finance division in Mumbai. She met her life partner at Morgan Stanley, and the two welcomed the birth of their first child in November 2009, the year she was also promoted to Vice President. She then took on a role in the Investment Banking Division in 2012. More changes followed, including a move to a different city to raise her young child, which led to a new job at a startup in 2015.

But Kumar found she missed the professional development and learning opportunities she had previously experienced at Morgan Stanley. Through it all, she remained close to her former colleagues, who urged her to return to the firm. “Friends who know me said the only place I should go back to was Morgan Stanley. They knew how happy I was there.” Thanks to that network, she was eventually referred for a position as a Vice President in Risk Management in Mumbai, a job she was offered and accepted in February 2019. “It was like coming home,” she says

Kumar says her experience both inside and outside the firm has proved invaluable and has led to the sort of responsibility she may not otherwise have enjoyed. “I was given authority to decide what the requirements of the region are. I could call the shots,” she says.

…And Benefits Beyond Career Development

Kumar was inspired by the late Aisha De Sequeira, who became the founding Head of Investment Banking for Morgan Stanley India in 2007 and whom Kumar worked for directly for two years. De Sequeira provided Kumar with what proved to be critical advice on balancing motherhood and career. “Thanks to her support and guidance, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t do both. The culture emphasized that your performance determines promotion, never that your personal position defines your career path,” Kumar says.

Work-life balance, mobility, challenging and rewarding work in a stimulating and collaborative environment—all are reasons professionals in India are returning to Morgan Stanley, where the potential is ever-growing. “Opportunities are there,” said Mathur. “We actively drive the concept of mobility.”

For Felix, the decision to return was easy. “Working with smart people in a competitive environment motivates you and leads to innovation,” he says. “It’s as simple as that.”

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