Aadhar, Vice President, Technology
Aadhar, IT development lead for Global Banking Technology at Morgan Stanley, is an innovator in every sense of the word. In addition to the real-world IT problems he solves every day, in 2012 he won a World Bank-sponsored idea contest, proposing to crowdsource traffic maps in developing countries using realtime traffic updates from a fleet of rickshaw drivers in the streets. With that kind of ingenuity, he could have gone anywhere to work in technology, but eight years ago he chose Morgan Stanley thanks to the breadth of career advancement opportunities. He came armed with a Bachelor's degree in computer science from Ruia College and a graduate degree in the same field from Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute.
What was it like being a tech intern at Morgan Stanley?
Well, being an IT guy, most folks were asking, “Why Morgan Stanley?". The Firm was a great place to intern for four to six months. It really changed my perspective. During that time I was given a lot of technology opportunities that helped me understand the business. Being able to create something and have an impact made me feel fortunate. I knew that this was where I wanted to be.
What happened after that?
I was able to get experience in different areas of the Firm. I worked in Investment Management for four years, working on a number of different applications and technologies. I was part of the Wealth Management team, and then I moved to the Global Banking and Technology team. This move gave me the chance to communicate and work with my New York counterparts. I started taking on more responsibilities, such as developing enterprise systems and analysis.
What's a typical day like for you?
It starts with a discussion with our team. We try to have as many conversations as possible in local time zones so that when we're on global calls, we can optimize our time and have a more fruitful discussion. We do high-tech work here—there's a good amount of work that is being done that is cutting-edge. It feels good to see the impact of our technology systems on our clients, both internal and external. We have teams that keep tabs on new technology to make sure it's secure and safe. We also have a foosball table here for when we want to have a little fun.
Where do good ideas come from?
Innovative thinking is important in tech, especially when it comes to making technology better. Several years ago, I won a contest sponsored by the World Bank called the m2Work Challenge. My idea proposed a low-cost way to crowdsource maps in developing nations by employing fleets of rickshaw drivers to feed live traffic updates into a subscription service. Good ideas can come from anywhere.
Have you done any mentoring?
The culture here is quite open and collaborative, which lends itself well to mentoring. I have had five different mentors in my career. I have also mentored people formally and informally through mentorship programs. Mentors are especially helpful when you're going through a career transition and need perspective.
Speaking of perspective, how does the Firm incorporate different views?
It's very important to Morgan Stanley. I think all kinds of different perspectives are incredibly useful. We're always interested in hearing from millennials, for example. We want to know their thoughts on how to bring innovation into banking. They bring new ideas and vibrant energy into the workplace.