Mazhar has worked at Morgan Stanley for eleven years and is currently a Vice President on the Fund Services team. He graduated from Mumbai University with a degree in Commerce and post graduate degrees in Finance and Management Studies.
Can you tell us what you do at Morgan Stanley?
I work in fund services where my prime responsibility is to provide accounting solutions to hedge funds by helping assess their net asset value. In addition, an important aspect is to enable investor transparency by verifying the accuracy and completeness of the underlying books of accounts.
Why did you start your career with Morgan Stanley?
I joined the firm in 2008 through the campus recruitment process. One of the reasons I was attracted to the firm is its reputation as one of the premier financial institutions in the world, not just in India. This is something that attracts a lot of students to Morgan Stanley. I stayed at the firm for a year, but I had to leave because my father had a health issue and I needed to support my family. As things settled down with my family, I was keen to join Morgan Stanley again. This is when I got in touch with my manager and expressed my decision to rejoin this department. I was grateful to the firm for welcoming me back and giving me an opportunity to work with my desired company.
What do you like most about your job?
To be honest, I am challenged every day. I never get a feeling of being in a monotonous work environment because there is always something new to learn. Even after seven years, I have the same enthusiasm to come to work, which in itself is a great motivator.
Is there a lot of teamwork?
Nobody thinks twice to extend a hand, especially when there's a crisis. They don't think, "I should complete my work first." It's about managing it as a team. Let's say it's late in the day and I'm ready to go home. If I see someone is having a challenging day, I’ll ask if they need my help. There will always be someone who will jump in to ease the pressure. There is a feeling of oneness and tremendous team spirit here.
What makes Morgan Stanley different from other companies?
Client service is a driving force throughout the organization. We deliver quality products and never give anything less. Without even facing the client directly, I can relate to what their needs are and deliver to their expectations. Our culture is unique. I have a lot of friends who work at other companies. They only speak about business and revenue. I'm the only one among us who speaks about culture.
What makes the culture unique?
We have an open-door policy. I don't have to think twice to speak to our management team. I can go directly to an executive director or managing director if anything is troubling me. It promotes a sense of openness and transparency; everybody is willing to give their time and share their expertise in all situations. They appreciate that somebody is coming to them for help. In a way, this gets imbued in each individual and ultimately builds up a culture.
Were there any specific instances where you felt like someone was looking after you?
Some time ago, I was feeling a little stagnant in the position I was in and was looking for an opportunity to try something different and learn something new. I went to one of my reporting managers, who said there was nothing available at the time, but he encouraged me to try and focus on the role I was in and look at it differently.
So I trusted his opinion and judgment and continued. An opportunity came through, and he made this opportunity available to me. This instance added to my respect for that person and the whole firm, where the smallest of my problems was kept in mind and a solution was provided at the right time.
Have you participated in any mentoring?
I feel everybody needs a mentor to bridge the gap from where they are to where they want to be. I have been a mentor to different team members, giving advice, suggestions and feedback and helping others gain specific knowledge in areas of my expertise. We as a business unit also have a program called “The Buddy Program." When a new person joins our department, they are assigned a mentor from a different team so that they can interact with an independent, unbiased person who gives them a flavor of our culture and helps that person ease into the initial days at work.