Piyush Singh is an Executive Director in Technology in Morgan Stanley's Mumbai office. Singh, who specializes in C++ programming, earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has been with the firm for 11 years and has been instrumental in expanding his team from seven to 70 people—and plays an important role in making sure Morgan Stanley is recruiting the best people in tech.
Have you always been interested in technology?
I found it very interesting when I was studying at university. I was trained as a mechanical engineer, not a software engineer, which is my job at the moment. When I decided that mechanical engineering wasn't for me, I began exploring a new path. I taught myself in many ways.
What do you do at Morgan Stanley?
I work in our technology division. I am the development lead on C++, a popular programming language, and I am in charge of our main sales and trading application called Carbon Sales. I came to the firm from campus recruitment and participated in a three-month training program where I was trained on different technologies.
How has your job evolved over that time?
When I joined in 2005, the C++ development team in India was just starting out. There were only seven people, myself included, but the team has now grown to 70 people. We're so big now that the team has been divided into smaller ones with different practice areas.
What is it like working in technology for an investment bank?
It's fast-paced. No two days are the same. Trading volume grew after the financial crisis, and it is important to keep our systems cutting edge. We want to solve tomorrow's problems, and not just what we are doing today. Our systems must keep up with workflow and complex requirements across the globe. It's all part of the challenge, and it’s very exciting.
We offer something for every technologist out there. If there's anything that interests you, we have something from apps on the iPad to operating systems and everything in between.
What are some of the challenges you encounter?
When looking to recruit, it can be challenging to find the right fit. Aside from needing the right experience, we want people who embody our culture. They need to have the right skill set and be passionate about technology. What differentiates our people is passion—that's a key element. We want them to be hard working but also enjoy what they do. It needs to be fun for them.
What strategies do you have to find the right people?
We have a internship program where we hire 100 or so people, and at the end all successful candidates join our Technology Analyst program. After three months, they are placed onto teams at Morgan Stanley. I've been part of this group for a couple years. It's a complex job. We get hundreds of applicants per year from different universities for our region alone.
Why have you stayed so long with the Firm?
I've been able to change teams a few times, which has allowed me to work on different technologies. I've always been given new challenges. At no point in my career have I felt devoid of a challenge. Every single year, my responsibilities increase, and I do new things. That's the reason I stayed year after year.
How do you keep your team motivated?
It's one thing to attract great talent, but a completely different thing to retain them, keep them motivated, and give them successful and rewarding careers. I make sure the projects given to my team are interesting and challenging. We encourage people to speak up. Good ideas can come from anywhere. People at any stage in their career can contribute and challenge the current way of doing things.