AIESECers at PwC

The content reflects the personal experience of the contributors who -by coincidence- all work(ed) at PwC. Each user is at all times solely and personally responsible for the usage by him/her under non-PwC-managed environment. All the messages don't reflect the stance and/or opinion of PricewaterhouseCoopers* in any way or form.

* PricewaterhouseCoopers refers to the network of member firms of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Leaving Belgium...and moving on...

Can't imagine that I have already left Belgium, and now I am back in Singapore! Can't imagine that one year is just gone like that!!! One year is not too long, neither is it short. But it had been an intensive one year for me, in terms of work, in terms of personal life...sigh...think I really miss Belgium now...

I really enjoy working in SPA. I like what I am doing, the job, the environment, the people. First half of the year was not very interesting, but soon by the second half of the year, I was fully chargeable to clients.

I am glad to be in SPA, glad to work with different colleagues, and glad be to granted the opportunities. Overall, I am happy with the learning opportunities given to me, happy in my performance, happy with the good appraisals I have received.

I managed to achieve my CISA certification. I am lucky to have a helpful Boss such that I managed to have a good referral to other office. I am blissed with fun colleagues in a fun-loving department.

Moving on, I will still be in the big global family of PwC, in Toronto office to further my career, to gain further international experience, and continue exploring the rest of the world ;-)

See you soon again...

All the best to all the trainees in Belgium now...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Madrid Calling!

To say the least, lifes been quite a journey over this past month. Ive caught up on my mid night dreams in 5 different cities, on 7 different beds (which by the way has my back crying for a massage), have treated my palate to cuisines from atleast 8 countries, all this accompanied with the pleasure of people so diverse and unique (read:weird/interesting), that i swear if i had to write a book on their lives, it would be a bestseller. Basically to cut a long story short (which as you know, is rarely the case with me), after all the change in time zones and postal codes, am trying to make this huge city called Madrid, a place to call home.

Madrid, Spain's headiest city, where the revelling lasts long into the night and life is seized with the teeth and both hands. Strangers quickly become friends, passion blooms in an instant, and visitors are swiftly addicted to the city's charms, and were just getting started. My first couple of days here were spent attempting to solve the mystery of the Madrid Metro Lines. After a week, i can safely get from where i live to my office without having to take a look at the map. Having spent alot of my time in India, the closest i can compare it to are the Mumbai local trains, just that the ones in Madrid are less crowded, alot cleaner, work underground and dont have people trusting their lives with a metal bar, whilst they enjoy the pleasure of the wind in their face outside the train.Work has been nothing short of an eye opener. Moving to a big city after spending the better half of the past couple of years on the God foresaken Canary Islands, which are an hours swim from the coast of un heard of civilisations of Africa, you begin to contemplate over the identity of those islands, and if theyre actually on the same planet.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers claims that their people are their biggest assets, and thats exactly wat u first realise here. At 8 in the evening, an hour past the time we go home, I am surrounded by people all atleast 5 years older, half of whom do not understand english, but are experts at wat they do. Apart from the people, ive discovered this mother of all intranets called the knowledge curve, which practically has anything ur looking out for with regards to financial services and consulting. there is so much of info, that i spent one whole day, just getting lost in the network. Its got the works, from company`s financial reports to harvard business reviews. The work culture at PwC something ive always wanted to experience. Everyday, when i walk into office, I see professionalism and excellence being personified by the members of the firm.

When i got here, i had no place to stay, so i parked myself at a family friend`s place. This 60 odd year old gentleman of Jew origin was kind enough to let me stay at his place for a few days. He is the first character to intrigue me in this city. The dude manufactured leather jackets from some city in Uttar Pradesh i hadnt ever heard of, and made a living of selling those accross Spain. He served me Supper (read: dinner) every night which included a salad and this huge plate of french fries! Trust me, its the best supper ive had so far in Madrid. Anyways, ive found myself a place now and i live in a neighbourhood which is a 5 mins away from the city centre and 15 mins from work. Its a Duplex, wooden flooring, my room is wall to wall carpeted, i dont have a flat mate now, so am all alone! but wat i love abt the place is that at the end of the day, its a place i can go and feel at home. So just for the records, my new add is :
Mohit ChandiramaniCalle De Tarragona, 16,
6-D,28045- Madrid.Tel: 0034 695460160.

My first weekend in Madrid lived upto its expectations. Went to see the Madrid-Barca game. being a Barca fan, i wasnt the most popular guy at the bar. but yeah, had a really nice time, went clubbing and got home at 4. Sunday, was spent running errands- supermarket, laundry, cleaning. etc etc etc :(Anyways thats been my first week here. Theres alot more to tell, alot of interesting ppl met, alot of stories to narrate, but i guess ill save it for another time.



Thursday, April 12, 2007

In the middle of connections

Swift flies the time... I have already begun counting down my last days in Belgium. Early as it might sound, I would like to take a retrospect at my past nine months.

The truth behind the curtain
When still being a member, I was always wondering why & how companies view and support AIESEC. The first one to unveil the mask is Keith Bell, whom I believe that most of the AIESEC alumni have met in ICs. Initiated in 1972's, this connection is even senior to me. From bud to blossom, this relationship has been blessed with many a person's belief in and advocacy for AIESEC throughout these years. Since the first day I joined PwC, I got continuous encouragement from the top-notch people in the firm - Karel, Rich and Paul, etc. A partnership won't be successful like this without the blue-ribbon's genuine support and the identical core values of PwC and AIESEC. That's why I'm proud of my role now - managing extensive connections with AIESEC International, 4 regions (Africa, CEE, Middle East and South Africa) and at least 50 countries. Not until the last Global Coordinator meeting when Segala sighed "PwC is everywhere" did I realize this partnership was like a "marriage" already...

My boss
Even though Karel doesn't prefer my calling him as boss, I still feel pretty comfortable with this title. I still remember the first time I met him, I said to myself "oh, he is the very man who talks about AIESEC in the famous IC 04 Germany video." (At that moment, I had the feeling that a typical Asian gal meets a movie star.) With so many hats on his head - Global Information Leader, the Belgian firm partner, the Leader for Responsible Leadership (Belgium) and the Global AIESEC Champion (and probably many others I might not know), he handles all these acrobatics like a slam dunk. Among all the things learnt from him, high-efficiency, "down-to-earth" and a prudently analytic mind is the most cherishable assets, which largely cured my post AIESEC leadership syndrome. At the same time, he is also a "family guy" (not the American cartoon for sure). The first thing he did when he landed in Egypt for IPM was to call his wife and he always talks about his kids when we share personal lives...

Building connections that matter
Go to my Inbox, you will find out the emails from Bahrain, Jordan, Kenya, Central American South, Ireland, Canada, Singapore and India, etc.. It's a "bona fida" global role which grants me the chance to have true conversation with different people from various cultures. On top of diversity, significance of this connection also impresses me a lot... Tarek, the CEO of the PwC Egyptian firm, extended the IPM invitation to all the partners and encouraged their participation and I did find the excitement from my Egyptian colleagues. Mariano, the HC partner of PwC Italian firm, is the invisible supporters: we only met up for five hours in person, however, I keep on hearing from Matteo (MC Italy) that PwC was going to launch some new item in the partnership throughout the year. On the AIESEC side, I'm constantly exposed to the proposal, suggestion and gratitude from many local chapters, which leads me have faith in the impact the partnerships exert in AIESEC network. Last but not least, my friend list has increased triply - who else are in my MSN list now? AIESEC-PwC alumni (who always give me advice and help when needed), trainees (who share the same wonderful experience with me at PwC) and other Global Coordinators - DHL, UBS, InBev, Microsoft, etc..(who share the same happiness, frustration & biz travels with me).

Belgium, a nice country to live in
It is actually the first foreign country I stay over six months after being a grown-up. Not boasting the French pride and the Dutch thrifty, the Belgian people don't necessarily have a strong national identity... If you want to argue something negative about Belgium, they might be the first one to agree with you. However, a group of diverse people are thriving in this carefree countryland. Most of the AIESEC trainees in Belgium are amazed by the hospitality and friendliness of the Belgian AIESECers and people here. As a trainee, I have enjoyed very well a trainee's right - understanding the culture, having group trips across the country, connecting with trainees of all different nationalities and tasting the decent Belgian lifestyle. Every morning, when I see the EU commission building next to my home, I would appreicate once more my traineeship in such a lovely country with those lovely friends.

The story goes on
While Norica's spam of "the story goes on"was still like yesterday in my mind, I'm going to have my own successor soon! No matter who it will be, I believe, this connection will go from strength to strength! I myself is moving to London, joining Charles Macleod's recruitment team in the UK firm, although I will still be back in Belgium quite often for my friends - Pedro, Chin, Norica, etc. and my boyfriend. Cannot wait for the new bud's flourishing~

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Not a normal day…

It was February 15th and all started at 6:00 am, while most of people were “waking up”, I was getting ready for a Not normal day… a day when dreams, work and fun merged together to be a unforgettable experience.

I arrived to Malpensa airport, and got a plane to a mysterious and really interesting destination, Egypt, as somebody said, “…all of us, has on mind the name of Egypt, the pyramids, the Nile, and millenary culture from when we were children…” and it is true, in my case, I was landing to a country full of this magic that can let us live more about a new culture, but it was not a simple tourism trip, I was proud to attend the AIESEC “International President’s Meeting – 2007” as a part of the PwC Delegation, composed of Karel, Mengting, the Global Coordinator, and Veronica from PwC Italy.

The first part of PwC involvement is AIESEC Symposium. It is an event to talk about “how to activate and develop the Middle Eastern Talent”.

The Symposium and the Partner Dinner were held on the “Intercontinental City-stars”, one of the most luxurious five stars hotels in Cairo. It was a pleasure to get to know Tarek Mansour, TSP from PwC in Egypt and Andrew Marritt from UBS Switzerland, Patricia from The Netherlands, and so many people from the Middle East region, who from now on, are part of the Middle East and North Africa Growth Network “MENA-GN”. It was an amazing opportunity to interact with them and get to know the reality on this region, full of history, cultural heritage as well as challenges to be solved.

On Friday morning, as Egypt is a Muslim country, you can hear their prays all the day, since their weekend starts on Friday, so, weekend went really nice, walking around Cairo streets, mosques, markets and delicious food! We were living the culture!

The Opening was gorgeous, held on a Palace built on 1864. Typical dances - the AIDA was also part of it. All of them perfectly performed with most of the Old Egyptian musical instruments. It was just amazing to be there!

Global village, with delegations from more than 95 countries, was full of color, sweets and sweeties from every part of the AIESEC World as well as the PwC Delegation.

The conference, hosted in the Pamala resort hotel off the Red Sea, was completely astonishing - the opening, the roll calls, all came to my mind like if it was yesterday and I just joined and lived the conference like a normal delegate.

The AIESEC International Team 0708, was elected at IPM, the speeches, the special events discussing about interesting topics, world issues, showing us the beautiful minds of who were applying to President of AIESEC International.

Mengting, introduced and presented the PwC Scholarship to the global plenary. We were having country Meetings during lunches and dinners, enjoying sometimes the “Shisha” (also known as Narghila). Also, together with Mengting, Marcelo (from UBS), I got some time to get to Giza, the pyramids are just incredible, to have this kind of archeological heritage.

We accomplished all the main objectives and also, we had a lot of FUN, refreshing previous experiences on IPM, joining the Roll Calls, regional parties (we missed the AP Party, “Global Legislation” rules!), and like this, 10 days of conference, enjoying AIESEC Culture, all of them were not a normal day, unforgettable experience in Egypt!

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Monday, February 19, 2007

First post from the headquarters!

Inspired by Andreea but a bite late though: Happy 2007 to you all!

Well, at least in my case I have no doubts that this is going to be a fantastic year, both personally and professionally - together with the start of the new year I've started a new career and a new life, in a new city, new country, new people around me... almost everything is new, except for the company and department that I work for!

Explaining this better by detailing what happened in the previous year: I joined PwC and the Data Quality group in November/2005 for a 12-month internship based in the Brussels office, with Andreea coming from Romania and teaming up in December. Needless to repeat her words posted below: 2006 was an year packed of great experiences within PwC and AIESEC. The opportunity to work in a global-wide team spread around the world was really interesting, specially the part of being coached from America by our US-based managers (Tim in New York and Sanjay in Washington). We also had the extraordinary opportunity to travel to the US and London, meet our Global Information colleagues in person and get to know the headquarters of our company (and of course, check out these great cities as well!). It was also my first year with AIESEC, I had lots of fun and made very good friends that I really miss and hope to see again, soon!

But the highest point of my 2006 was in October, when I signed my permanent contract to continue working for PwC and GI, this time together with Tim and Dave in New York City! It has always been my ultimate objective since I joined AIESEC in Brazil in April/2004 - to get a permanent job abroad after the internship. It was indeed one of the happiest moments of my life, since I combined the realization of this objective with another one I also had: to live in this amazing city!

It's been already one month since I started living and working here and I'm still very excited about it. As I said in the beginning, it's a whole new life for me in this year that begins. The company and the department didn't change, but the challenges I'll be facing certainly did and I'm really looking forward to assuming these new responsibilities. It's a career that just starts, and this feels really good and motivating!

I really can't stop saying "thanks" to Tim, Neil, Jan, Karel and all GI colleagues that made this fantastic opportunity possible. And of course, I'm also very thankful to AIESEC: not only for all the fun and great friends I've made, but also for your great work in keeping and continuously improving the partnership with PwC - I'm here in New York now writing this as a result of this dedicated work. Karel, Norica, Crystal: good job and thank you so much!

Andreea already posted some nice pictures of us in the NY office (gosh, can't believe I didn't cut my hair before meeting Sanjay and Tim for the first time!), but here go two new ones, including this one of the area where the office is (Midtown Manhattan) as seen from the Empire State Building at night. Can you see the red arrow marking my window on the 34th floor? So, next time I'll be posting some photos of the view I have from there everyday !

Till next post!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Winter Conference in Copenhagen

1 - 4 February 2007

It's a pleasure to be invited to the Winter Conference held in Copenhagen. Also an opportunity to travel around Europe, and it's great to be travelling with fellow PwC trainees too :D

On the first night, we clashed into the MCP (Member Committee President) Election, and it was definitely a stressful moment to be bombarded with questions from over 50 members spreaded among the 6 LCs (Local Committees).

Great to be back to AIESEC conference again, after such long times ago...good place to revive my youth and energies from the younger generations... ;D

On the second day, competencies & skills workshops were organized during the conference. Christian Østergaard and Maria Addis (both HR Consultant) from PwC Denmark were invited to give a presentation and conduct a workshop for the delegates.

L>R: Agustin, Christian, Crystal, me ;D Maria

Of course, we won't forget to tour around Copenhagen... Copenhagen is a neat and tidy habour city, surrounded by the rivers and sea, thus a boat trip is the best way to tour around the city...the Opera House & the pretty Little Mermaid :D

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Thank you all!

Happy 2007 to you all!

This past weeks have been for me a period of reflection as I've been looking back at the year spent in Belgium working as an Aiesec intern with PwC's Global Information.

I remember the time when I decided to become an SN back in December 04; much of my desire to get a traineeship derived from the inspiration I got from 3 wonderful trainees who are dear friends of mine: Adriana, Bruno, and Misao and from my own strong feeling that I needed to see a bigger picture and put myself to another test to see what I'm made of.

Matching was an adventure in itself and at times the destination seemed elusive, but I was relentlessly pushing forward with the help of those who believed in me and the final news from Norica gave a real meaning to all that adventure. The moment I was accepted I remembered that actually PwC was one of those very few companies I really wanted to work for ever since the beginning of my traineeship search. During the interview Sanjay and Neil were probably pleased to hear that one of my reasons to work for PwC was the reputation I knew it had and also the respect I had for it, and after this traineeship I can still say the same thing.

It’s been one whole year during which I’ve been offered learning experiences beyond my expectations, I’ve met and worked with people who still serve as inspiration for me, I enjoyed the friendship of some fine trainees, I had the chance to travel.
I can look back at this experience and feel happy for one very well spent year, for the satisfaction I got out of my work, for all the support and recognition I have received from those I’ve worked with and for all the friendship.

Karel, Tim, Neil and Sanjay, thank you for this wonderful chance, thank you for both the guidance and the freedom you’ve given me to do my work and thank you for making me feel a valuable member of GI.
Norica, I want to thank you for always being there for me and for all the friendship, kindness and support.
Eduardo, thank you for all your friendship and work. Thank you to all the PwC trainees for making this experience so much more interesting.

It’s been truly worthwhile and I will treasure this experience; the valuable lessons I have learned during last year will surely be used in this new stage of my life.

Thank you for a unique experience!

PS: unfortunately I don't have any pics from the UK office