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.

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~