"Training and mentoring are important elements of life at Capco."

Joined Capco: 2017
Role: Innovation Labs Lead
Professional skills: Product Management Customer research Prototyping and testing
Interests: Music production, building high-performing teams and successful products

I grew up in a north London African-Indian family that prepared me for life as a scientist. Before I joined Capco I studied for a PhD in condensed matter physics at UCL - I love peering into things to see how they work and there is nothing more fundamental than investigating the fabric of the universe!

After eight years as a physicist, I wanted a dive into a new topic, one that would help me in my personal life yet allow me to contribute to changing the lives of others. Capco provided the opportunity to upskill in financial services and build products and services that the average consumer would use in their everyday lives.

I was in touch with UCL alumni who were working at Capco and met some of the other PhD recruits through them. My impression was that Capco was a place where I could be myself and where my experiences and outlook would be harnessed and valued. I’m not a corporate person by any stretch and I felt that Capco understood the balance of being relatable to our clients while as an employee not feeling pressured to behave or dress in a certain way. The office’s location in Shoreditch certainly didn’t hurt either.

When I joined the company, the initial idea was that I would train to be a solutions architect given my technical background. However, the projects to which I was assigned were primarily focused on new proposition design and development. It was here I gained an appreciation and passion for a human-centric approach to solving the problems facing our clients and their customers. Training and mentoring are important elements of life at Capco, and my coach was instrumental in helping me develop the confidence to forge my own path and to follow my passion despite this deviation from my intended path.

The year and a half I spent at a leading UK card scheme was critical to my initial ‘onboarding’ into the world of financial services. I was so fortunate to be able to observe and interact with all the players in the payments ecosystem, and to really experience the leading edge of innovation in banking and payments. It was also where I gained daily exposure to key methodologies such as agile, design thinking and product development.

Whilst working at one of the leading UK card schemes, I was part of the team tasked with writing a proposal for a contract renewal with their second biggest client. It was worth over £700 million net in enterprise revenue.

This project was a classic example of needing to define a proposal at speed – in just a month, over the Christmas holidays no less – drawing upon the input of multiple parts of the organisation. Capco’s input was not only to project manage but, given we were closest to the content, to also write key aspects of the proposal and define the narrative to take into the pitch.

I’m pleased to say we won the contract and our client kept us on to do the same for further big contracts. We delivered successfully because each member of the team understood their role and one another’s strengths so acutely. We were a team working on trust, and that is a key lesson I brought to the Lab – the foundational role of trust in building high-performing teams. I’d like to think that the way of working and the culture within my team can serve as a north star for how such teams can be grown and nurtured. A non-hierarchical team structure is key, as is ensuring that diversity of thought and experience is valued and nurtured. The Lab is a place where each team member should feel empowered to challenge and take risks and build the confidence – and to take that mentality out to our clients.

As well as my day-to-day responsibilities setting up operating models and processes, my role as Innovation Labs Lead involves engaging with Capco’s leadership community to explore their ideas and help them articulate how their problems might be solved by my team. For example, our latest projects have involved developing user experiences for a life insurance tool and designing a leading-edge experience for a mobile savings proposition.

I am extremely passionate about all aspects of music, from creating it to experiencing it live - although nothing beats the feeling of making music with others. I sing and play a few different instruments and during lockdown I have been producing electronic music in my down time. I’d love to release my first EP by the end of the year! Hiking, cycling and being outdoors help to ground me and give me perspective on my life, reminding me of my privilege in doing this job and living the life that I have.