ASB Graduate Diaries: Sohail Kashkari

19 March 2018 / Published in News & Stories

This is the latest entry in our Graduate Diaries series, highlighting some of the talented ASB Future Me graduates as they share their experiences progressing through the programme. 

As a graduate at ASB, you get opportunities to take on big challenges. Taking on audacious challenges and goals forces you to challenge your paradigms of thinking. You cannot make iterations; you are forced to innovate new approaches and ways of thinking. 

Since starting as an ASB Future Me graduate in Business Banking, some of the challenges I have been lucky to be able to take up include;

  • Researching and presenting on potential new strategic directions 
  • Presenting on the evolution and geographical breakdown of the payments landscape
  • Mentoring on innovation and rapid idea development on behalf of ASB at the Foodstuffs Hackfest
  • Analysing and presenting on the risks of customers in a dynamic regulatory environment.

The top five learnings I have had to make in order to overcome these challenges have been to: 

  1. Continuously dig deeper; using your analytical problem solving skills to look beyond symptoms.  It is important to ask; what is the root cause or driver of these problems? Are we focusing on a symptom of the problem, or the actual underlying cause of the problem itself?
  2. Up my Emotional Intelligence (EQ); to approach problems with different perspectives and from different points of view. How would the other people involved in this scenario perceive this problem? Is it even a problem to them? Listen - what can you learn from these people and perspectives in order to gain a better holistic understanding of the problem. As a mentor once said to me: “How can you collaboratively re-engage these people in a way that resonates with them in order to gain the change that you are trying to achieve?”
  3. Use mentors. Who has already done this successfully before, and how did they do it? It was so important to build meaningful relationships with people, and to know the right person to ask questions to - or at least know who to ask who the right person is! As well as knowing yourself, your own strengths, weaknesses and limits so that you know when to ask for clarification, and when to persist.
  4. Read comprehensively, take initiative and self-learn. We live in an information-rich age, and there is significant value to be had if you are willing to read it.
  5. Cross pollinate ideas; what similar problem dynamic has been solved in a different area and what learnings can be pulled over to the problem at hand? Whilst mentoring at the Foodstuffs Hackfest the point was raised; not how can we innovate like our competitors, but what are our innovative competitor’s weak points, and how may we innovate beyond them?

So put your hand up for a challenge! I believe to put your hand up for a challenge is to put your hand up for growth. I still have a lot to learn and greatly look forward to the rest of my time as a graduate, but feel optimistic whilst reflecting on how far I have come. 

Applications for our 2019 ASB Future Me programme are now open. Find out which areas we are recruiting for this year. 



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