It involves something you’ve always done as a student.

“The day you stop learning, you might as well not breathe!” says Shankar Kanabiran during our interview where he shares his experience and tips for young graduates who would like to follow his career footsteps.

As EY’s Financial Services Organisation (FSO) Advisory Leader, Shankar serves clients within the banking, insurance and capital markets industry, coaches and mentors his team to develop skills that are relevant as well as builds market presence for the company by attending industry forums, writing articles and giving interview (like this!) to share his knowledge and experience.

Having started in Accenture as a technology analyst where his first client was a bank, you could say that the early years’ experience has served Shankar well in his current role. Now, with more than 20 years experience, Shankar says that he’s been exposed to the industry on different levels.

“The early years gave me a good grounding in the nuts and bolts of technology, specifically in the banking industry. In the later years, I began focusing on large scale transformation both in IT and business programmes. Essentially, we help our clients transform their business through implementation of new systems, processes and organisation structure,” shares Shankar.

I had a mentor that once told me that the day you walk into client environment and you don’t get sweaty palms, it’s time to find a new role.

Being in Accenture for over 16 years and then in Malaysia Petroleum Resources Corporation (MPRC) not only influenced his working style but also exposed him to two different work environments – the former, a firm well known for its technology consulting practice on large scale projects and the latter, the opportunity to see the inner workings of the government.

Hence his view on learning: “You never stop learning. Always challenge and push yourself out of your comfort zone. I had a mentor that once told me that the day you walk into client environment and you don’t get sweaty palms, it’s time to find a new role,” says Shankar.

Following this, Shankar is a big advocate of coaching and mentoring the young talent that work with him. “Coaching and mentoring is the key in nurturing talent. We need to ensure we provide a platform for our people to continuously learn and improve themselves. In addition, coaching and mentoring are also equally important to ensure the people you work with know that you are there when they need advice and guidance,” shares Shankar.

Aside from learning, Shankar believes that resilience and focus are important to a young talent. “In your career, you will face challenges. However, being resilient and focused will ensure that you will come out stronger. Never give up and always believe in your capabilities whilst keeping an open mind to improve on your weaknesses,” he says.

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