DARE TO DREAM
Consulting is a tough profession to beat, for those wanting to make a difference in the business world. For Karishma, this passion for transformation has taken her from India to Germany, and most recently to the Gulf region. “I feel that every project we do, no matter in which country, makes a visible impact to the company, to its employees and to the greater community as a whole,” she says. “That’s a real motivation for me,” she adds. Each step of Karishma’s journey blends bold moves and meticulous planning. Two features that also shape her approach to consulting work.
These days, located in the United Arab Emirates, one of the most dynamic places in the world, Karishma is supporting a family-owned conglomerate realize a digital transformation project. “I can’t give away many details, but it’s exciting work and will make a huge difference to people living and working in GCC countries,” she says. “The impact of this project will last a few hundred years and have a substantial bearing on the region’s development. What could be more gratifying than that?” she asks.
The impact of this project will last a few hundred years and have a substantial bearing on the region’s development. What could be more gratifying than that?
Working in digital keeps everyone on their toes, and that’s just as true for consultants working in the Gulf region as in other parts of the world. The local Siemens Advanta Consulting team in the UAE is still relatively small, but it’s ramping up fast. “It’s a great team. We’re coming up with unique solutions, thinking out of the box, pushing boundaries to help clients evolve and make better use of their digital capabilities and possibilities. We dare to dream,” Karishma says about her present work environment.
“There’s a drive, intellectual curiosity and passion that’s tangible and it’s incredibly international,” she says. Having grown up in India, Germany and the UK, she feels right at home in this cultural mixing pot. “When you live in many places and travel a lot, you don’t see things in black and white, right and wrong. Things are just done differently,” says Karishma. This striving to keep learning and to grow, even when the transformation is hard and takes you out of your comfort zone, is a hallmark of the team – and of Karishma. She didn’t start out with the dream of becoming a consultant. Instead, she had her eyes set on the challenging chartered accounting badge.
AN ACCOUNTANT GOES DIGITAL
Guaranteeing a solid financial foundation, chartered accounting has long been a coveted qualification and training ground for aspiring business leaders in many parts of the world. It’s demanding, rigorous and sets most candidates up for a safe, steady career in finance. It left Karishma feeling unfulfilled. There was a spark, a desire to make change happen, that wasn’t being fanned. She clarifies her professional about-turn so: “An auditor’s job is to check, to make sure everything’s in order. It’s a crucial role, but I wanted to create the end result, not just verify it.”
Karishma realized that her talent for problem solving, seeing the big picture and interacting confidently with executives could be better directed elsewhere. Her suitability for corporate consulting was quickly apparent on an internship at Siemens Advanta Consulting. Once that was over, she didn’t hesitate to accept the direct offer to join as a consultant. “I knew immediately I’d made the right decision, both in switching to consulting and joining Siemens,” Karishma says, explaining: “From day one, even as an intern, I interacted independently with clients and was given the responsibility and freedom to develop a thought process suitable for advisory work.”
I’ve been really impressed by the positive ethos and culture at Siemens Advanta Consulting. There’s a desire to succeed, not just as an individual, but as a team.
COLLABORATIVE WORK CULTURE
This approach of giving real responsibility from the get-go is founded on a supportive work environment at Siemens Advanta Consulting. “I’ve been really impressed by the positive ethos and culture. There’s a desire to succeed, not just as an individual, but as a team,” Karishma says. That sincere encouragement is especially important when working in consulting. Not every project is easy. Some days are taxing.
Some client conversations are hard. “My colleagues are ambitious people, who are work-driven and thirsty to learn. But when I come back to the office or we meet up somewhere else, it’s like coming home. I know I’m in a safe haven,”
TENACITY AND BOLD THINKING ON AND OFF THE TEE
What also brings Karishma peace of mind is playing golf. In Abu Dhabi, with courses carved along the coastline and desert, she’s spoiled for choice. Golf seems a simple enough game. But watch it play out, and it’s clear that execution is harder than it looks. The similarity to large consulting projects, in this respect, is impossible to miss. “It’s a sport that plays to my strengths,” says Karishma. “Golf requires a lot of practice and discipline. To improve you have to put in the ground work, make sure you’ve got the basics right,” she says.
At times golf demands creativity and improvisation, too. “It helps me get into an expansive frame of mind. I can see how seemingly unrelated things are connected,” Karishma says. “Focusing on calculating distances, windspeeds and other metrics calms me down. And then the magic happens. I see different possibilities and challenges untangle themselves.” On and off the tee, Karishma makes her mark on the world with tenacity and bold thinking. She’s found her true calling.
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