My CCAP Experience: Alokik Pandey

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– Alokik Pandey, CCAP Batch V
CRISIL – Ratings

To the layman, CRISIL is synonymous with Ratings and CCAP’s association with CRISIL Ratings, which began in its Second Batch, has been immensely exciting. Today, CCAPians form an integral part of the Analytical teams in all divisions of the Ratings business,from Corporate & Infrastructure Ratings to Financial Sector Ratings, Structured Finance Ratings, Criteria & Product Development and Bank Loan Ratings.

For the uninitiated, let me provide you with a sneak peek into CCAP@CRISIL Ratings. CCAP is a rigorous programme where the rigour is directly proportional to time, unless you master the Japanese art of ‘Just in Time’ like many CCAPians do! CRISIL Ratings tosses many challenges your way throughout the day and round the year. People who plan to join this business need to pull up their socks for the roller-coaster ride.

At CRISIL Ratings, the work load will be humongous, but it is also directly related to your initiative and ability to demonstrate your potential. Not only do the managers give plenty of opportunity to CCAPians, most teammates also look up to CCAPians for delivering results during crunch time. This relationship is not unidirectional; every team member helps the other in every way possible by sparing time from their hectic schedules and taxing deadlines.

Within CRISIL Ratings, you can expect to undertake a wide variety of roles within one day. From filing for regulatory audits to punching the data from annual reports into Excel sheets, preparing analytical reports, approaching rating committee with rating recommendation and calling high-profile clients; it’s all in a day’s work. I do not say that CCAPians in this business have some special quality, but to paraphrase Sumantra Ghoshal, ‘the smell of the place’ keeps you on your toes at all times.

When I look back on the two years that have passed since I was introduced to my team in financial sector ratings, the journey has been extremely fulfilling. I could not have asked for more. The kind of learning curve that I have had here is unbelievable. From banks to MFIs, NBFCs to HFCs, capital market entities to insurance companies (my favourite!) the diversity in the sector was something the appealed to me from day one. Also, the passion and commitment my team mates bring to their work every day is inspiring.

At the beginning, I spent my days at a desk getting access approvals and reading criteria notes, bored to the hilt. My phone rang and a known extension number appeared on the caller ID. It was my manager, whose desk I was occupying while he was on vacation to Kashmir. He said, “There are sweets at my desk; come and have some.” (An unwritten rule here is that you have to get sweets for team-members whenever you go on a vacation.) After an informal introduction, he asked, “What understanding do you have of banks?” When I stood mutely, he smiled and said, “Google some of the latest developments on the list of small private sector banks I am mailing you. We are going to a committee with the portfolio, followed by a public release”. I pulled out the latest information and updates on those banks. In the following week, I went back to my home town for some work. When I returned to Mumbai, I saw a mail in my inbox from my director, praising the team for an excellent showing, followed by congratulatory mails from other senior directors. To my surprise, my manager called me to his desk and said, “We had no granular understanding on these banks except for broad financials and a general understanding of the sector. Thank you! Your updates were very useful.” That incident made me sure of one thing: whatever I do will never go unnoticed in this organisation.

In addition to the hard work, the classroom sessions were fun too. We call the NITIE campus ‘God’s own campus’, because it is lush, serene and surrounded by two lakes. The days at NITIE always came as bliss after a hectic week at work. Fridays and Saturdays were full of engaging lectures by faculty drawn from the best B-schools and industry. The teaching pedagogy was extremely engaging, with discussions, role plays, quizzes and assignments. And the rest of the days were spent chatting with buddies and playing football after the classes at NITIE’s football ground.

Some people may boast of being a product of a premier B-School; others feel proud of working with a top-branded employer. But me? I have the best of both worlds.


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