Entrepreneurial mindset is essential to create value for the service

Praveen Regmi is a well-known name in the field of fintech in Nepal. Starting as a Project Engineer in STM Telecom Sanchar in 2007, he has a comprehensive experience in digital banking and the electronic payment ecosystem. Regmi, who is currently the CEO of IME Digital Solution Limited, led the digital transactions transformation of NMB Bank and NIC Asia in the past. In a conversation with the HRM, he talked about his career growth, the experiences he earned throughout the years and his advice to young graduates for achieving success in digital finance. Excerpts: 

Tell us about your first job.
In October 2007, a few months after earning my bachelor’s degree, I embarked on the career journey as a Project Engineer at STM Telecom Sanchar. This role took me on an adventure to rural hilly areas of Eastern Nepal, where we were establishing satellite-based telephone service in areas without any existing electricity and phone infrastructure. It was an incredibly fulfilling and transformative experience, and I consider it a pivotal moment in my life, professionally and personally. It is because, from my first job, I was on a journey to transform the lives of people and society.

How did you get into the job?
After completing my Engineering program, I struggled to find a job for over eight months. I went to India for job opportunities, and even attempted to become a Police Officer, but failed. Finally, a senior referred me to the job at STM Telecom. This made me realize the importance of a strong referral in starting a career in Nepal.

How difficult or easy was it for you to get the job at that time?
To put it in simplest terms, it was the toughest time in my life to date. I believe that starting something is always tough. But once I caught on the flow, it has been a decent sail so far.

What challenges did you face after joining the job?
After stepping on the career path, one biggest challenges I had was completing my studies. I knew a Bachelor’s degree was not the end of my academic journey, so I enrolled for a Master’s degree at Purbanchal University (PU). My job nature, however, needed me to travel a lot. Continuing both my academic and professional journey seemed challenging at that moment.

Luckily, I met some great mentors at PU who recognized my drive and sincerity toward taking both journeys together. They showed some leniency in my attendance while I presented all assignments on time and par excellence.

What lessons did you learn from the first job? How did the experiences help in shaping your career?
During my first job, I embarked on exploration in Eastern Nepal mostly on foot/trekking mode. Our team had to collaborate with the American team for support. So, we had challenging overnight work sessions on the chilly hills and mountains of Nepal. These experiences made me feel more confident and focused.

I also relished the opportunity to learn about diverse cultures and individuals during that tenure. My unwavering dedication to the task at hand undoubtedly played a key role in shaping my profession, and I am always grateful for the experience.

What major achievements were there for you professionally and personally?
I faced significant transformations in both my professional and personal life during my tenure at that workplace. I was promoted to Project Manager within the first 10 months managing a team of nearly 70 people. I was also able to complete my MBA program alongside my work.

I also began my family life all while being in my first job. You can say, I had achieved more than I wished for all while being in my first job.

You are into the technology and digital financial service sector for the last 15 years. How do you observe the changes that have occurred in fintech in Nepal over these years?
The tech revolution began in Nepal about 15 years ago. The GPRS system, a crucial factor in transitioning to digital finance, was also introduced during this period. However, digital financing was not well-known and was referred to as IT. Over the past 6-7 years, digital banking has gained popularity, as IT transformed from a platform to a business enabler. All of these developments over the years have resulted in the digital payment transformation.

How do you see the scope of the field of digital finance from a career development point of view?
The realm of digital finance is exceedingly vast in today’s era. Unfortunately, in Nepal, there is no formal education pertaining to this field. Only a few individuals possess expertise in this domain. Hence, it is imperative to cultivate a sense of curiosity and learn independently. Furthermore, I have observed that digital finance will generate numerous job opportunities in the future.

What advice do you have for young graduates who seek to develop their careers in fintech?
If you’re thinking about venturing into fintech, my advice is simple: don’t hesitate, just dive in. This field is brimming with enormous opportunities that await you. There are already around 40 banks, 27 payment service companies, about 70 microfinance institutions, and a plethora of ancillary fintech companies that contribute to our financial ecosystem, trying to shift their business models to digital platforms. The potential for growth is staggering.

What’s more, digital finance is unique in that it transcends borders and geographic limitations. Unlike traditional retail or trade businesses, the standards and processes of digital finance are globally applicable. Once you’ve acquired the skills and knowledge, you can leverage them wherever you go. So, imagine the possibilities that lie ahead!

What factors do they need to be mindful of to achieve success in this field?
I believe one needs to be mindful of two crucial factors to achieve success in any field. Firstly, having an entrepreneurial mindset is essential to create value for the service you are providing. You are more accountable for getting the best result out of your job.
Secondly, the unwavering focus is the key. Knowing what you want and keeping your mind steadfastly set on your goals is vital for achieving success in any field.

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