Krishna Bahadur Adhikari is the CEO of Nepal Bank Limited. In his career spanning over 25 years, he has worked in sectors including education, publication and banking. After joining Nepal Bank Limited in November 2004 as Assistant Manager, Adhikari has held different roles and responsibilities in the bank climbing the corporate ladder to become CEO in March 2019. The HRM talked to Adhikari about his first job, the lesson he learned during the first job, and his advices to banking job aspirants. Excerpts:
What was your first job? How did you enter the job?
I worked as a teacher for two years. I started my first job at the age of 19. While visiting my village from Kathmandu for winter vacation after completing the first year of my bachelor’s program at the Shanker Dev Campus, I heard about an opening for a teaching position at a high school where I had attended from grade 4-7. I applied for the post and got accepted.
Was it easy or difficult for you to get the first job during that time?
It was not too difficult to get the job as there were not many people applying for the post back then. My academic credentials and my ties with the school as its former student provided an advantage in securing the job.
What were the major challenges you faced during your first job?
I was the youngest among the school staff and some of my students were older than me. Hence, I felt a bit out of place and was not too certain about how to deal with the older students.
What was your educational background? Did you enter the same sector/field that matched your study/degree? Or the first job you did was different from your degree?
I was pursuing B.Com and aimed to enter the banking sector. So, teaching was not exactly the profession that I was looking to join. However, I ended up taking on the job due to my family circumstances and the vacancy at the high school in my village. Nevertheless, it did match with my education to some extent as I became a teacher of Economics in the school.
What were the major lessons learned during your first job?
As I started my job during the second year of my bachelor’s program, I was not able to attend any college classes. So, I had to study by myself while working to become a better teacher. Fulfilling these responsibilities simultaneously taught me the importance of hard work and diligence. Therefore, I learned that anything is possible when you work on it with sheer determination and passion.
What were your major achievements in your first job?
I got a platform to put forth my ideas to a bigger mass and this helped me build my confidence. Moreover, it instilled a habit to work hard and take any responsibility passionately.
What is your advice to aspiring youths planning to enter the job market?
First, I would suggest the youths to grab any opportunities that they may get along their way as this may become a stepping stone to bigger opportunities. Moreover, they need to have patience and put in hard work and diligence. And, give your 100 percent to any responsibility you take on.
The banking sector is one of the most sought after by young college graduates. What are the major preparations one needs to do while entering the banking sector?
To become a successful banker, one needs to have proper knowledge about the economy and the financial system of the country. As this sector requires one to work with other people’s money, the professionals should pose a high level of financial discipline. In addition, aspiring professionals should be skillful in coordinating multiple stakeholders.
How good is the Nepali banking sector in terms of employment, salary and perks? How receptive is the banking sector to young professionals planning to enter banks and financial institutions (BFIs)?
Nepali banking sector offers many opportunities for young graduates who are planning to join BFIs. There are many sub-fields that they could be a part of. The perks and compensation packages offered to BFI employees are quite lucrative compared to other professions. To name a few, there are bonuses, frequent training programs to harness professional skills, outreach programs to provide their exposure, time-offs (while having the job secured), provident funds, lower interest rates for employees, et cetera. Alongside, the banking sector is quite receptive with many openings every year.
How do you think the work environment and culture have changed in Nepal from the time you got your first job? Is it easier for those entering the job market who have mentors and a structured environment to work in compared to past days?
The industry has become more competitive with access to more information and more people applying for jobs. This has allowed for efficiency as we have specialized people in each sub-field. Moreover, automated and digital systems have overtaken the manual systems prevalent in the past days. Hence, the workforce is more efficient, innovative, collaborative, organized and receptive to problems these days. Yes, it is easier to work with young professionals who have mentors and a structured environment as they are more aware of the skills needed in this sector and responsibilities associated with the jobs.