Viraj Mehta on his first two and a half years at Varrlyn

11 April 2024 Consultancy.eu 5 min. read
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In the two and a half years at Varrlyn, Viraj Mehta has worked on projects with some of the top financial sector players in the Netherlands. Speaking to Consultancy.org, he explains the personal and professional growth he has enjoyed along the way.

Having obtained a Bachelor of Engineering in Information Technology from the University of Mumbai, Viraj Mehta immediately kickstarted his career in the financial services sector. Taking up a role with BNP Paribas in Mumbai, he spent five years as a Business Analyst and Technology Engineer – before deciding the time was right for a career change.

Viraj recalls, “Two and a half Exactly two years ago, I found myself at Mumbai airport, bags packed, brimming with excitement, nervousness, and anticipation for the next phase of my career. I must admit, a few tears accompanied the mix of emotions.”

Viraj Mehta on his first two and a half years at Varrlyn

Leaving a long-term job always brings with it mixed emotions, and concerns of future security – but doing so as part of an intercontinental relocation adds an extra layer of concern. Fortunately, Viraj asserts that his time transitioning to life in Amsterdam, where Varrlyn is based, has been “nothing short of ‘gezellig’” – a unique Dutch term which roughly translates as ‘cosy’.

The two and a half years he has spent with Varrlyn – during which time he has also been working consistently at client APG – has seen him benefit from the support of not one, but two sets of managerial support. Explaining that APG has been a “hub of growth”, he adds that “the additional support from Varrlyn has been instrumental in shaping my success and fostering consistent development.”

APG is a pension provider that provides the pensions on behalf of several Dutch pension funds. The company manages more than €580 billion of assets and the pensions for more than 4.8 million people.

One of its trusted partners, Varrlyn is helping APG with a transformation encompassing several key areas within its technology infrastructure and operations.

“In brief, the comprehensive transformation at APG not only addresses legacy issues but strategically positions the organisation for sustained success. The personalised platforms, global unification, streamlined operations, and enhanced connectivity collectively contribute to a more agile, compliant, and growth-oriented future for the company.”

Old and new skills

Viraj’s previous experience has ideally positioned him to help APG on its transformation. Pointing to his six years in banking, he states that transitioning to consulting and now working with APG on the buy side has brought to light notable similarities in his professional experience. But there have also been key differences, which have provided him with an opportunity to learn new skills.

“Firstly, the shift from the sell side to the buy side has presented distinct challenges,” Viraj continues. “The nature of responsibilities on the buy side is markedly different, introducing a new set of complexities and considerations. Not only do I face an increased level of responsibility, but there is also a unique ownership of deliverables and their effects across the broader organisation.”

Viraj has also encountered a heightened set of expectations relating to his sectoral knowledge beyond those he was used to. While possessing a thorough and in-depth understanding of the entire domain is a common thread in both consulting and banking, he contends that “in the consulting realm, this expectation is amplified.”

“The need to grasp the intricacies of the entire landscape pushes me to continually learn and grow. This emphasis on comprehensive knowledge not only enhances my expertise but also allows for a more informed and strategic approach to problem-solving.”

Fortunately, Varrlyn works closely with its staff, fostering both personal and professional development throughout the project, providing invaluable support and opportunities for growth. Viraj cites a mentorship with a colleague as being particularly helpful – the colleague offering a “constant source of guidance”, and “support during challenging phases of the project” at APG.

Continuous growth and learning

At the same time, Varrlyn offers opportunities for continuous learning and development – consistently encouraging Viraj to expand his competence and skills. Through ongoing learning and development initiatives, he has been able to stay at the forefront of industry trends and advancements.

“Perhaps most crucially,” he notes, “Varrlyn and APG grant me the freedom to work autonomously and operate with a sense of ownership over my responsibilities. This level of trust not only empowers me to contribute effectively to the project but also fosters a sense of accountability that is conducive to professional growth. The supportive ecosystem they’ve created has not only facilitated project success but also played a pivotal role in shaping my growth as an individual and a professional.”

Looking ahead, Viraj believes that both he and Varrlyn will continue to grow, to help their clients meet whatever challenges lie in wait. For example, since his arrival at Varrlyn, he has seen the firm cater to the implementation of equities and exchange-listed derivatives with clients. “The firm is poised to extend this success by venturing into the implementation of fixed income, foreign exchange, money markets, and beyond.”

This strategic expansion reflects according to Viraj the firm’s commitment to “continuous improvement and an eagerness to tackle new challenges in the ever-evolving landscape of financial systems”.

He concludes, “In summary, my journey has been marked by adaptability, a commitment to a holistic understanding of systems, and successful implementations that contribute to the overall efficiency of our trading and operational processes.”