“Which personality inspires you the most?”, “Whom do you consider your coach for a successful career?”. If these questions are asked to the Nepali youth, then most of their answers will be the same - Anil Keshary Shah. Not only the finance students or youth or the aspiring entrepreneurs, Anil Keshary Shah is the personality whom everyone admires oneself to be. Anil Keshary Shah needs no introduction at all. With over 30 years of experience in the banking field, Anil Keshary Shah holds the respectable designation of CEO in Nabil Bank from 2018.
Anil Keshary Shah is the powerhouse of consistent efforts and competencies. His words and efforts never conk out to inspire others to unleash their true potential. Let’s dig up more about Anil Keshary Shah and his “Success Mantra” here.
1. We all know you as a very successful banker but if you are to be asked by someone who completely doesn’t know you, how would you introduce yourself?
That’s a sort of complex question. What I think I will introduce myself is by saying that I’m Anil Shah and I am a person who believes in using core competencies and strengths to always strive towards happiness and that’s the journey of my life. I don’t want to be like anybody else but I want to be the best version of the person that I can be.
2. How important do you think or consider communication skills for overall professional success for any individual in any field?
There is a popular proverb in Nepali “Bolneyko Pitho Bikchha Nabolneyko Chaamal pani Bikdaina”. And this proverb befits the present scenario in today’s age because communication has become much more critical than ever before. The world is getting smaller due to communication. And digital and electronic media have been proven a boon for effective communication even in this pandemic time. Whether it’s individually, institutionally, or nationally, one should be able to communicate properly. They should be able to communicate their contribution towards their team, their ideas, and add value to them. Gone are the days of 9-5 jobs when people come to the office, do their tasks, and set off to their homes. That is not enough anymore now.
Even if one is a teller at a bank, one should have effective communication skills to cooperate with their customers, colleagues, and their superiors for better job performance. One of the individual or institutional successes is the ability to communicate and articulate what they are trying to do, about their reasons, mission, values, and the strategies to move forward. When any client or customer chooses the product or services of a certain company, they can make inquiries about the product or the company and those who can communicate well can only sustain their solid place in the market. Communication has always been important but nowadays, it has become a critical skill now. So regardless if you are a banker, doctor, engineer, bureaucrat or teacher, or whatever profession you have been grasping, you need to learn communication skills as early as possible.
3. Can you share with us the top 3 strengths of yours?
As I said earlier as my vision statement, I am a person who believes in utilizing core competencies in my quest for happiness. I think my first strength is my ability to strategize. I can garner loads of pieces of information and I put them together to formulate strategy under a way forward while lots of people can focus on a single piece of information and then use that information to the best of their abilities. I have found that one of my strengths is the ability to take a lot of information very fast, assimilate in my mind, and develop strategies for me individually, my team, institution, even for my sector going forward. So being able to do that is one of my core competencies and strengths.
I guess my second strength is motivation. If I have a strategy in my mind and I can do it, but alone I can’t reach the goals and I need my team. I need to be able to motivate the team that I am a part of. We must move forward together to make that strategy a reality. I can look into people's eyes and discern what it is that can motivate them and add much value as together we can move forward towards reaching the vision or mission collectively that we have.
And my third strength is communication. People tell me that I am very good at communication. I can take ideas and articulate them in a manner that everybody may understand. Whether they may be bankers or students or whomever I am trying to delegate the information to. Observing the audience, I can determine the pitch level so that the audience may be able to understand what I say and express. So, I conclude these are my top 3 strengths.
4. You seem to have a very consistent personality regarding your profession and social interactions too like in social media? What is your motivation behind your consistent enthusiasm and self-driven personality?
Regardless of what we do, our main objective is to be satisfied and happy. And that happiness comes from the unique happiness formula that each of us has that constitutes 5 ingredients: Family and Friends, Money and Economic Wealth, Health, Power and Status, and Greater good and God. And each of us requires different quantities of each of these ingredients to be happy. Some of us may want money, some of us may want power and status and some of us may want to spend enough time with family. So, if you try to follow my happiness formula, you will not be happy and the same goes for me. One should find out one’s formula by themself.
My happiness formula comes from being able to share the years of experience that I have got with the youth. Youth have the potential to bring immense and positive changes to the country. To build Nepal, we all have to work together with our collaborative ideas and efforts. I love to interact with the youth and share my experiences with them so that our younger or coming generation can have a head start from where I started in 30 years of my experience in work. If you can start and leap forth, then Nepal can grow dramatically in the coming 10 to 15 years. If I keep on hiding my knowledge, nothing will grow as knowledge is to be shared and ideas are to be generated. We do not always win and we lose sometimes despite hard work but lessons need to be learned.
How do we build heroes for our country? And the answer is obvious. With the youth of this country. I have seen many youths with many dreams taking responsibilities aside. I see Nepali youth as my fuel engine, as my fuel for my enthusiasm, fuel for going on forward. I envision brightness in Nepal as youth are the ultimate hope in our country. Our country will do more in the coming 20 years than it has done in 200 years, not because of my generation but because of the present younger and coming generation and that’s the fuel for enthusiasm and positivity.
5. What should be the current utmost priority of the Nepalese government according to you?
I think the short-term priority has to be survival through this pandemic. One of my Professors has said that if you survive the short-term, you can have a long-term vision. If we have a better vision but don’t survive now, we can’t implement the tasks. And dealing with the pandemic with enough vaccinations, ICU beds, and oxygen supplies are the main requirements in the current situation. I think the priority should be as per the Going Concern concept of Accounting. If we deal with the current pandemic properly, we will have less loss of lives and less painful scenarios. As a nation, Nepal may not disappear but more loss of lives means more suffering by the nation and it is determined how leaders co-ordinate. During the earthquake also, many lives were lost, many houses were crumbled, many monuments were devastated but we together rose again with the “Build Back Better” term. On the economic front also, we have to formulate our steps with that term. We need to believe in our costs, strengths, and competencies. We need to be the best version of Nepal.
And to do that I think our core competencies are tourism and infrastructures like hydropower, connectivity to mines, service industry, health sector, educational sector, and financial sector. We need to focus on those industries where we have our USP moving forward. We need to concentrate on using the demographic dividend that we should be getting from the youth population that Middle East countries take from Nepalese youth. Potential youth are working from day to night abroad and now we need to focus on obtaining that demographic dividend by targeting the core competencies of the country. And when we can “build back better'' our economy, I think we will be in a better position after the pandemic.
6. What financial suggestions would you like to give to the people from the tourism and service industry who are hit worst in this pandemic? How can they regain and sustain their finances?
In my view, cost-cutting and managerial operations in such a way that they can withstand the pandemic are two of the options that can be implemented now. For some people, paying rent can be the biggest problem whereas bank interest and payment to the staff may be the biggest problem for some people. Firstly, the main issues and problems should be addressed to survive this pandemic. Secondly, they need to change their business models because the new normal is here to stay and that is digitization. Everybody should now learn to use the updated technology and digitization for survival. We should keep on looking at new things that are smarter and accessible. The changes you adapt will bring better prospects than the previous days. For instance, the hotel business working under past strategies may not work now because digitization is the new normal now.
7. What are the best investment opportunities you see in Nepal? What is your perspective on more attraction of Nepalese youths towards the Nepali share market now?
I always believe in the core competencies and if you invest in the core competencies of the country, you will never fail as I mentioned earlier. If you look at these areas that will utilize the youth’s potential, your investment never fails. The tourism industry, infrastructures, service industry, finance sector, tech sector, and other industries are where entrepreneurship and employment opportunities are created with higher returns. There will be a tourism boom after the pandemic is over as people will be travelling more for obvious reasons and we need to look at these sorts of things and analyze what is it that can be done.
I am very delighted to see the Nepalese youth’s attraction towards the share market as one of the major investment opportunities. Go with the fundamentals but not rumors. I want to advise that when you are getting to the share market, please make sure that you understand the companies you are investing in, how solid they are, and what their performance levels are. Don’t go with speculation. Your principal is not guaranteed and your return too. Understand the risks regarding the share market and you can overview the share market as the finest investment choices. Until then fixed deposit was the sole choice for the people for investment but now the share market has opened numerous doors of investment opportunities to the people. Learn about market dynamics, start slow but learn more, and analyze carefully. And go through it where you have your interest and start new things.
8. How do you take women empowerment and also what are your financial advice to a lot of women entrepreneurs who are looking forward to easy access to loans from financial institutions?
From a financial point of view, women entrepreneurs are the preferred entrepreneurs for us because women entrepreneurs’ loan repayment is far better than other genders. There are only rare cases or news of women spending the loan money on gambling and other bad activities. Otherwise, women have the responsibility to repay the loans they have taken for and they do whatever to repay the loan. If you are a woman entrepreneur, it’s a great time to expand your ideas as there are government institutions, Angel funds, private equities, and many banks to provide you financial access to implement your business ideas. In Nabil Bank, we have a special scheme for women named “ Nabil Nari Karza”. But what entrepreneurs have to realize is that a process is to be followed for granting the loans and they may feel hasty for a lot of questions and paperwork. If you have a strong intention to make your business successful, nothing can stop you. And there has never been a better time at the point in time to initiate your ideas.
We live in a patriarchal society. But along with changing time, our thoughts are also changing. I am very different in this. At a very small age, my grandmother raised me and I picturise my mother as my icon who is Nepal’s first woman ambassador to go to America and do Bachelors and higher studies ahead. I have a daughter too so for me women empowerment is not some dream or something fictitious. It is reality. I believe women's empowerment is not something that is going to happen tomorrow. I was the CEO at Mega Bank and when I left, I was replaced by Nepal’s first woman CEO. I believe that women empowerment is a reality now and something that we all need to be aware of. Women empowerment is not a religious, social, or cultural source. Independence comes from empowerment. Women have to be economically empowered. Economic empowerment is the major source for your voices to be heard and implemented. We must work to ensure the economic environment women enhance to go ahead.
9. Management students or even say Science students or graduates are more inclined towards securing their future in the Finance sector? Whenever they are asked their choice, they address the monetary perks and acknowledgments, do you think this is the sole reason for the attraction toward this field?
Definitely. But the compensation package of the finance sector may not be the main or only attraction towards this sector. Whenever I ask the high-performing youths about their attraction towards the finance sector, they respond as this sector has compensation facilities plus this sector is very professional. It is not a place where you have to know or plead with the people for your job placement. You need to use your core competencies and strengths and deliver to your work and you get rewarded for the same. This is critical for the youths of today. Nowadays, youths are not in favor of pleading with superiors or high-class people for their job placement. They want to start on their own with their talent and hard work.
When I was young, I used to take money from my father to go to Cinema halls but now youth are independent and I can see youth are attracted towards Bungee jumping and they spend their own money. They are independent. This sort of youth is very encouraging to me as well. Your success should be determined by only you, not your father, political ideologies, or connections. When youths wanting to enroll in their career in the finance sector don’t get their jobs, they choose the option of going abroad to foreign countries and work. And this is the sad part but the pandemic has changed the mindset of the youths. They are ready to start their businesses here. And with the ideas of the best youth, this country will change. Nabil Bank is the no. 1 bank, why? Not because of tall buildings or offices but the best youth who are rendering their services and hard work to make it no. 1. Nowadays, many entrepreneurs are starting their Fintech companies and other entrepreneurial stuff instead of going abroad and work which is promising for the country. If youths see the future in this country that means the future of the country is secured. Whenever youths are asked the question about their life goals, they reply to be “job creators” not “job seekers”. “Employing yourself” and then employing others has been today’s trend which means the country’s future will be far better than before because of the proactive youth.
10. As a successful CEO of a commercially successful bank, do you recognize and acknowledge your privilege? What do you have to say about it?
Definitely, and I also acknowledge the fact of how I started the journey from my first salary of Rs. 3500 monthly to today. After I completed my MBA, I gave interviews in the banking sector, started with my first salary, worked hard with many sacrifices and roller coaster rides. With the 30 years of hard work, I am what I am today. And I am very proud of that and I am proud to be a citizen of Nepal. I am proud to be with the youths of this country who have immense ideas to change and develop the country and I am proud to be respected by those youth. Money may come and go but your contribution is remembered after your death also and that’s what a person’s gaining is.
Mr Anil Keshary Shah shares with us the power of core competencies and hard work. He believes that youths are the hope and reality of the country and with their contribution, the country can walk on the roads of development and a new beginning.