March 2018 | 859 words | 3-minute read
I joined TCS China in mid-2012 after completing an MBA programme at Fudan University in Shanghai. Prior to that, I had worked for a foreign languages school where I began as a teacher in English.
The TCS opportunity came into view during the final year of my MBA studies. There were quite a few Tata companies recruiting candidates from Fudan at that point, including Tata Motors, Tata Steel and TCS. What worked for me was TCS and I got selected as an HR trainee. This was a chance to change my career path, from an academic environment to the world of business, and I grabbed it.
There were many interviews I had to go through before the TCS offer got confirmed. It was a valuable opening for me and I started out at Tianjin, one of the company’s six centres in China. Two months down the line I was on a flight to Mumbai for a training programme. This was to last six months and I was well prepared.
Scaling new frontiers
There are all these misconceptions and apprehensions about India and I did a lot of asking around with my Indian colleagues in China. They told me not to worry too much, to just go and that the people there would take good care of me. And that’s what happened.
Mumbai was an enlightening experience. I was stationed at the TCS Wellspring facility in Vikhroli and I was allocated an apartment there, too. The orientation period gave me a fair idea of TCS, its structure and systems, its processes and global spread. I also got to learn about the Tata group and its history and, closer to the role I had been hired for, talent acquisition and engagement, learning and development etc.
There were four of us from China and we were attached to the HR function in the ‘business process services’ part of TCS’s business. We didn’t do much sightseeing and stuff like that, but we did use the local train service. That was one of the first things we ‘accomplished’ during our stay in Mumbai. I had heard about the crowds on these trains — and seen it in movies as well — so we steered clear of rush hour.
It was very different from China, but Mumbai had its charms. Besides, being a Tata person brought its own advantages. Tata is not so well known in China; not so in India. Everybody’s heard about the group and there is a certain respect you immediately receive when people know that you are a Tata employee. That was striking and it was a surprise to us. I felt lucky to be a member of the Tata family.
Within HR, learning and development was where I was initially assigned when I came back from Mumbai and was placed in Tianjin. But soon I was the sole HR person at the centre and I was involved in every aspect of the broader function, as also communications.
I took a break in mid-2014 to deliver my baby boy and, on my return, was posted to TCS’s talent development team in Shanghai. My husband and my in-laws have been a huge support for me. My husband relocated to Tianjin when I had to move there as he understood how important TCS was to me and my future. He is in sales and that allows for greater flexibility, but there’s no doubt about the contribution he has made to making my professional life less stressful.
Setting a standard
Coming to the job itself, I have found Indians to be extremely creative. That’s one reason HR at TCS is so excellent, and a far cry from what prevails elsewhere in China. While many other companies are satisfied with doing the basics right, we have yearned to reach a higher level, and we have.
We have clear and personalised development programmes for our employees, who know where to turn to when they need a helping hand. As for me, the time I have spent with TCS has been a period of continuous growth and learning. I don’t think there are that many companies around where I could have benefitted in such fashion.
I’m a person who enjoys taking on challenges, who is forever looking for ways to improve myself and the organisation I work for. There has been no dearth of challenges at TCS China — we have our hands full in that regard — and I have had the occasional doubt about my ability to cope. But I have managed to handle my responsibilities well, not least because of the backing I have received from my seniors and peers.
TCS China has an open and inclusive culture, and it has treated me very well. For my part, I believe I have been brave and confident in tackling and coming to grips with the issues that professional life throws up. You may feel down now and again with the demands of the job, but then you deal with the difficulties, you conquer them and you come out ahead. Today can always be made better then yesterday and this is the place where you can do that.