Varun Sanam Ramesh
- Course: MSc International Finance
- Year of graduation: 2008
- Nationality: Indian
- Job title: CEO
- Company: Ezzy Group
What drew you to study your subject at Leeds?
I was keen to further develop my knowledge and skills in Finance in an international context. The UK has so much to offer in terms of an international context for building and developing successful firms and I knew I could benefit from studying at some of the best universities in the world.
My degree in the UK was much more than I imagined. Most impressive was a practice-based approach to learning through insightful real-world study and analysis. This was refreshing and different from what I had experienced before. I had the opportunities to learn, interact and improvise with leaders from the field of finance, professors and lecturers, whom still had active careers in their areas of expertise often as senior advisors and consultants. This made all the difference to my degree, the fine balance of a research based approach, backed by professors who had a wealth of experience in building successful businesses and careers.
My degree had so much to offer, especially from a multi-cultural context. I had classmates from different countries all across the world, who had different perspectives and often experience in the real world to draw from. Group projects, debates and discussions led to new learnings and a new approach to dealing with age-old problems.
My Master’s degree in the UK offered opportunities for research and the great library and learning resources available were incredible. I was able to work on a research project towards the end of my programme and had the opportunity to choose modules that better fit my career goals.
Did you find it easy to settle in to life in the UK? What did you enjoy the most about living here?
A UK education is like a great adventure. It was so easy to settle into life at Leeds. I stayed at university halls of residence and made loads of friends on the first day. I had time to study, play a variety of sports, get some part time work during the vacations, and enjoy the natural beauty of the countryside.
What was your career progression after you graduated?
A UK education helped define my career goals, my ambitions and road map for the future. My degree changed everything from a professional perspective. I was better informed, confident and focused on building my skill set so I could one day lead, manage and develop and large global business.
The degree helped me recognise the importance of a global perspective, and the importance of gaining this very perspective in the UK as against other popular education destinations. Leeds offered opportunities for internships and student placement programmes. We often had employers on campus doing mock interviews, running competitions and helping students find jobs in their organisations, not just in the UK, but globally. This was a real advantage, as many leading business giants were headquartered in the UK.
Leeds offered an ability to work in multi-cultural environments, and with people across the world. Backed by a good education/degree and real world learning, my experience was that employers globally recognised a UK degree as an edge. I found that I had a real edge at interviews, especially at the earlier stages of the recruiting process like group discussions, presentations or analysis.
Can you give us a bit of background to your current job?
I am currently the CEO for Ezzy Group in India. I oversee the Groups’ activities in India and the overseas markets. We have offices in Dubai and work with partners in the UK, the US and Asia pacific regions. The group companies are focused on 4 primary sectors - luxury real-estate and construction, oil and gas, industrial tools and structured international investments. The group companies have a vast global spread to support a range of international projects.
It’s hard to define my responsibilities as a CEO, is short these include everything! Even if that’s not possible. The CEO is responsible for the success or failure of the company. Operations, marketing, strategy, financing, creation of company culture, human resources, hiring, firing, compliance with safety regulations, sales, PR, etc.
However, I feel the job is most about having the right values, an honest approach, bringing out the best in people, giving back to society and last but not least – keeping one’s feet on the ground.
What are your ambitions for the future?
My goal is to increase the verticals for our products and services and really stand out as a company for quality, customer service and investor value. I want to expand the luxury brand globally and build stronger international partnerships going forward.
I hope also to have a larger impact in terms of my social agenda and continue to support, to a larger extent, education opportunities for underprivileged children in India.