Hello From... Zurich
Kevan Patel, a vice president in Private Wealth Management (PWM) Operations in our Zurich office, shares his experience of moving offices, after five years in London.
Kevan, you started out in the London office before moving to Zurich. Can you tell us about your career at the firm and your current role?
I started as an intern back in 2011, working in Global Markets Operations. Following the internship I was delighted to come back to Goldman Sachs and spent three years in a couple of different roles in London – which I enjoyed. Whilst in London, I by chance met some of the folks from our Swiss bank when they came over to London for training. Thanks to these connections, the process of moving to Zurich was extremely quick – it’s a bit surreal looking back. It started with me seeing the job advertised internally for a role in PWM Operations and reaching out to a friend in the Zurich office to learn more; within a week of conversations and interviews I was hired!
That was four years ago now and I can honestly say it’s one of the best choices I ever made; the international offering to work abroad is such a huge benefit of working at a global firm like Goldman Sachs. I moved as an analyst and I now manage one of the PWM Operations teams in the office.
How was the process of moving from London to Zurich?
Logistically the firm made it very easy, but culturally I had to adapt to a new city. The Zurich office is full of people from all over the world and many had been in my position before, very happy to help and share their advice and experiences. In terms of the job, I went into a smaller organization as well as a different business area, so the learning curve there was pretty steep but the team was really supportive in getting me up to speed.
What would be your advice for someone considering working in a regional GS office?
If your personal circumstances allow it, I would definitely encourage it. I think about it as working at a micro Goldman Sachs; you are given a lot more responsibility and exposure to various parts of the firm just by virtue of its size.
Navigating and understanding the new environment is always hard at first with any move, personally and professionally, so be patient with yourself and don’t expect to have all the knowledge on day one, and be prepared to ask for help. There are differences with every team; how they operate, how they’re structured and even down to how they communicate. Give yourself some listening and learning time when you’re settling in. The most important thing however is to build relationships and invest time in developing your network; I’ve actually found this comes far more organically in a smaller office.
What about the city itself, how have you found living in Zurich as opposed to London?
Moving countries and cultures offers an immense amount of personal growth. Switzerland is such a beautiful country and Zurich is a vibrant and international city. It has a vibrant social scene, but the best thing in my opinion is the outdoor activities. You can be in the mountains in no time – meaning day trips for hiking in the spring and snow sports in the winter, and we have the lake in the city for swimming and barbeques in the summer. I’ve found I spend much more of my time outdoors since moving, which has been a real benefit this year in particular during the pandemic as it’s so easy to get outside into nature. During lockdown, pretty much every day I went on a run along the lake which really helped with my resiliency.
What are the forward-looking priorities for the Goldman Sachs in Switzerland?
It’s a very exciting time for the bank right now. We have an ambitious growth plan to double in size over the next five years and we’re already seeing the results. The rapid growth of our office in Geneva over the past year is probably the most tangible proof of this.