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Panchali’s Story: Returning to Finance at Mastercard


When I was selected via campus recruitment to join private banking and wealth management, I knew (or so I thought at the time) that I had my career path cut wrong I was!

I moved to London from Mumbai on a promotion, got married and while I was climbing the career ladder, the hectic lifestyle was beginning to take its toll on my health. It was time to take a step back. Starting a family presented this chance. I was sure I was going to take the year out and then get back to work. This turned into a 7 year break – from miscarriages to project managing a house to volunteering at school to even writing a cookbook , the years just flew past.

Though all this while I had the yearning that there was more I could do, give, be able to share my knowledge and add value to an organisation. So I decided to go back to work. By now I was very sure I didn’t want the old work lifestyle back and the challenge I faced was getting back to a similar career level. A friend suggested returnship might be the way.

An internet research led to the Women Returners’ website where I found out about the Mastercard returnship programme. I was instantly attracted to this one, as (a) It was a very exciting company at the forefront of some really cool technological advances, (b) It has a series of accolades for diversity and inclusion, top 50 places for women and families and (c) It was not a bank. This returnship offered experienced professionals the chance to work on a live project as part of a team and an opportunity to apply for a live role at the end of the programme. My application was successful in securing an interview for a business I had no experience in. The interview preparation itself was very exciting as I was already learning, growing my knowledge and realising how I could make a difference – being an outsider to this new industry.

I succeeded in securing a place on the program and was able to add value to the team bringing a fresh and different perspective to tackling business problems and priorities – which led to a permanent role within the same team at an organisation that ticked all my boxes. Mastercard hires people for their potential and not just past experience.

Was the journey easy – no – but you have to remind yourself that you can do this.

Your career break has actually been a fantastic opportunity to step back, learn, take stock, grow and return with renewed vigour!

A year into work and the horizon is bright – thanks to Women Returners