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July 16, 2018

From Principal Employee in India to Denim Intern

Meet Akshay Ambekar, Denim's marketing analyst intern.

Akshay Ambekar

Denim had the pleasure of welcoming our first intern, Akshay Ambekar, this summer. Akshay is pursuing his MBA and MSIS at Iowa State University. He is currently Denim’s marketing analyst intern. Below is a bit about how Akshay got connected to Denim and what his experience has been so far this summer.

1. How did you end up at Denim?

I got my undergraduate degree in computer science in India in 2012 and immediately joined the workforce at TCS, where I worked in multiple products and services teams. After 3.5 years at TCS and gaining experience in data management across various industries, I moved to Principal Financial Group in Pune, India. At Principal, I had the opportunity to broaden my knowledge about the insurance industry while working in their captive unit for a year. By mere coincidence, my next move was to near Des Moines, Iowa (where Principal is headquartered) to get my masters in business administration and information systems. My friends jokingly exclaim that I’m “on-site” now.

I was captivated by TVF Pitchers and Pirates of Silicon Valley, and I was curious to know what it was like to work at a startup. Scaling down from 30,000 employees in one office at TCS to a few thousand at Principal helped me prepare for what to expect. But that wasn’t the main reason why I joined Denim, a startup tech company with seven employees!

I’ve been passionate about marketing and analytics since college, and Denim was one of the few companies that provided an opportunity for work in both areas. Even before my final interview ended, I was 95 percent convinced that I would be a good fit for Denim as a marketing analyst intern.

2. What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The alarm clock! No, honestly speaking, there are many days when I beat the clock and spring out of bed thanking God for giving me one more day to live. In the shower, I usually think about three to five things I wish to accomplish that day. The thought of having the opportunity to do something good today is a very fulfilling feeling. It charges me up and gets me up and running.

3. What does your typical day at Denim look like?

A nice refreshing walk for a couple of blocks from the parking lot to the office gets me ready for work. Each of the team members (CEO and CTO included) lay out all tasks for the week each Monday. That way I know what’s on my plate each day of the week. Thinking of what was done yesterday and what’s in for today helps me focus my energy toward prioritizing tasks and knocking out as many as I can. No day is the same at Denim, and I do a variety of work from website development, progressive profiling, application integrations, designing automation workflows in Salesforce, analyzing in-house platform/Facebook/Google Analytics data, etc. I simply love a busy day.

4. What’s the best business advice you’ve received?

Sometimes when I get excited about work, I’m often in a rush to finish tasks during which I tend to assume some things to move ahead. Early in my career, I got myself in trouble for doing this. My first boss, Rahul, always advised me to keep calm, composed and make sure my assumptions stand true. Clear and concise communication is the key!

5. What excites you the most about the future of the financial services industry and your role in it?

The financial services industry is slowly catching up in embracing technology and making digital mainstream. Many firms still operate with legacy systems, some of which are not scalable to serve today’s fast-paced world. That said, a lot of fintech disruptors (startups, mainly) are reimagining the way this industry operates. This provides ample opportunity for me as a marketing and IT analyst to help financial services companies do business better, thereby positively impacting customers and the society.

6. Where do you go/what do you do to get inspiration?

I meditate with music. Music has been an inseparable part of my life since childhood. Playing the drums and percussions helps me channel excess energy into something creative. It gives me great company when I feel low and lost. Music inspires me to ‘think new, think good.’ I also like to read and learn new things that people are doing around the globe. Dorothy Parker once wrote, “The only cure for boredom is curiosity, there is no cure for curiosity.” I am afflicted with it and indulge as often as I can. Of late, I’ve been cooking new recipes from my mom’s kitchen in India, and just seeing how much my friends like them inspires me to make more.

7. What’s something unique about you most people wouldn’t know?

I am a good musician, cook, and into a lot of sports, but I would say the most unique thing about me is my patience and the fact that I don’t get angry. My immense control on my temper surprises a lot of people.

Does Denim sound like a place you would like to work? Learn more about our career opportunities!

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