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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

Adjusting to Work Life After College Isn’t Easy. This Grad Shares His Tips.

Atharva Vyawahare, a client services associate at Visa
Atharva Vyawahare, a client services associate at Visa.
| Courtesy of Visa

When Atharva Vyawahare joined Visa right out of college, the shift from being a student to a full-time employee wasn’t easy. “One of the biggest challenges I faced as a new grad in the corporate world was transitioning from a structured academic environment to the dynamic landscape of a Fortune 500 company,” Vyawahare says.

He found plenty of support within Visa, where he’s currently going through the Client Services Development Program. “Over time, I learned to manage my time efficiently, communicate effectively, and adapt swiftly,” he says. “The key was embracing the challenges, seeking support, and embracing every opportunity to learn.”

Visa provides no shortage of development opportunities, including the two-year rotational program Vyawahare is part of. “It’s designed to provide a comprehensive and diversified experience within client services, allowing me to gain exposure to various job functions,” he says. “This approach not only broadens my understanding, but also equips me with a well-rounded skill set that can be applied across various scenarios.”

Here, Vyawahare shares Visa’s approach to career growth and mobility, how he’s building a community at work, and tips for transitioning from student life to the “real world.”

What led to your job at Visa, and how did you know the company would be a good fit?

Well, it was like finding the missing puzzle piece. I researched Visa extensively and realized that its commitment to innovation, pushing boundaries, and shaping the future of financial technology resonated deeply with me. Plus, their track record of being a global leader spoke volumes about their influence in the industry.

What impact will participating in Visa’s Client Services Development Program have on your career at the company?

The impact of participating in this program is substantial. By being exposed to diverse functions, I am better positioned to comprehend the intricate workings of client services as a whole. This knowledge translates into more effective problem-solving, better decision-making, and an improved ability to serve our clients.

The opportunity to collaborate and network with colleagues across different rotations allows me to gain a deeper understanding of the organization and foster relationships that will undoubtedly prove beneficial in the long run.

What are you responsible for as an associate product manager?

In my current rotation, I am with the OnDemand and Automation team in Client Services. My core responsibilities revolve around the life cycle of client services’ internal tools/products. I’m tasked with collaborating closely with cross-functional teams and business stakeholders to conceptualize, develop, and launch products that align with our strategic goals and resonate with our target audience.

My role involves defining product requirements, conducting market research, and analyzing user feedback to ensure that our offerings address real customer needs. I work closely with our engineering teams to guide the development process, ensuring that features are delivered on time and with the desired quality.

Tell us about your involvement in the Visa Asians Standing Together (VAST) employee resource group (ERG). How has it helped you form a community at work?

It’s like finding a second family at work that shares not just a common background, but also a collective vision of inclusivity and support. Being an executive committee member of VAST has been a game changer for me. The ERG has provided me with a platform to celebrate our culture, share stories, and lift each other up. It’s a support system that’s always there, whether I need professional advice or just a friendly chat. VAST has enriched my experience at Visa by adding layers of connection and understanding. It’s broadened my perspectives and opened dialogues about diversity that are crucial in today’s world.

How does Visa champion internal growth and mobility? How have you taken advantage of these opportunities so far?

Visa goes all out to empower its employees, giving you the tools to shape your journey and encouraging you to explore new avenues within the company. Visa University is a one-stop shop that includes courses focusing on everything from personal development to leadership skills. I’ve taken courses that have expanded my horizons and enriched my skill set. They’ve given me insights into various aspects of the business and introduced me to some amazing colleagues.

How did your internship in college prepare you for your role at Visa? What skills did you develop that you currently use?

I interned with Southern Company/Alabama Power in Birmingham, where I was able to grow my technical and non-technical skills working with strategy and environmental reporting teams. It was a chapter of discovery and allowed me to hone my ability to navigate complexities, adapt to changing landscapes, and derive actionable insights from data. These experiences laid the foundation for my professional journey, equipping me with invaluable skills.

What has been the biggest challenge for you since beginning your career, and how did you overcome it?

The initial year brought a wave of information, tasks, and expectations that felt overwhelming at times. Balancing multiple responsibilities, navigating office dynamics, and adapting to a faster pace was a learning curve.

How did I overcome it? Two words: openness and mentorship. I realized that it was perfectly OK not to have all the answers right away. Embracing a mindset of continuous learning helped me tackle new challenges head-on. Additionally, seeking guidance from mentors within the company was a game changer.

What are you currently reading, watching, and/or listening to?

I am currently reading Lead to Win by Carla A. Harris. The book is like a treasure of wisdom, packed with insights on leadership that resonate deeply with me. And here’s the cool part: I got it during our Visa ATL Juneteenth event. Juneteenth was all about celebrating progress, empowerment, and unity, and Lead to Win embodies those same principles.