After almost passing on his first job to further his academics, Pokharel’s hardwork has ensured that he now enjoys the best of both worlds.
Suman Pokharel, CEO of International Money Express (IME) Ltd, has over 15 years of experience in the financial sector. Pokharel started his career from Everest Bank in 2003 and along with his colleagues, started Everest Remit in 2004, an achievement he describes as the most satisfying moment in his career. The Management Association of Nepal awarded Pokharel with the 'Best Manager of the Year 2018'. Ashim Neupane of New Business Age sat down with Pokharel at the headquarters of IME Ltd in Lazimpat to talk about his journey over the years.
A False Start
When Pokharel was pursuing his Masters in Business Studies from Shanker Dev Campus in 2003, he applied for a job at Everest Bank. Pokharel was selected as a management trainee and posted to a branch in Biratnagar. Despite securing a dream job in the banking sector, Pokharel was in a state of confusion, as completing his academics was his priority. As Pokharel was pursuing his master’s degree in Kathmandu, he thought joining the Biratnagar branch would hamper his academics. Pokharel planned to pass on the opportunity to complete his studies. However, he discovered that he could transfer his exam centre to Biratnagar making it possible for him to work and finish his education at the same time. Despite being selected as a management trainee, Pokharel was posted to the Biratnagar branch as a senior assistant.
A Satisfying Moment
While working at Everest Bank, Pokharel was given the responsibility of establishing a remittance unit. Pokharel remembers the hard work it took to create ‘Everest Remit’ in 2004. Pokharel remembers travelling to cities like Dubai and Doha to inform Nepalis there about remittance services. At that time, Pokharel along with his colleagues travelled to Nepali camps in the outskirts of those cities to instruct them to send money to Nepal through legal channels. After thorough research, Everest Remit formally launched a remittance system in Dubai. He believes the collaborative efforts of his teammates helped Everest Bank to establish the remittance unit, which grew successfully thereafter. Pokharel still feels proud as a professional when he sees the growth of Everest Remit.
Journey from a Biratnagar Branch to CEO of IME
After working for only a year in Biratnagar, Pokharel was transferred to Kathmandu in 2004. In September 2007, Pokharel left Everest Bank to join Global Bank (now Global IME Bank) as a senior officer. As Pokharel had expertise in the remittance sector, he thought of shifting to International Money Express (IME), which solely looks after remittance. He then left Global Bank to join IME Ltd in 2010 as the general manager. After working for four years as the general manager, Pokharel’s hard work finally paid off as he was appointed as the chief executive officer (CEO) of IME Ltd in 2014. Apart from IME Ltd, Pokharel is also on the board of directors (BoD) of multiple companies including Global IME, Dish Home Media and SmartChoice Technologies (SCT).
A Hard Worker
Pokharel faced many challenges in his career, but he never gave up on his dreams. Pokharel shares he has always taken challenges as an opportunity to grow stronger. “Challenges have always been a part of my professional life, and after becoming the general manager of IME Ltd, I had to face many obstacles. Leading the company in the initial stages was a tough task, but my hard work helped me overcome the hurdles,” he shares. Pokharel attributes his growth to his hard work and dedication. “I have faced challenges, but I have never faced any significant downfall in my career. My seniors are happy with my work, and I think it means my career has been on track,” he shares.
Sports Enthusiast and Avid Reader
Pokharel is a sports enthusiast and enjoys football. He plays futsal on the weekends and during corporate tournaments. Pokharel follows the English Premier League and says he tries to watch every match of Chelsea Football Club. “I also read a lot of books, magazines and journals in my free time. I have digitally subscribed to many international media, which I read in my free time.
I make sure I do not miss any developments happening in the world,” he shares. Pokharel shares he enjoys non-fiction books more than fictional stories, as the books help him gain knowledge about real incidents and developments.
Suggestions for Graduates
Commenting on the increasing number of youths travelling to foreign countries for employment opportunities, Pokharel says it is difficult to achieve success overnight in foreign countries. He views ample opportunities and unexplored sectors in Nepal for the country’s young people. “I have travelled to different countries of the world, and I have seen Nepalis working hard,” he says.
Pokharel believes that young careerists should not chase money and fame early on. “Money, success and fame are something which comes with hard work and time,” Pokharel shares.
Pokharel follows no specific management mantra. As a leader, Pokharel has always been disciplined and honest towards his organisation. “I have always tried to motivate my team to work harder. I ensure my colleagues have a bright future working in the organisation,” he shares, adding qualities such as the right attitude, honesty, hard work and passion are essential towards building a good career. Pokharel says he is a straightforward person and tries to keep things as simple as possible. When asked about his role model, he says he studies success stories of professionals in different sectors to learn from their careers, which he then attempts to implement in his professional journey.
Pokharel thinks managing a job and a healthy family life is an easy task if you are dedicated to your career and focused on finding the right balance. After office hours, Pokharel regularly spends time with his family. He says support from family members is necessary for professionals to shape their career. “When I work long office hours, my family members are supportive, which motivates me to work even harder,” he shares.