Always in search for growth, Parajuli has carved a successful career, one that is founded on a bedrock of firm values and sound ethics.
Pravin Raman Parajuli’s career has been built on a few key tenets - simplicity and adhering to the basic principles of life, both as an individual and a professional. Over a career spanning nearly two decades, Parajuli has routinely demonstrated a keen desire to evolve; to continually challenge himself and find new opportunities for growth and development.
In a conversation with Sarthak Raj Baral, Parajuli provides valuable insight into his thought process as a professional, his evolving career journey and the values he believes are critical if one is to find fulfilment as both a person and a professional.
Formative Years and Education
Parajuli’s family hails from Pokhara, although they migrated to Kathmandu a couple of generations prior to Parajuli’s birth. He was born and brought up in Kathmandu and studied in the capital till his 10th standard.
For further education, Parajuli moved to Chandigarh, India, where he completed his senior secondary education. Soon afterwards, he moved to Mangalore to pursue a three-year under graduation course – Bachelor in Business Management. Parajuli returned to Nepal after the completion of his degree and secured his MBA with a specialisation in finance from Kathmandu University.
After completing his education, Parajuli began his professional journey with NMB Bank. He joined the organisation as a Management Trainee for a year. Later, he worked in the Merchant Banking department for an additional two years.
It was after the completion of those formative three years that Parajuli’s career metaphorically took off, in terms of his role and growth opportunities. In his third year at NMB Bank, his supervisor departed to pursue an international opportunity, and Parajuli was subsequently appointed as the leader of the team.
“In my six years at NMB Bank, I was promoted five times,” Parajuli reflects fondly. “I got a great platform where I could groom myself professionally. It shaped me in many ways, both as an individual and a professional,” he adds.
Parajuli further emphasises the importance of getting off once career to the right start, “I got the right platform at the right time. It built great confidence in me. At the start of one’s career, you have to be clear, focused and professional. There are no shortcuts in life, you have to work hard and continually try to learn and improve yourself.”
Climbing the Ladder
After his six-year stint at NMB Bank, Parajuli had an opportunity to move to Nabil Bank as a Deputy Manager. “It was a long interview session. We had a long discussion about both our expectations,” recalls Parajuli. He also states that at that point, he was clear that this organisation was well-suited for him to take his next step on the professional ladder.
“While NMB was still growing, Nabil was the number one bank then, as it still is now,” he further adds. He viewed this shift as an opportunity for learning and growth. That hankering for learning and a constant desire to evolve, along with a strong work ethic, saw Parajuli make steady progress on the ladder, eventually being appointed as the CEO of Nabil Investment Banking Ltd.
“As a professional, my experience there was one of the greatest learning moments for me. I was surrounded by highly experienced and highly professional individuals. And I have always had the instinct to learn – I listen, I see and try to learn from the strengths of the people around me,” he expands.
He further adds that working for such a large organisation gave him a strong understanding of the various facets of functioning properly at the highest level. “I certainly gained maturity in terms of performing on a bigger platform,” he states.
After a long and fruitful spell at Nabil Bank, Parajuli felt it was time for a change. At that time, he was offered a role at Reliance Life Insurance. Parajuli was somewhat torn initially, as a he felt that his role at the bank was one that was still offering him room for growth and development, and he was on the brink of yet another promotion.
“I didn’t wait for that,” he says. Before joining Reliance Life Insurance, Parajuli took some time to understand the organisation. “Organisational culture, values and whether they are aligned to one’s values; the board’s values, these are very critical things. Because these are the aspects that shape your long term association with an organisation,” he explains.
Once he felt that sense of comfort and shared understanding with Reliance Life Insurance, he left Nabil Bank to embark on a larger challenge and yet another opportunity to learn. “It was a challenge. It meant coming out of my comfort zone. But it was also a chance to learn from a new set of people, to gain exposure in a completely new environment,” he asserts.
Parajuli says that there certainly was a learning curve and that he did face challenges, but his almost three-year experience at the company has ultimately been a fruitful one. “Everything that I had learnt over the years, both personally and professionally, I found room to implement them here,” he remarks.
“One of our objectives is to differentiate Reliance Life Insurance as a distinct brand. For that, we have to focus on product differentiation, service differentiation, price differentiation,” he mentions.
Parajuli regards his constant decision to challenge himself and step out of his comfort zone as key driving factors in the steady growth of his career. “We have to always move forward and not look back. And we should also be focused on the team aspect and not be self-centric in terms of work. It is a team game after all,” he advises.
He also states that adhering to basic principles such as integrity, honesty, dedication and hard work are critical if one is to find success. “The most important thing is maintaining relationships, both personal and professional; it has to be long term. Any short-sighted decision you take will only serve to hamper both yourself and the organisation in the long run,” he claims.
In terms of listing his achievements, Parajuli has a very pragmatic and forward-looking approach. “I still have a long way to go. When I worked and succeeded at NMB, at that point in time, that was my proudest achievement. Similarly, the responsibilities I took over at Nabil and what we accomplished there was an achievement. And now, the work we are doing at Reliance is an achievement. So it’s not just one event. It’s an ongoing process,” he states. “The organisation, the brand, always has to come first. No one is above the institution. So if the institution is succeeding, then that’s my success as well,” Parajuli adds.
Further, when questioned about his role models, Parajuli responds, “I don’t believe in role models. It’s not about arrogance; I only look at myself. If you look at any top entrepreneur, the billionaires of the world, the basics of professional conduct remain the same, and sticking to those basics is what is important – having a strong base of discipline and values. So I am my own role model. I look back, challenge myself, and ensure that the basics in my life are correct, both personally and professionally,” he explains.
Work-Life Balance and the Importance of Family
“I am poor in this aspect, my wife will probably vouch for that,” Parajuli jokes when quizzed about how he strikes a balance between work and personal life. A workaholic by nature, he feels he has to improve in terms of finding the right balance. Parajuli reiterates the importance of giving due importance to one’s personal life, and while he says that he certainly does give the necessary importance, he adds that he’s still working on doing a better job of dividing his time between his personal and professional life. In whatever free time he has, Parajuli enjoys listening to music; it helps him to distance himself from the usual rhythms of his professional life.
“Whatever I am today is because of my parents,” he states. He believes the values and principles that they have imbibed in him from a young age have played a crucial part in his growth as a person and a professional. “Our basic values of life, our beliefs and ethics, all stem from our family, starting with our parents,” he adds.
Parajuli also emphasises the significance of his spouse on his journey. “She has always given me her full support. When I leave home, I don’t need to think of home because I know she’s there. She’s critical to everything I am, especially now, because we have a young daughter,” he gushes.