Return to Work: Smitha Agarwal

Smitha Agarwal Morgan StanleyHow did you hear about the Return to Work programme?

I heard about this programme from one of the mums at my daughter’s school.

Why did you apply?

My daughter was well settled in school and I was ready to get back to work. When I read about the programme, it sounded like a perfect opportunity to get return to work after a long break.

Tell us more about the program – how long did it run for, where were you placed, and what did you do?

It was a 12-week internship programme which included three days of induction where we heard from different panels (women in Senior positions) about the challenges of getting back to work and manage work-life balance. There were also weekly engagement sessions with Senior Managers from different divisions, which helped us gain an insight to the different parts of Morgan Stanley.

The programme was well tailored keeping all aspects in mind – i.e. candidates having been away from the workforce for a long time, and candidates being mothers who may have family responsibilities.

I was placed in London and assigned to a project on software development that was a perfect fit considering my aspirations and past experience. It gave me a chance to work on the current technologies, apply my skills, as well as learn about new technologies. The team that I was assigned to was very supportive.

What benefits did you get out of it?

It helped me fall back into the working mode easily. I had an opportunity to use my coding skills in a work environment, as well as experience the current technologies. Everyone in the Firm was supportive, which made the transition easy. The three-month internship also gave me an opportunity to get a feel of how well I handled work and family life on a day-to-day basis. This helped me decide if I really wanted to get back to work and be sure that my family was not affected in any negative way by my decision.

Why would you recommend it?

For a person who has taken a long break, this is a perfect opportunity to get back to work. The programme is planned well around the children’s term holidays. There are sessions with other senior working women as well as senior management which is very helpful. Interaction with the other Return to Work interns also helps a lot. Through this programme, getting back into work after a long break becomes stress-free.

What has happened to you since completing the programme?

I have gained my confidence to handle both work and family commitments. I have also accepted a permanent role on the project.

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