Arjun Mallik is CEO of the Prudential Uganda insurance company. A position he reached, despite his youth, after acquiring considerable experience in the markets of Malaysia, the UK, the US and Africa. With a degree in Economics from Eckerd College and an International MBA from IE, Mallik occupied his current position after working as Head of Strategy for Prudential Africa, helping their expansion across the continent while supporting growth in existing markets. Founded in London in 1848, Prudential is one of the oldest and best-known insurers in the world, offering services to some 24 million clients in the UK, the United States, Asia and Africa and manages over USD 900 billion in assets.
CEO of Prudential Uganda
“Living in different countries builds flexibility, emotional aptitude, empathy and resilience, which are indispensable tools in any business environment.”
Mallik remembers his time at IE as “the best years” of his life, a period when he learned that “there is never enough time to do everything, and that finding the right balance between work and play is the key to success.” Living in different countries has helped him satisfy his yearning for new experiences. After living in the United States, the UK, Malaysia, Romania, India, Spain and Uganda, he’s come to the conclusion that living in different countries builds “flexibility, emotional aptitude, empathy and resilience, which are indispensable tools in any business environment.”
The chance to work in teams made up of members from different nationalities, and the positive tension that’s generated in them, is one of the aspects that Mallik most values about his time at IE. Nowadays he tries to replicate that same tension in the groups that work with him, so as to obtain “outcomes that are richer”
He recognizes that heading the subsidiary of a historic company before reaching the age of 35 was intimidating at first, because “often there’s an element of self-doubt surrounding big challenges.” But his concerns slowly evaporated over the last two years in which Prudential Uganda has seen a significant increase in income, and market share with a young team (median age: 27). There are now more than 700 Prudential representatives, recruited almost entirely on the principle of ‘hire for attitude; train for skills’. Together “they help tens of thousands of clients to build a better financial future.”
At present, the focus of Prudential Uganda is, in Mallik’s words:
“To ensure that families in Uganda have the opportunity to provide their children with a high quality education through the affordable financial instruments we produce, allowing them to save, protect and invest for the future.”
To continue to grow, and provide work for 2,000 Ugandans by 2020 are two key goals of the company; he is very proud of the role he is playing in Africa which is “a young continent, huge, populous and connected, and represents a massive opportunity to make an impact, whether commercial or otherwise.”
For Mallik, the work of Prudential in Africa –and, by extension, that of its subsidiary– is particularly meaningful in light of “the poor access to financial literacy and limited access to financial services for a large part of the population. When those at the bottom of the pyramid face financial losses, the suffering is more acute and the time taken to return to ‘normalcy’ or ‘stability’ is greater than someone in the middle-income category.”
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