Life’s Work: An Interview With Arif Khan, CEO and Managing Director, IDLC Finance Limited

Life’s Work: An Interview With Arif Khan, CEO and Managing Director, IDLC Finance Limited

Arif Khan, CEO and Managing Director of IDLC Finance Limited, has an astounding body of work. He started his career in 1991, and over the past 26 years of his career, Mr. Khan had played pivotal role in the lives of a number of private companies, where he worked in different capacities starting from Probationary Officer to CEO and also in public sector as a Commissioner of Securities Exchange Commission where he headed the Demutualization Project of Dhaka Stock Exchange along with many other big projects.

A large part of his career, 15 years to be precise, is spent at IDLC Finance Limited, one of the fast growing and forward thinking Financial institutions in the country, where he designed and led several of its successful products. After leaving IDLC in 2010, Mr. Khan returned to IDLC Finance Limited as a Managing Director and CEO in 2015, a place he calls. “I’m passionate about.”

In an interview with Future Startup, Mr. Khan reflects on his early life and career and how courage and risk shape our life, how he got into accounting and finance, his early career at IDLC and how curiosity, ambition, and hard work drive us, his vision for IDLC now that he is back again, working culture and growth of IDLC and his plans for the fast-growing NBFI of the country, how professional accounts can contribute to the economic development and his plan for ICMAB, the national body for Professional Cost and Management Accountants, of which he is the current President, and why serving others is the most important work of all that can change our life forever.

Future Startup: I want to start at the beginning of your story. Where did you grow up and how was your early life?

Arif Khan: I was born in Dhaka in 1964, to be precise in Shahjahanpur. My father used to work at government forest department at that time. In many instances, he was posted in different forests. I spent a brief period of my childhood growing up near the Sundarbans. I do not remember it much as I was a small kid then. Nonetheless, it was a different world living in a bungalow in a forest, people guarding you and all that.

I had my primary schooling at a normal government primary school without any school fee. This is post independence, Bangladesh was different at that time. After class five I moved to Comilla Residential Model School which has now become a cadet college. My parents were living in Dhaka that time. So, I stayed in the school dormitory. I finished my SSC examination in 1981.

After my HSC examination, I came back to Dhaka. I did a normal graduation degree, no honors, no nothing because in the meanwhile I had lost my father while I was in class VII. My mother and I had to shoulder the responsibility for my 3 sisters. Things were difficult. There was no serious problem as such but it was not a rosy ride either. Other than my mother, I had virtually no one to guide me as well since I lost my father.

Afterward, I enrolled in a masters program at the University of Dhaka. Also, prior to that, I had joined ICMAB to pursue a CMA certification, a professional accounting degree. So, both my masters and CMA were going simultaneously. I completed both programs in 1989.

After that, I started my career at AB Bank as a probationary officer. It’s almost the end of 2016 now and I’ve been working in the financial service sector almost 26 years now.

One thing I’d like to point out here is that I was quite a good student in my childhood, always hard-working and getting good grades in the school. But, when I lost my father I was devastated and it took my focus away. As a result, my attention towards studies suffered and I struggled heavily.

Fortunately, I tried and regained my focus when I enrolled at Dhaka University and began the course at ICMAB. Afterward, working at AB Bank for 2 years was a great learning opportunity for me. We had two months residential course at BIBM to understand banking basics. It was a great exposure for me.

After that, for a very brief period, I moved to British American Tobacco. I was posted in Sylhet and was looking after the sales operation.

In the meantime, I got admitted at the IBA for MBA. I thought that there is a demand for IBA graduates in the job market. But BAT, unfortunately, posted me to Sylhet at the same time. I tried to transfer back to Dhaka but BAT did not agree. So, I was left to choose between a job with lots of opportunities and education from a revered institution in the country.

Finally, I chose to quit the job and stay in Dhaka without a job. It was a risky decision but I continued my study at IBA and a few months later I got a job at Beximco as well.

I worked there for 2 years and then I moved here, to IDLC, where I stayed for the next 15 years.

I first joined IDLC as an Assistant Manager, an accounting person and gradually moved up to the managerial position. And after almost a decade, I was promoted to the CFO position in the company.

At that point, I thought to myself that it is a very important position. As a CFO I was looking after all five major activities of the company including Administration, Finance, Accounting, HR, and Treasury. At some point during that time, I thought that as an accounting-finance person this is possibly the end point for me. But soon I realized that I wanted to do more.

I thought long and hard and decided that I want to learn more about business and get into it. So, I put a proposition to IDLC’s management that I want to move to the business units despite the fact that accounting/finance personnel often end up where I was. They gave me an opportunity and I started a new SME division.

Future Startup: I want to ask a quick question here. How did you end up in finance? Were you always passionate about it?

Arif Khan: No, not at all, actually. In fact, I completed my college education from science discipline. As usual, my parents, naturally as a science student, wanted me to be either a doctor or an engineer. But as I said before, I lost focus on my education after SSC and in between HSC. So my results were not good and I was not attentive about my future career.

Then one of my friends suggested me to switch to business studies because there were more job opportunities. He told me about the CMA degree and said if you could get a CMA degree it would be good for you. According to his suggestion, I got myself into ICMAB. While studying CMA, I realized that it was critical for me to get a master’s degree in business as well. As a result, I enrolled in a master’s program. So, basically, finance was kind of an accidental thing for me.

The most important thing that I have learned is that there’s no shortcut in life. There is very little importance of being a genius. Most of the things we do at IDLC are no rocket science. You don’t need to be a genius to be successful, what you need is to work really really hard, persistently. You need to put your everything into your work with a rock solid consistency.

Future Startup: You spent a 15 years stint at IDLC before leaving in 2010, during your time you contributed to the launching of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), Personal Finance Division (PFD), Merchant the Banking, and IDLC Securities Limited. A little bit about that journey.

Arif Khan: As I said I was the CFO and later on decided to move to business. When I moved to the business units, I opened up Emerging Corporate Division in the company which is now known as the SME division.

The entire SME division was supervised by me at the very beginning which now counts up to 46% of the total operation of IDLC. SME is one of our key focus areas now. We started 15 years ago and I’m really happy that that department has thrived in IDLC.

Afterward, management gave me another opportunity to start a consumer business department, i.e. home loan, auto loan etc to household borrowers. The management seconded my decision and a new division called Personal Investment Division (PID) which is now known as consumer division and accounts for around 32% of our business.

So, these two operations–which now constitute over 80% of IDLC’s total business– was started under my leadership back then.

After that we also launched two separate businesses i.e. IDLC Securities which deals with brokerage business, buying and selling shares of various companies. We started this operation and within three years we became one of the top five players in the market. We are now third in the market.

Later on, we launched another IDLC subsidiary called IDLC investments under my leadership, which is our merchant banking operation. All the business have grown manifold.

I was the Deputy Managing Director at that time. Then I left IDLC and in few months I joined Bangladesh Securities Exchange Commission that’s under Ministry of Finance as a member, which was later redesignated as Commissioner.

I worked there for almost five years. It was a board level position. SEC has a five member board, chairman and four commissioners. I was one of the commissioners. I was part of many exciting projects during my time at SEC. I learned a tremendous amount.

I was the in charge of Stock Exchange Demutualisation Project which was a big project. After that, for some physical reason, I requested my senior at SEC to release me, this is a government job, you have to stay for a tenure and I had to two more years left, but my seniors were kind enough to give me clearance. In the meantime, IDLC proposed me to be the CEO, I was still at SEC but I said I would give it some thought and eventually accepted the opportunity largely because I have a passion for this place.

Future Startup: You started your career at AB Bank in 1991. Then, you moved on to work at Beximco, Zenith Investment Ltd., BSEC; and, lastly, at IDLC for 15 years. What are the biggest lessons from all those years

Arif Khan: Huge lessons. I had a general idea about the financial system including money market and capital market. I think, after working for 25 years in the private sector and as a government regulator, I have seen both the sides. It was a unique experience for me and in the process, I have learned a lot.

The most important thing that I have learned is that there’s no shortcut in life. There is very little importance of being a genius. Most of the things we do at IDLC are no rocket science. You don’t need to be a genius to be successful, what you need is to work really really hard, persistently. You need to put your everything into your work with a rock solid consistency.

It doesn’t help if you work hard for 3 days straight, then sleep for three days. It doesn’t work that way. You have to consistently work hard and have to consistently compete with your own standard in order to excel and move forward.

I’ve also learned a great deal about humans. I’ve learned that human resource management is one of the important factors in the success of an organization because no one can do anything great alone. As a CEO I may say I’m the best but it does not work that way unless I have a team. Most important thing for a company is the teamwork.

A team constitutes of a lot of individual characteristics. We need to respect every individual and their opinions. In a team, you have to give opportunities to everyone. Then, you need to modify the course of actions based on everyone’s ideas.

Teamwork has an interdependent mechanism. We live in an interdependent world. You need to take everyone in, otherwise, collective success will not be an easy thing to accomplish.

As a society we are not very tolerant; but in order to make progress, you have to be. You have to be a team player, respect everyone, listen to everyone and make everyone feel that they are also in the game regardless of their position.

That’s a huge learning. To do that, you need to understand the people around you. Understanding means, you need to talk to them, care about them, and give them the feel that you are their family member.

At IDLC, we now manage 1,400 people. In order to succeed as an organization, we need to make sure that every one of our people sees the same vision as the management committee does. We try to take care of the needs of our employees in a 360-degree manner. And when you do that, employees returns the favor. They treat the vision of the organization as their own.

Future Startup: You left IDLC in 2010. Then, you came back again after almost 6 years. How do you find it here now? Now that you are back, how different today’s IDLC from the one you left?

Arif Khan: It’s much much bigger now. The balance sheet size of the total company was half of what it is now. In terms of business size and people, it has grown significantly in the last 6 years. It is now an even better organization than the one I left.

Future Startup: How much the industry, as a whole, has changed over the last six years?

Arif Khan: It has become extremely competitive than the past. The banks have got some natural advantages over NBFIs. And, as you know, in NBFI industry, you can do everything like a bank, except 2 things, of course. One is that you can take deposits, but you can’t issue checkbooks.

Here we take money in FDR or term deposit form. You give the money for three months/years and you can only get it back after three years not before. This is where banks get an advantage. They can get a lot of money through their current account deposits without paying much interest to customers and, thus, their cost of fund is always low and for us a little bit higher.

Another area that we can’t deal with is the foreign exchange, i.e. LC opening and others. Because of these, banks are in a much comfortable position. But, NBFIs, who has really innovative ideas, are also doing very well despite fierce competition.

But, at IDLC, we have a somewhat different take. We don’t consider ourselves either in NBFI or in bank category. We are a different organization.

There are currently 56 commercial banks in the country and we can say that at least 30 banks are making less profit than IDLC. We have managed to reach this position because of our governance, culture, innovation-moving ahead of the curve, our people and our process. And we empower people like anything.

We try to hire the best people in the market and give them the freedom to use their inner abilities. We tell them to use their talent and go beyond. As such, when they come here, they all feel empowered.

This culture, I think, is unique in Bangladesh market. Unlike the top-down approach where you direct people what to do and not to, here people come up with a proposal and I just approve. They are the owner of the organization.

Future Startup: As you were saying, there are 56 scheduled banks, 4 non-scheduled banks, and 31 FIs. What’s your take on the competition in the Financial industry?

Arif Khan: The competition will be more in the coming years. Banks at present are entering towards NBFI domain. In order to sustain, everyone has to adapt to the changing scenario and innovate. Some of the NBFIs and banks will face difficulties if they fail to change and evolve.

Future Startup: What are your thoughts on the overall growth of the financial industry?

Arif Khan: For the last 10-15 years, it has been growing significantly and it will continue to grow in the future because there’s a huge demand. For NBFIs, the opportunities are huge. Banks, you see, deal mostly with working capital. But in project financing, you need to establish a factory, building, machinery and so on, banks seldom come to help.

But NBFIs, in fact, deals in these sectors. There is a growing need in this segment of the market which we predict will grow manifold in the coming years. With our faster process, we can cater to those needs more efficiently than the banks.

Legislation-wise, the regulation of banks is much tighter than NBFIs. So we have some advantage over banks. We have an advantage in processing time and project financing. I think the industry will continue to grow.

Future Startup: In terms of competition, how is IDLC different from other organizations? You touched a bit on this point, but again, what is your competitive advantage?

Arif Khan: As I have mentioned earlier, from the very top of the management this organization believes in open and transparent governance. You may know that any bad practice starts from the head. Our governance is our competitive advantage.

And then the culture. Everyone knows that I have some authority to do my job. We have a very empowering, decentralized authority throughout the organization.

We recruit the best people and give them an opportunity to do their best and we try to retain and develop them through local and international training.

Our team members are the best in the bunch. We have a very robust process in place that allows us to be faster and better. We are also introducing technology at a faster rate. And we aim to provide the best service to our customers. `

Future Startup: Although interest rate continues to decline over the years, according to a recent report from BB, the number of loan takers is not growing that much. Why? Do you see this as a challenge for your own institution? How do you plan to tackle this challenge?

Arif Khan: Most of the loans that are sanctioned in Bangladesh are Corporate and SME loans. What we see is that credit growth is not encouraging for last few years which is recovering now and hopefully, will speed up in the next few years. Maybe there is a business cycle.

There are reasons why interest rates are coming down. There is a linkage. It’s because the inflation rate is low now. Commodity prices have also lowered around the world, especially oil. Lower commodity price is the reason why the inflation rate is hovering around 5% to 6%. We think that the interest rate is not going to shoot up in the next the couple months.

And the huge investment in infrastructure from the government will have an impact on the private sector. We think there is going to be huge growth in the next couple of years because there are a lot of mega projects going which will have an impact on the overall business environment in the country.

At IDLC, we now manage 1,400 people. In order to succeed as an organization, we need to make sure that every one of our people sees the same vision as the management committee does. We try to take care of the needs of our employees in a 360-degree manner. And when you do that, employees returns the favor. They treat the vision of the organization as their own.

Future Startup: Can you give us an overview of IDLC?

Arif Khan: IDLC is a financial institution. We take care of most of the financing need of our customers, from large corporates who want to set up a large factory to small businesses requiring working capital, we finance them all. We also have a consumer division. We finance home loan, car loan and personal loan. We also take deposits but not like banks as I said before. We also finance SME’s for their business.

We also provide portfolio management services and have recently introduced a very futuristic product called ”Easy Invest” so that small investors can invest in the stock market.

We help our customers in buying and selling shares. We are sort of a financial service provider and wealth manager of our customers. At present, we serve around 45,000 customers.

Future Startup: A little bit more about SME, as you were saying 46% of your business come from SME division. Going forward, what are your plans for SME sector?

Arif Khan: We think Bangladesh economy will grow rapidly in the coming years. The macroeconomic scenario is very positive. GDP is growing at 7%+ now and is projected to end up at 8%+ in five years.

I’m coming to the point why SME will grow. All indicators are positive. Maybe remittance will suffer due to oil price issue since our major remittance source is the Middle East and their economy is in difficulty. But garment sector is growing.

Our per capita income is now $1500 which was $500 just a couple years back. We are now in lower-middle income group and by 2021 our per capita income will exceed $2000. When economy moves positively, the country does as well. Moreover, we have a huge young population, around 65% of our population today consists of young people and these people want to do something.

As the economy turns toward high-growth, these youths will be coming to business. Then, they will need financing. Thus, SME will continue to experience major growth in the coming years.

We will keep pushing more money into the SME sector because it has more impact in the national development. It is because when you finance an SME, you’re, in fact, creating job opportunities for 20 to 30 people.

So, we think that IDLC will be a major player in the SME financing sector.

Also, very interestingly, NPL or non-performing loan ratio is 10% on average in the country but it’s only 3% for IDLC. People often say that lending to small customers can make loans defaults. But, from what we’ve experienced, we saw that big customer often default more than the smaller ones, and when they do so, it’s at a large proportion. Our SME NPL ratio is less than 2.5%.

Future Startup: You have launched a startup loan and a scheme for technology, IT companies. How these schemes are doing? What motivated you to get into that space which is unusual for a financial organization at this stage? What are the plans for these in the coming days?

Arif Khan: IDLC has always helped small businesses. But there are many things happening in the digital space in Bangladesh. A lot of entrepreneurs are coming up with great and innovative ideas.

At IDLC, as a responsible financial organization, we thought that we need to do something. Personally, I am a great believer of the startups and young entrepreneurs.

When you look into the top companies in the world right now, they were not like this 20 years back. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, they have re-shaped our world. These were very small companies 20 years back. And I believe that if we support our local startups we can create world-class companies from Bangladesh.

When I was a regulator there were no laws to help the startups in Bangladesh in the form of financing. I led a project called Alternative Investments Rules to provide a platform for newly founded businesses. I have a passion for this space.

I think that it’s very important to believe in what you’re trying to build because the initial stage is often quite tough. You’ll see that positions at big corporations are slipping away and your peers are getting high salaries. It’ll be hard, but you must ignore those.

Future Startup: Any particular plan for this space going forward?

Arif Khan: We are currently in the process of setting up the first private equity fund managed by IDLC Asset Management Limited, where we can fund small startups. Maybe in 2017 we will get into this space. Entrepreneurship in our society is treated as a stigma. We need to get out of this mindset. We need to give entrepreneurs the due respect and social support.

There is a general talk about FinTech changing the financial industry globally. We have a couple of early signs i.e. companies like bKash are taking over the MFS and other areas of finance. Can you talk about in general tech adoption at IDLC?

At IDLC, we are determined to integrate modern technology because it is the driving force. The faster we embrace technology, the faster we can adapt to the changing scenario. Whenever we can find a scope to switch manual labor with automated technologies, we go with the latter. That increases our efficiency, productivity and helps us to lower our cost.

For example, we have recently installed a world-renowned core banking software Flexcube to manage our entire operations. And, now, we are planning to scale further by implementing customer-relationship or CRM software to provide customers with better services. We have also started investing in digital marketing space recently and it is doing great.

Future Startup: What are the challenges for IDLC now? What are the challenges you anticipate in the future?

Arif Khan: Competition is always a challenge in this sector, of course. Other challenges include retaining talented employees and ensuring a better process to reduce NPL.

We always try to innovate and be ahead of everyone else. It has happened many times in the past. We started something and the rest of the industry just followed in our footsteps. We want to do that more in the coming years.

Future Startup: That’s more a cultural thing, right? From your experience, how do you manage to foster an innovation culture in an organization?

Arif Khan: It wasn’t built overnight nor it’s only me who have shaped this culture. I’m just a part of a big system. If you trace back to our past management, you’ll see Mr. Aminul Islam, who was the managing director for many years, has actually played a vital role in building the IDLC culture. He gave opportunities to young people.

There were also other great people who shaped the company for better, people like Mr. Ehsan Kader, Mr. Minhaz Zia, Mr. Mafuz Sarker and Mr. Tapan Podder. They all have helped build this company. IDLC, in fact, produces good leaders from within. We take care of people and empower them, as I said before, and they do the rest. It is a team work.

Future Startup: What are your plans for IDLC in 2017 and down the line, say, next 5 to 6 years?

Arif Khan: IDLC now is one of the fastest growing financial institutions in Bangladesh. But we want to be THE “best brand”. That’s our vision. Recently we have started our branding campaign on a large-scale, especially in the digital space. IDLC will continue to introduce new products and services. We are also thinking of giving more importance to human resources.

Going forward, we will also embrace more technology and invest more in SME, capital market, and other related areas.

IDLC is a very responsible organization. We want to cater to the needs of the society real-time. Also, we want to become a transparent company to all our stakeholders, i.e. our shareholders, our customers, and government. In fact, we were the highest taxpayer in our sector in 2016.

IDLC now is one of the fastest growing financial institutions in Bangladesh. But we want to be THE “best brand”. That’s our vision.

Future Startup: What is your personal take on the current state of the financial industry in Bangladesh?

Arif Khan: The industry will grow manifold in the near future. Although compared to other Asian countries, we are still hovering in the lower segment. A large portion of our populace still doesn’t have access to financial services which is an opportunity. I think that with the macroeconomic and per-capita income growth, the industry will boom. So, there’s a huge potential to grow.

But, several problems still haunt the financial sector. Defaulted loans, for example. Overall 10% of total loans made by banks are bad loans. It is shocking! It’s a huge loss for the country as a whole. When banks lose money, they charge extra to their customers. So, for someone’s bad debts, another person pays the price.

The government needs to look into this issue. The industry needs tighter regulation and vigilance from the government. There’s also a need for consolidation. Bangladesh is a small country. We don’t need 56 banks. It’s more than enough. The banks can be merged to reduce costs and losses.

Future Startup: You started your career as an accountant and you are currently the President of ICMAB, how do you see the contribution of accounting professionals to the overall economic development of the country?

Arif Khan: What I can tell you is that if you take a look at my journey, my turning point was when I started my CMA education which I did from ICMAB. CMA helped me to get a deeper understanding of business and how business works, before that I was a science student and had little understanding of inner workings of business.

A Cost and Management accountant gets a complete view of a business and thus can get the strategic insight to assess risk and make vital business decisions based on a robust understanding of the business environment.

The accounting profession is at the heart of transparency and accountability of any organization, financial statement and other financial documents show the real picture of an organization which in turn, collectively, gets reflected in the national economy.

Professional accounts play a very vital role in maintaining a responsible relationship with various stakeholders including shareholders and owners of a company. Everyone reads information through the accountant’s eye.

In countries like the USA, Canada, accountants play vital role at organizational level and also in the overall economy as analyst and in various other roles, in Bangladesh we have CA, CMA holders who play vital roles in organizations and I believe accountants will continue to thrive and play important role in our economy in the coming years and help us build a more transparent economy.

Future Startup: As the President of ICMAB, the national body of the professional Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh, what is your plan for the organization going forward?

According to the company law, which is passed in Parliament, there can be two types of audits for every major organization: Financial Audit and Cost Audit. We play a very vital role in Cost Audit.

And what is cost audit and why it is important, for instance, you run a company that generated TK 100 crore in revenue and you said that you cost was TK 80 crore and 20 crore is your profit.

Cost audit finds out whether the cost was actually 80 crore, was there any mismanagement, any wastage, an over expenses, any irregularities in expense and so forth which helps you better understand the entire costing process and helps you to become more efficient.

Cost audit is done in all listed companies, what happens is that wastage of various types, mismanagement of various types, inefficiencies of various types and unnecessary costs of various types can be found out and get rid of, which eventually helps shareholders and common people to understand the real value of the company.

In India, public services like train, hospitals, postal services go through cost audit so that government can find out whether the prices for the services are justified and people receiving what they are paying for. In Bangladesh, we think there is a need for this.

We plan to work on a similar initiative with the Government of Bangladesh to implement Cost Audit services in various government organizations for the benefit of the common people and as well as the government.

Future Startup: What is your management philosophy?

Arif Khan: As a CEO, I believe that my team should be as much as a part of decision making as myself. I’m a team player. I’m here only to guide and inspire them. I don’t do much, to be honest. I think team is the most important component of any company.

I want to empower my colleagues. We don’t have a rigid, 9 to 5 o’clock environment at IDLC. It’s comfortable here. Here we celebrate our successes and don’t let failures dishearten us.

We have 2 types of salaries here: a fixed salary and annual variable bonus. If an employee can deliver more than what has been expected of him, s/he gets a fair bonus at the end of the year. In fact, there are people here who receive more bonus than their actual fixed salary.

Future Startup: Do you feel any responsibility to contribute to something bigger than yourself?

Arif Khan: We all die someday, right? The only constant nature of life is that it is ephemeral. The only lasting thing in life is what we give to others. I try to pass this mindset on to my teammates. I tell them to learn to love what they do.

They should feel happy about granting a home loan to a person because in a house built with that loan will that person’s family reside one day not very far in future. I tell them that this is not a job they do, it’s a service to the society, families, and individuals.

Be a relentless learner. And be a giver. Find ways to serve people. I think we can learn this thing from nature that it continues to give without any expectation. The most important and recurring lesson from my 26 years of working life is, when we give without expectation, it comes back to you in manifold.

Future Startup: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind yourself?

Arif Khan: I think the best kind of legacy is to serve others, respect parents, and try to be as much selfless as you can. I do not want to think of what I would receive; I want to think about what I can give.

I try to inculcate this philosophy in the people I know, in my students. If they live up to this philosophy, it will have a long-lasting impact.

Future Startup: What advice would you give to people who are starting out?

Arif Khan: I’m not an expert in this area, but I think that it’s very important to believe in what you’re trying to build because the initial stage is often quite tough. You’ll see that positions at big corporations are slipping away and your peers are getting high salaries. It’ll be hard, but you must ignore those.

Almost everyone in the society will try to coax you to go for a change, but you need to be a dreamer to achieve the impossible.

As a startup, you have to find out the need of your customers. If you can identify a real need, building a business should be easy.

Be a relentless learner. And be a giver. Find ways to serve people. I think we can learn this thing from nature that it continues to give without any expectation. The most important and recurring lesson from my 26 years of working life is, when we give without expectation, it comes back to you manifold.

Be responsible. Do not only complain; come up with a solution. And, definitely, one needs to take care of her/his health.Arif Khan, CEO of IDLC Ltd.

Interview by Ruhul Kader, Transcription by Rahatil Ashekan

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