Q&A with Dhruv, Financial Planning and Analysis Lead

FinanceLondon

Working with freedom and autonomy means no micromanagement. You align on objectives with your lead, but then you figure things out yourself. It makes you much more invested in solving problems yourself as nobody’s telling you how to do it. It makes you grow faster as you’re not just in execution mode, but doing the thinking and planning too.

Why did you join Wise?

I was working at Google (50k employees) before this, so I wanted to go somewhere smaller where I could take my learnings, but have a bigger impact. I wanted to join a startup and liked the Wise mission. I felt like it wasn’t ‘just another startup’. I had used Wise before and liked how it helps people, so that got me intrigued.

In a nutshell, what do you do at Wise?

I lead our Financial Planning and Analysis team. We do financial forecasts for Wise, looking at how our teams are growing, how our costs are evolving, and how the business is growing and seeing what it all means for our sustainability. We set prices and make commercial decisions to meet both our growth and financial objectives. We also communicate this growth story and expectations both internally within Wise, and externally with our board and investors.

Have you done any other roles at Wise?

I haven’t exactly done other roles, but I joined as the first person in my team and have been able to grow the team to 6, plus me. And we’re still growing!

What’s the biggest challenge working here?

I’ve had various over my 4 years here. Presently it is making sure that the speed of growth of my team matches the growth of Wise. Three years ago, it was just me in the team, but we were a much smaller company. Today Wise is growing in numbers, complexity and expectations. My challenge is to make sure my team is running as fast as all of this, and we have the right people given Wise’s current scale and future outlook.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

Leading our pricing. In June 2019 we had to increase prices. It was very challenging to help both our teams and customers understand why we were doing this. Driving prices down is a part of our mission, hence price increases are quite taboo at Wise. A part of me didn’t want to do it, but there are many things that need to be balanced to ensure our mission is sustainable in the long-run: de-risking growth and having enough cash, raising debt, and meeting our financial forecasts among others. We’ve dropped prices in the past, so increasing them was much harder.

Most interesting place you’ve used your Wise card?

A small village on the Pacific coast in Costa Rica (Nosara – definitely worth visiting!)

What’s your team’s fun tradition?

When we have newbies, we do two truths and a lie to get to know each other. We spend lots of time together – lunches as well as fun stuff outside of work.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made at Wise?

Getting the prices wrong at the start of the year, meaning we had to increase them later in the year. My team looks at other teams’ plans and tries to understand costs so that we can set the right price. But due to the autonomous nature of teams in a fast growing company, lots of things can change in a short period that materially impact our forecasts.

What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever done?

I volunteered for 8 weeks teaching English in a Tibetan refugee settlement in India while in college. I didn’t want the typical summer internship at one of the Big Four. I wanted to spend time in the mountains and do something different where I could have a positive impact. I was in McLeod Ganj where the Dalai Lama lives too. The Tibetan community was amazing, with incredibly calm and peaceful people. And it was amazing to see how keen everyone was to learn English, so I really felt like I could have an impact.

What’s your side hustle?

I play lots of football with my coworkers at Wise. I don’t code, but I whipped up a website for us to track our scores. So now everyone can see how they’re doing: we have a league table with games played, won, points and everything!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done at Wise?

I volunteered to DJ at our Christmas party in 2018. I was quite nervous, so I took a course online on Udemy and bought a DJ controller before the party to practice. It had been something I really wanted to do before, so I decided why not when I saw the opportunity. Now I’ve also done my friend’s wedding.