From Customer to Product Manager: Ankitas Journey at Wise
Meet Ankita D’Mello, one of our Product Senior Managers here at Wise.
Ankita joined Wise in March of 2020 but started out as a customer back in 2013. While she was an international student in London, Ankita was trying to send money to her sister in Singapore but couldn’t find a fast and cost efficient way to do so. One afternoon while taking the train home from a full day of classes, she saw an advertisement for Wise and thought it was crazy something like this had been invented, but never thought she’d have the opportunity to work here. Fast forward 6 years and after graduating, Ankita was starting her job search with the hopes of moving back to Asia and saw a job Wise had posted that seemed like the perfect fit! A short time later she was hired and has since helped shape the strategy for the Wise Account in the US and increase the value to our customers.
How do you and the NorthAm Product team interact with other internal teams, both locally & globally?
Globally, our product teams look after regional experiences or infrastructure, so here in the US, we focus on experiences that are unique to customers in Canada and North America or infrastructure that is specific to USD and CAN transfers. USD is our biggest currency at Wise so we work a lot with our internal teams both in the US and around the world as they make changes to tailor a specific experience that caters to our US customers because for whatever reason the global approach might not work here. The US makes up a large chunk of our customers & transfers so we have to get it right.
We also partner closely on projects. One thing we launched recently was the ability of customers to earn interest on their USD balance & while our NorthAm Product team spearheaded the launch, we worked closely with a lot of teams such as HOLD in London, our mobile engineers, and others to build an experience that was for US customers but required a lot of global support too.
How does the product team/functionality differ at Wise from other companies?
Wise is different in a lot of ways but because we are handling customers’ money, it’s much more sensitive. You could be dealing with customers who are transferring their life savings! But it’s also much more rewarding and impactful, especially during covid where I saw a lot of what I was doing actually made a difference.
How have you seen the product team change over the 3 years you’ve been here?
I’ve seen it change a lot! I was one of the first few Product Managers in APAC & back then our team was much smaller and Wise was pre-IPO with less than 2000 employees, so it was a different vibe all together. Today, our product team is really big and has doubled in size! Now that we have more product managers who bring more specific knowledge to the team, we’re trying to create a culture of sharing that knowledge and learning from each other. We had our first product days in December 2022 in Budapest, which was one of the best forums and learning sessions I’ve had while at Wise.
We’ve also tried to beef up a lot of our operational product teams like fincrime, fraud, and security which haven’t always had dedicated product managers.
Where do ideas for new features come from and how do you decide which ones to execute?
Ideas come from a number of different routes and there’s no right or wrong avenue but typically at Wise what we do is ask our customers through interviews, NPS, and comments. We are also trying to get into a space of doing a lot more forward thinking research, so maybe things that our customers have that they don’t know that they have, in addition to looking at data and the story it tells. At Wise, our “North Star” metric has been cross currency volume. Things that fall into this are a combination of growth initiatives, small improvements, and ultimately the way we do it is we use it as a guideline to say how much impact we are going to make with the shortest amount of effort.
What is your biggest success since joining Wise?
There have been 2 things, one here in NorthAm and another in APAC. Both were tough to execute on and had a lot of challenges that came with it.
In NorthAm, we’ve been spearheading the rollout of our interest earning feature on USD balances. In APAC, the thing I was most proud of is we launched a product in India to help freelancers get paid. We had to build something really custom and find a unique solution because we couldn’t launch our multi-currency account there due to government regulations. We worked really closely with lots of freelancers in India when we launched it and the feedback we got was so great. They were really excited that we had launched something that was 7x cheaper than anyone else.
What’s next for you and the product team?
We’re continuing to improve the experience on the interest feature for our customers. Our Money movement team, which is essentially our payment processing team for USD and CAD, are working really hard to continue to make sure the experience is good for customers. Whether that’s making transfers faster, reducing the frustrations for customers, or reducing costs so we can make transfers cheaper.
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