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Gunalan Nadarajah, MEEI '07

Entrepreneurship & Innovation | Innovating in the financial industry

For decades, banks and insurance companies were the staid but safe cousins of the corporate world. But with changing technologies and customer expectations, recent years have made innovation a key component of the financial industry.

It’s an environment that has allowed Gunalan Nadarajah to thrive and explore new opportunities.

 

“I prefer to join teams that are newly created and at the startup phase in an organization,” he says. “This way I am at the conception of designing to process, framework and strategies.”

The 2007 graduate of the Management, Entrepreneurship and Innovation program has held roles in marketing, risk management, machine learning and even as the program manager of an office dedicated to “patentable innovation.”

“Our role as a team of inventors was to come up with patentable ideas for the financial space for 10-20 years into the future,” he explains. “We used the design thinking approach and leveraged my background in innovation and engineering.”

 

“Collectively with the team, I hold over 15 patents, with a number of pending applications.”

Nadarajah recently moved to Manulife Canada to work in the area of technology risk and control.

“We ensure our technology business groups are considering various risks and applying control to mitigate them,” he explains. “I enjoy the analytical component involved in managing risk and can bring my insights and experience from my previous involvement with technology teams.”

Away from the office, Nadarajah contributes time to non-profit organizations. He sits as a member of the board of directors of Halton Independent Living and is Director of Relationship Management for Ascend Canada.

He says he’s made career decisions that have provided balance in his life.

“Climbing the corporate ladder is not the only option,” he says. “Aiming to become an executive at an organization comes with lots of trade-offs. Personally, I wanted to have a great work life balance, so I have chosen the lattice approach versus climbing the ladder.”

“You can have a successful and fulfilling career without an executive title,” he advises students. “Do what works best for you - don’t stress yourself by trying to fit into someone else’s perception of success.”

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