Meet the team: Aparna Vanapalli
By | 10th November 2023
Aparna Vanapalli joined Chubb as a graduate, eight years ago. Since then, she’s been on quite a ride; studying, travelling and becoming an integral part of the strategy and development team. We sat down with Aparna and asked her a few questions about her journey to date.
Tell us about your role at Chubb?
I am a Strategic Planning Manager working within the Strategy and Development Team at API International based out of Staines. Strategy has always been an interest of mine, so I was keen to play a part. Day-to-day, I work on projects that focus on global business growth and the company’s strategic direction; I look at the market to track potential opportunities that help mitigate risks while working with teams to leverage our strengths to future-proof our business.
When did you start with the company?
I’ve been on an amazing journey since joining Chubb back in 2015. I was still at university when I was selected to join the company’s graduate trainee engineer programme; I was 1 of just 14 students chosen from across the five top-tier universities in India, so I felt very excited.
In my first 12 months, I had the opportunity to move around and experience different business functions. That exposure really helped me gain a well-rounded perspective on the business end-to-end. Later, I joined the operations function to lead the planning, forecasting and commercial operations teams within Chubb India.
How has Chubb supported you with your development?
I am an engineer by training, but as I progressed at Chubb India, I became increasingly interested in business strategy and realised I wanted to pursue an MBA.
I applied to a business school in Birmingham and handed my notice in at Chubb, but Amitava Biswas (Chubb India MD) happened to discuss with Andrew White (Chubb CEO), and he got in touch to support me in this journey. I had the opportunity to speak to Andrew about my career progression, interest in strategy and education plans. He offered me the chance to stay with the business and do the MBA as part of the company’s employee scholar programme.
I am forever grateful for the opportunity Chubb gave me. I focused my dissertation on business expansion strategy and, once I graduated, joined the global team based in the UK. I look forward to going that extra mile to give back this organisation that supported me in this journey.
Do you have any further education programmes planned?
Right now, I am done.
Having an MBA was on my ‘under 30 bucket list’ and Chubb helped me meet that goal. Plus, I’m really enjoying the challenges I’m being set by Chubb and am taking advantage of its internal education programmes.
What else was on this bucket list?
Travelling! As part of the MBA, I got to travel to Mexico for an experiential module in international business. I then extended my stay and visited Cancún. It was a wonderful experience, allowing me to meet new people, network and learn. Plus, I had a lot of fun!
Chubb places a great emphasis on its mission and the values our people embody. Which of Chubb’s values do you most identify with, and why?
Bring Energy to Challenges.
I always want to push myself and face challenges where I know I can make an impact. While I was doing well at Chubb India, and I was comfortable – I didn’t want to settle down, I wanted to take on something new and push forward. I never want to regret having not done something.
What three words would you use to describe your leadership style?
It’s important to balance work and wellbeing – what do you do outside of work to relax and/or look after yourself?
There are two sides to me. At work I am very committed to my job, and I want things to get done. Outside of work though, I have a fun side, I enjoy shopping and taking photographs. I take plenty of pictures! I also paint. It’s my childhood hobby – I do acrylic paintings of portraits and landscapes.
If you had one specialist subject, be it niche or broad, what would it be?
In work it would be analytical thinking and problem solving. In my personal life, I am a big fan of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, it’s my go-to television show and I never get bored of it. Cooking would be another forte of mine; I make a wicked Chicken Curry. It’s spicy but it’s so good – I’ve made friends because of that curry.