How to Succeed On-The-Job at an American Firm

by MPOWER Financing | In Guides and Tools | 13 March 2023 | Updated on: March 13th, 2023

This is the final piece in a 4-part series about how Indians can better position themselves to interview and secure employment at an American firm. To read about how to interview at an American firm, click here.


Congratulations on getting your new job at an American firm! After identifying the company of your dreams, you’ve successfully submitted a resume and completed multiple rounds of interviews. But now that you’ve landed your dream job, how can you make sure that you’re successful?

At MPOWER Financing, we have a large, diverse, and growing team in Bengaluru and have invested in their on-the-job success. We’ve also helped many of our students land a job and thrive in the workplace through our Path2Success program. Taken together, we’ve seen what it takes for employees to be successful in the global workforce, and we want to pass this information along. These four tips will help you make a splash in your new job.


Do Your Research

Before your first day, refresh your knowledge of the firm by looking at their website and reviewing their recent news. Study the list of employees on their website or on LinkedIn to get a high-level understanding of the different roles, teams, and the geographic distribution of your colleagues.

Gorick Ng, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Unspoken Rules: Secrets to Starting your Career off Right recommends being able to fill in the blanks to these questions to understand how you fit into the broader organization:

  • [My employer/client] helps [X people] to [do X things] by [X methods]. 
  • Recently, [my employer] has been [pursuing X initiatives] to [accomplish X goals].
  • [My employer/client] competes with [X competitors] because [of X reasons].
  • As a(n) [X position], I help [the team/department/company accomplish X goals].

Answer these questions both before you join your team, and after your first two weeks. You will find the difference in your answers from one set to the next is interesting and informative.


Meet Your Team

Once you are in the company, get to know your teammates—not only through formal interactions planned by the human resources team, but by reaching out for an extra connection. Schedule an informal discussion over coffee or chai to hear about their experiences, or take a quick walk during a coffee or lunch break to gain insight in organization practices. Your small investment in a cup of chai can go a long way.

Your new colleagues may provide information that will help you do your job better or more efficiently, inform you on organizational politics, and help you understand how things get done at the workplace. It’s particularly helpful if you can connect with colleagues outside of your direct team: this will provide a unique perspective about the organization in addition to that of your immediate teammates.

A common mistake that new employees make is to find their cohort by region, language, skill set, or domain, and simply stick to interactions within that group. By limiting themselves his way, employees don’t benefit from the global or international culture that the firm has to offer. Everyone has their own comfort zone or natural affinity group, but it’s important to take advantage of the global nature of the company. One suggestion is to reach out to colleagues from other geographies (even colleagues outside your team) with a subject line “coffee chat” – a virtual version of a cup of chai. When you’re able to connect, make sure that you’re on video.


What Would You Say You Do Here?

When meeting your manager, make sure you have clearly defined key performance indicators (KPI). KPIs will ensure clear expectations are set between you and your manager and empower you to make your own decisions about the best ways to achieve these objectives. This will help you be clear on exactly how you will be evaluated, and will help you better understand who else at the organization is working towards the same goals.

Ng recommends asking your manager the following questions during your first week:

  • “What do you expect me to have contributed or accomplished / what would you like me to prioritize over the first month, quarter, and year?”
  • “What are your top goals over the next month, quarter, and year—and how can I help?”
  • “What have your highest performers done that you’d suggest I do as well to make your life easier?”
  • “How would you like to communicate and collaborate day-to-day and week-to-week?”


Speak Out and Provide Feedback

Finally, don’t be afraid to help the firm grow and improve. All multinational companies will want their high-caliber Indian colleagues to feel respected and valued, but may have cultural blindspots. You can help to remedy them.

Don’t hesitate to help the company make the office environment and practices more akin to the local cultural norms to make you and your colleagues more comfortable: your employer may thank you. Remember, great companies respect your “obligation to dissent.”

Starting a new job can be daunting—especially at a company with an existing strong culture or norms. Following the above tips can help you make an impact, reduce some of the stress that comes with a new job, and even give experienced employees a way to reset their work goals. Recognize what you bring to the company, learn from your colleagues, and expect to be flexible, and you’ll be well on your way to success in your new job. 

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