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I’m Not Giving Up Anytime Soon

written by Sinéad Burke

Malay Bose began working in Bank of Ireland in 2006. Here he explains his reasons for choosing Ireland as his destination when relocating from India and showcases how he has championed diversity.

Malay tells me “I first came to Ireland from India in 2003 but emigration was also part of my parents’ life. They emigrated from what is now known as Bangladesh. Growing up, they were once a strong upper-middle class family, but they lost everything when India was divided and became refugees in their own country. Very quickly, their lives shifted from having domestic staff who could bring them a glass of water to then becoming employed in that role for other families. They both managed to educate themselves with all the hardships and secured good reputable government department jobs.  My mother worked incredibly hard, as did my father, but it particularly took a toll on her. Eighteen months before I left for Ireland, my mother had a stroke. Seeing her so unwell was such a shock to me. I wanted to make something of my life and for me; the only way to do that was to leave India.”

Ireland as a destination

I asked Malay what made him pick Ireland, pointing outside to the weather which was predictably grim and wet. He laughed and said that it was the Irish education system that was the deciding factor, explaining that “It is on a par with a lot of UK universities and yet, the courses are only a third of the price.” Malay spent two years studying in Ireland, one in Dublin Business School and the other in UCD. But even though third level education is less costly in Ireland than it is in the UK, as a non-EU student, it remains incredibly expensive and few have other options but to study and work. Throughout his time in college, Malay studied during the day and worked in a fast food restaurant at night. Interestingly he says, “I think it was my experience working in a fast food restaurant that got me my first role in Bank of Ireland. My education is hugely valuable, but so too are experience in customer centricity, relationship management and efficient working!”  

Championing diversity

Malay started working part-time in Bank of Ireland in 2006. To sustain himself, he continued to work in the fast food industry at night until he was awarded a full-time position in the Bank in 2008. He said that it was difficult, but it was sustainable because it had to be – his survival was dependent on it.  Malay’s career has been one of constant progression and he hopes to apply for the role of Community Leader / Branch Manager within the next eighteen months because as he explains “I have the potential to have a huge influence on how we speak to and accommodate customers who originate from outside of Ireland.” Boldly, I ask him to give me an example.

“There is an Indian restaurant in Dublin that is run by Bangladeshi people. I worked closely with the owner to support him in understanding the process and criteria for his mortgage application, which was ultimately successful. We had a shared cultural understanding and because of that empathy, I could relate to him and guide him through the process.”

Ensuring that someone meets the criteria for a mortgage is quite a significant example that proves the relevance and importance of inclusion and diversity, but Malay says that it is about the simple gestures too.

Bank of Ireland’s Multicultural Network

As Chair of the organisation’s Multicultural Network, Malay is committed to ensuring that the community delivers tangible benefits for colleagues and for customers. But he says, “it’s a big challenge – both in terms of logistics and education. I sometimes feel deflated by the amount of work yet to do but then again, I am resilient, tenacious and I am not giving up any time soon.” I completely believe him and am holding Malay to it.

About the author and this series of interviews

Academic, writer and rights advocate Sinéad Burke met with a number of our colleagues to present their lived experience in the context of the six Inclusion & Diversity employee support networks in Bank of Ireland. In these interviews, they share their perspectives and experiences of inclusion and diversity in work and life.

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