Arunn Baskaran

Came from
Current position
Business Risk and Controls Officer

From the warm climes of Southern India to Lithuania’s bustling business scene, Arunn’s journey is a masterclass in ambition. Starting as a student, he quickly climbed the ranks from an AML Associate to a Senior Officer. He is currently thriving in his role as a Business Risk and Controls Officer, looking ahead to further advancements in his career.

I’m not scared of taking chances. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. For example, I have my daily tasks to do, but if I feel there’s a little more that I can do, I’ll do it. I always take the opportunity to grow.

What brought you to Lithuania?

I first came to Lithuania in 2018 to study for a Master’s in Engineering and Innovation Management. Before coming, I’d done a lot of research and figured out that in terms of cost and quality, studies in Vilnius were a great fit for me. 

How did things develop from there?

So, while I was doing my degree, I started doing an internship in the business development sector at Efektas in Kaunas. This kind of inspired me to switch my attention a bit, so alongside it, I decided to pursue a degree also in business management. This became my second Master’s, and by organising my time, I was able to do it on time.  It was during the semester when I was working on my business Master’s that I received the offer from my current employer, Danske.

How was the relocation experience for you?

Well, it was a bit different. I came as a student, and pretty much have had to organise everything for myself. I had a student visa to begin with, then I got a work permit, and now I’m applying for a Permanent Residency. Of course, I can’t say it’s all been that easy as I was doing a lot of stuff during Covid. But things are moving a bit more quickly now and I’m getting the support I need. What is good is that coming as a student and working while I was a student has given me a chance to build a lot of friendships.

You’ve managed to climb the career ladder quite quickly, what’s your secret? 

First of all, I’m not scared of taking chances. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. For example, I have my daily tasks to do, but if I feel there’s a little more that I can do, in general, or for one of these tasks, I’ll do it. I always take the opportunity to grow.

It’s also important to take an interest in the job you do. At the beginning of the year, I always put together a list of the things I’d like to learn that are not related just to the tasks I do. Then through the year, I keep track to check what things I’ve learnt and implemented. And I compare what I have implemented against what I had expected to learn. If you want to grow, you need a strategy, you need a plan. And you need to keep track.

You’re working in the finance sector, a space that Lithuania has really made its own. What’s your impression?

Vilnius is a really good hub for the financial sector with lots of fintech companies and commercial banks.  And AML is a really good way into the sector, because it’s one of the critical tasks that every financial institution has to carry out. There’s also real scope for career growth in AML. But what I would advise is that, even if you are coming in at an entry-level position, you need to work on building an understanding of compliance in the financial sector in general. Coming back to what I said before, the key to moving forward is gaining knowledge that’s more than you need for your daily tasks. It’s useful to know just how compliance functions in the finance industry.

What stands out to you the most in therms of working culture in Lithuania?

Work-life balance is the most important thing that I see here. People have their own personal time instead of just working and working and working. They work when they have to work, and the rest of the time they relax and spend time with their families. So that is the biggest and best thing that I see here. 

What about the people here?

People are so open-minded here. I mean, I’ve heard that there is this belief that in Lithuania, people have this conservative mindset, but I don’t think so. I mean, people are open, and they are so welcoming. And I’ve been made to feel comfortable, wherever I’ve gone. Starting from the university where I was studying, to all the workplaces I’ve been in. Yeah, people are very open-minded and welcoming.

And what about the country? Have you had a chance to look around?

I’ve been to quite a few places. My favourites so far have been Nida and Klaipeda. I spent a few days there last summer and it was fantastic – warm and by the sea. You could also cycle everywhere and I like cycling. During the summer I take my bike out a lot, in and around the city. Vilnius is very green, and there are a lot of bike tracks down by the river and through the forests. I don’t take my bike out a lot in winter, but there are loads of gyms. I’d have to say that Lithuania is a very green country, and it’s perfect for people who are active and like to stay fit.

The interview was conducted in May 2024.