Learn how the Recharge program equipped Elakkiya Chandrasekaran, a decision scientist at PayPal India, return to the workforce after a five-year career break.
As a young systems analyst, Elakkiya Chandrasekaran was filled with anxiety when she started looking for a job almost a decade ago. Having taken some time off, the mother of a five-year old was worried that she would not be shortlisted for an interview because of the gap in her resume.
After applying for positions that ranged from internship to contract and full-time ones, she eventually got a call back from PayPal.
Tell us more about yourself – what led to your arrival at PayPal, and what do you do here in the company?
I had to take a five-year long career break after I got married. When I was ready to return to work, I applied to more than a hundred openings right from internships to part-time to full-time jobs. I was worried my resume would not get shortlisted because of my career gap.
My life completely changed when I got a call from PayPal. I was shortlisted for the Recharge program and invited for the launch event. I was not sure if I was a right fit for the program, but I wanted to at least give it my best shot. The launch event had many motivational female speakers, and I really felt inspired hearing their stories. After weeks of training programs and interviews, I was offered the job as an analyst in PayPal.
In the beginning, I was constantly anxious - worrying because I did not have the strong technical and domain knowledge that my peers had; all I had was the willingness to learn and take on the challenges. I was blessed with a supportive environment that included really understanding colleagues who helped me learn and gain confidence.
After almost five years at PayPal, I have received multiple awards and recognition for my work and was also promoted twice. The culture of learning has also encouraged me to further my education, and I graduated with a Master of Science in Data Science after completing my studies part time while I was working.
As a data scientist, I provide stakeholders with timely data driven strategic solutions. By building predictive segments, leveraging various data science and artificial intelligence models, creating rules layers across implementation platforms, and collaborating with the analytics teams for performance measurement read-outs, we can fine-tune strategies to address everchanging business dynamics and ensure collective success.
How does PayPal champion possibilities for you, and how do you try to champion possibilities for others?
Given that I am from a non-analytical background, all credit goes to my managers, mentors and peers for making me the successful data scientist that I am now. To bridge my gap in technical skills, I completed various training courses made available to PayPal employees through online learning platforms. In addition, I participated in various training camps organized by internal technical experts at the company.
PayPal not only helped me to hone my technical skills but also my soft skills. I try to give back everything I’ve learned by mentoring new joiners, volunteering in Unity, a community of employees driving positive culture change to achieve gender equity, to organize technical events and guiding colleagues who want to make the move to the data science field.
The Recharge program helped me become that independent woman that I set out to be.
Through the Recharge program, we encourage skilled technologists who have taken a career break for personal or family reasons to feel equipped to return to the workforce. Through Recharge, PayPal offers the opportunity to participate in a bootcamp and apply for a 6-week paid program geared toward helping qualified technologists make a smooth transition back into the workforce.
The program is designed to increase our inclusive technology workforce, while also giving individuals who want to return to work an opportunity to expand their experience and network. Recharge is part of PayPal’s ongoing commitment to build a strong and diverse organization as well as support and encourage women to pursue technical careers.
Looking for related PayPal Stories? Read here: Thriving at PayPal; In Pursuit of Passion