My Working Day: Malathi Raja

28 November 2018

Malathi Raja works in Barclays’ Personal Banking Operations in Chennai, India. She talks to us about her 5am swim sessions, how she has helped others find work – and competing in international basketball tournaments  

My alarm goes off… at five in the morning and I start the day with a swim. I’m really into my fitness and, as a wheelchair user, I find that swimming significantly improves my physical ability. On top of that, it’s a great way to feel energised and ready for the day.

I’ll then take a company cab to the Chennai office around seven, where I’ll have a quick breakfast before getting started on my work.

I work in… Personal Banking Operations, which means I deal with requests from our savings and current account holders. I don’t communicate with our customers directly, but I am responsible for updating systems and sending information to customers based on the requests the bank receives.

Before working at Barclays… I struggled to find employment. I attended over 60 interviews, but employers would never take my application further due to my physical disability.

I knew I couldn’t be the only one that experienced such problems – and I didn’t want to sit around idly while searching for a job – so I started my own consultancy helping physically challenged people find work.

In 2016, a mentor of mine sent my résumé to the team here at Barclays and I was invited for an interview. It must have gone well, because they offered me the job and I was delighted to accept. 


The most difficult part of my job… is how busy it gets. The volumes are large, and as a team we’ve got a lot to get through. We all get given our own personal targets, and you need to be organised so you can stay on top of them.

Outside of work… I’m a very active person and particularly enjoy playing basketball. I play for the Tamilnadu wheelchair basketball team, who I’ve represented since 2016. We train twice a week and play both nationally and internationally which means lots of travel – this year we competed in a tournament in Bangkok.

I think there are so many benefits to playing sport, and since joining the side I feel both physically and mentally stronger. I used to see myself as someone who was physically challenged – but now, I consider myself an athlete.

On the weekend, I also spend time teaching children how to paint – it is a great way to unwind after a busy week.

If I wasn’t working for Barclays… I’d be doing something that allowed me to help others. I had my consultancy, and I have previously worked in special needs schools, so it would probably be something along those lines.