Desk-Talk: Sandra Chattopadhyay

We’re curious where you work and what your workplace looks like. So we’ve asked readers to show us their desk and reveal a few secrets. Here’s a look at Sandra Chattopadhyay's workplace at Gentwo in Zurich/Switzerland

Sandra Chattopadhyay was born in Heidelberg and raised in Southern Germany near the border to France. After finishing a degree in economics, she started her career at a major bank in Paris, worked for a British investment bank in Frankfurt, then moved to Switzerland where she held top positions in four international investment banks.

In 2019, she joined GenTwo as chief marketing & communications officer. The Zurich-based fintech company is regarded as a securitization expert – it enables its clients to securitize bankable and (formerly) non-bankable assets. Its mission is to build bridges between the traditional financial market and a new financial world, thus exploiting the full potential of the financial markets.

Sandra Chattopadhyay describes herself as a “global digital woman.” Her father has Indian roots, her mother is German, her partner French. There is a close connection to her father’s Indian family, who lives in Calcutta, despite the distance and cultural differences. One of her cousins sends a daily good-morning Whatsapp with pictures from his garden or from his way to work. On average, she travels to India every three years with her parents and her partner.

The financial specialist enjoys writing (“I am a storyteller”) and was head of content management and editor-in-chief of investment magazines published in German and French for six years. Sandra loves good food (of course, the man is French!), Berlin, and is an enthusiastic runner. Her running path is along Lake Zurich with a view of the snow-covered Alps.


1.  Home office or company space?

Company space.

2.  Is your desk generally organized or messy?

Generally messy. But it doesn’t help to put away many of these things every day. I need them all the time, really! Two screens aren’t usually enough for me to do everything efficiently, either. I was used to working on three screens with previous employers. The laptop you see I use when I go over to my bosses’ office for brainstorming. Or when I do home office to silently write an article for our blog or external media.

3.  What is your favorite thing on your desk?

That changes. Right now, it’s my physical bitcoin coin that symbolizes the digital crypto currency. And that’s simply because I’m back in a comfortable profit zone. Over a year ago I invested (quite heavily) in bitcoin. After only a few weeks, the price had risen sharply. But then, suddenly the so-called “crypto winter” came and the bitcoin price collapsed massively. I lost over 60% of my invested capital. Now the bitcoin price stands at over $9000 and I am again, after so short a time, in the profit zone. A proverb in the financial market goes, “One must be able to endure volatility.” To this I would add, “Close your eyes and keep going.” The coin has earned  being my favorite thing at the moment.

4.  For how many hours a day are you at your desk?

Depends on whether I’m on the road or working in the office. What I love about my job is that I can also meet a lot of interesting people at conferences and other events and be inspired by them. Meetings (with business partners or journalists) can also be held in restaurants or cafes. If I don’t have any appointments, I often work 9-10 hours at my desk.

5.  Do you eat at your desk or is it unimaginable for you?

At one of my early employers, my superiors wanted us to eat at our desks and only outside in exceptional cases. I always found that disgusting (smell + unhygienic). I swore to myself: never again! It’s hard to believe that I have now brought the unthinkable back to life myself. I started to eat at the desk from time to time. But only yogurt, muesli, and if there’s something sweet. No really big, steaming food. I promise!

6.  What did you hide from your desk when you snapped the picture for us?

The printed draft of a media release I’m preparing right now; a very important announcement regarding our company. Unfortunately, I can’t say any more about it, it’s a secret.

7.  And under the desk…?

There are several shoes, suitable for different purposes and occasions, ready to grab under the table. I usually change my shoes when I come to work. Over the last few years, my male colleagues have always made fun of my arsenal of shoes under the table. I choose to ignore them; at some point they’ll get used to it and not find it interesting.

However, my favorite thing below the desk is my hand-woven green Sundarban shoulder bag (a huge forest area partly in Bengal, India, and partly in Bangladesh:. I bought the bag last year during my excursion with my Indian family through the so-called Tiger Forest from a women’s cooperative. It is so unique, beautiful, and practical that I carry it with me every day to transport my shoes, umbrella, or other bulky items. Since it somehow looks South American, I am often approached in Spanish in the streets of Zurich.

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