Did you do an internship at Credit Suisse before getting your job?
Yes, I did a summer internship in 2008, working in the EMEA management team which supports the Chief Information Officer (CIO). My major task was to project manage the development of a SharePoint website, which allows people to share and manage group documents, and present it to the CIO for feedback. The best moment was when I saw my site up and running on the intranet - it was a great feeling. At the end of the internship, I was offered the opportunity to come back on the graduate program in a similar role in technology within the TBP department (Technology Business Partners)
What's your current role, and what does it entail?
I'm an infrastructure delivery manager, which is a non-technical role in the Technology department. My team liaises between Infrastructure and Application Development, which are two of the biggest teams in Technology. When the business requires new or enhanced applications to support their needs, applications developers design the solution in conjunction with infrastructure. TBP are the first point of contact for application development for new requirements and enhancements to existing applications. TBP instigate and project manage delivery to completion.
What kinds of things do you do on a day-to-day basis?
The work I do is largely project work. Some projects take three weeks others might take three months depending on the complexity. When there's an IT project thatneeds to be done, I organise the kick-off meeting between my team and the requester. At the meeting, we'll discuss the requester's needs and document requirements. My team documents a design proposal which will then go through different stages of approval including the technical and financial requirements. On completion of the build-out of the hardware requirements, I facilitate handover to the application development team and assist in facilitating any issue resolution or changes required.
How is the technology department broken up into teams?
The IT department at Credit Suisse is made up of a large number of teams. Two of the main departments that I am involved in are infrastructure and application development. Infrastructure provides technical support across the bank, for example maintaining the current inventory, provisioning new hardware and engineering new technology platforms. Application Development works to develop and support the bank's IT systems.
Your degree was Engineering and Business - how did you become interested in finance?
Engineering and Business Management is a dual degree which involves both technical and financial modules. I was always interested in finance. After my second year, I did an internship at Credit Suisse which built my interest in finance and helped me make the decision to work in IT in the banking sector. I made an effort to go to different events at university - I remember going to a three-day event called the "Economic Summit" at Warwick. Different speakers came from different backgrounds to talk about finance and economics, and I made sure I was up-to-date on what was happening in that area.
How essential is a good knowledge of finance to your role?
Even though I have a "non-technical role", understanding the technology really helps me to do my job. An interest in finance is very useful in understanding how what I do makes a difference in the outside world, and also how it affects the bank. However, technical knowledge is not a pre-requisite to doing this job. If you have a relevant degree, it will help, but it's not essential. When I first started, I knew very little compared to what I know now. You learn everything on the job as there's various training programmes you can go on. The main thing you need is an interest in technology.
What advice would you give to students considering a career in technology at an investment bank?
Apply for the jobs you are interested in. If you have a genuine interest in technology and finance, you will learn a lot on the job. My advice to finance students is make an effort to go to IT related events, and IT students should make an effort to go to finance events to broaden their knowledge about the subjects.
Do you manage to keep a work/life balance?
My hours depend on the project on which I'm working. Sometimes I can have five very big requests or I could have 20 smaller projects; both would keep me equally busy. Generally I work from 8.30 - 9am until 6pm - the hours are relatively flexible. I do something different every evening - I often go to the gym after work, or meet my colleagues or friends for drinks.
I have made a lot of friends at Credit Suisse - mostly my fellow graduates who started in the same year as me. It's always easier to relate to others in the same boat. I can honestly say that I enjoy my life now more than university. My role it's challenging, motivating and I'm surrounded by brilliant people.