How did you first start in Financial Services?

My journey into financial services and consulting was definitely not straightforward. 

I am originally from a small city in North-East Romania called Piatra-Neamt where we have a ski slope – strangely enough, it was never open. During my last year of college I decided to study for my undergraduate degree in the UK. Following weeks of research, I applied to Coventry University for a BA (Hons) in Advertising and Business.

After a great three years I graduated and made the decision to move to London, initially starting my career in marketing by joining a growing marketing agency as a Marketing Executive, where I was promoted to Account Manager after two years. Four years into my career in marketing, and having seen the ins and outs of campaigns, account management, and running the business itself – I decided to make a career change, and also do a postgraduate degree to grow my knowledge and skills.

Having already had a taste of the marketing world (and because I’ve always wanted to work in the City!), I applied for the MSc in Finance, Banking and Insurance at the University of Westminster on a full-time basis, whilst continuing to work part-time at the marketing agency. The Financial Services industry has always appealed to me, and was one of the careers I wanted to pursue growing up; and what better place to study than in the global financial centre that is London?

As with any career transition, the first couple of years in the industry were hard work. I focused on developing a broader consulting skill set and proving myself across a range of challenging strategic transformation projects. My initial project covered technology delivery and testing / assurance for the migration of a business unit to a different legal entity. Since then, I have worked across significant technology replatforming programmes and global operating model / controls enhancements, working across Wealth & Asset Management, Banking, and Investment Banking. Currently I lead delivery of a new payments platform to enable a Bank to meet ISO20022 compliance.

Why the move to Consulting?

I wanted to apply the skills and experience I had built advising clients and managing projects in marketing to a wider set of challenges, and can truly say the decision to change careers was the best decision I have ever made for both my own personal and professional development. Since starting out in consulting I have worked on a wide range of projects and also built deep subject-matter knowledge in the Payments space – and now co-lead our Payments consulting practice in the firm.

Away from the office…

My biggest passions outside of work are going on long walks with my dogs, Luna and Mario, who are true Beagles in their stubbornness and curiosity; and travelling to new places to enjoy the local cuisines, meet new people, and learn about different cultures.

Favourite books, tv series, or podcasts?

On books and tv series, I admit I don’t have much time to read / watch anything new at the moment, but a couple of my favourite TV shows are Friends, Game of Thrones, and Grey’s Anatomy – all great to unwind after a long day at work!

On podcasts, I’ve recently started listening to Coaching for Leaders. It gives very focused insights on how to become a better leader, how to manage your emotions, speaking up, and prioritising not only workload but work / life activities.

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Any advice for people looking to start their careers in consulting?

Understand what keeps you motivated and what challenges you, and look for consulting opportunities that align with your ambitions. It is also critical to understand what consulting is about to understand if this is the right career fit – there are lots of good resources online that provide insight into the industry.

In consulting you build long lasting relationships, continuously develop knowledge, and improve both quantitative and qualitative skills… and it’s always a challenge. If that motivates you, get stuck in and see where it takes you!

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