Career fulfilment, vision and socially impactful: why Bloomberg is more than the sum of its considerable parts
Who or what is Bloomberg? You may have it down as a financial data provider, a website for tapping into business news or a technology company set up by the three-times mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. Two employees explain how Bloomberg is more than all of the above and why it’s an inspiring company to work at.
When Bloomberg Analytics Team Leader Sion Reeler-Ballin graduated he admits he had no particular career in mind. American-Danish, and bilingual in French and English, he studied for a degree in political science and economics from McGill University in Montreal. Sion was born in Geneva, had grown up in France, attended university in Canada, and returned to Europe post-graduation. A period in recruitment consultancy followed but he wasn’t feeling fulfilled. When a friend at Bloomberg gave him insights into the rigorous training programmes there, and how seriously it invested in its employees’ careers, the contrast felt palpable.
At the heart of the finance and tech space
‘I was so keen to learn and he told me that Bloomberg was a great place to have a career in the world of tech and finance,’ remembers Sion. ‘Bloomberg is information and data, but also solutions such as risk management solutions, reporting, forecasting and compliance tools to the financial industry, by which I mean anyone who is making investment decisions such as large asset managers, pensions funds and high-net-worth individuals managing their own portfolios,’ Sion says.
He was also a little starstruck by the technology his friend showed him, not least the cutting-edge Bloomberg Terminal – which allows its 350,000 users to connect with each other, find data, news and insight and operate on the financial markets. 'You wouldn’t necessarily know about the Terminal unless you sit within the world of finance and, within the world of finance, we really are at the heart of the technology. We are a one-stop shop where you will find a wealth of financial industry news and data critical to investors, banks and asset managers.’
A variety of career opportunities
Data Specialist Natasha Mawera, bilingual in English and Shona, comes from a different background, yet there’s common ground between her own story and Sion’s.
‘I studied, maths, physics and chemistry at A Level with people who were super-excited to go on to being engineers and doctors,’ she says. ‘While I thought those were cool careers, I knew they weren’t for me.’ Instead, she applied to study finance at Swansea University.
‘I’m from Zimbabwe and the economy there has been struggling, so it felt like a way of getting a better understanding of financial systems with the hope that one day, somehow, I would be able to help people back home live better lives,’ she says.
Her knowledge of Bloomberg centred on its news and media operations and she had little idea of its other core activities.
‘It was a stroke of luck that I found the company. I was part of a charitable organisation called Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) and they held a Bloomberg Data department webinar that I still don’t remember signing up to,’ she laughs. ‘I received an alert for it and thought it only right to attend, as I’d said I would. I wasn’t sure if there would be space for me, as I assumed it would be more fitting for data scientists than finance students. The thing that stuck from that webinar, and I still use it as an explanation for what I do, was the difference between a Data Specialist and a Data Analyst within the context of Bloomberg. A Data Specialist leads with financial knowledge and a Data Analyst leads with technical expertise.’ What Natasha soon learned about Bloomberg was that it is a place where career opportunities span a variety of options, including finance, data, sales, engineering and user support.
With that, Natasha advises prospective job applicants to be aware what Bloomberg is not and to bear that in mind as they apply to the firm. ‘It isn’t an investment bank, it’s not an asset management firm. You do engage with finance but you’re not investing and you’re not a trader. Once you understand that, you will know the kind of skillset that you can build within Bloomberg and how career growth works within the context of the firm.’
Multicultural with diverse thinking
Both Natasha and Sion appreciate the diversity of thought and multicultural nature of their workplace. Other key plus-points include Bloomberg’s high-tech and award-winning ecological office building in the heart of City of London, and the ethos of company founder Michael Bloomberg, whose philanthropic projects are woven into working life.
‘That was a big differentiator for me,’ says Natasha. ‘The company itself drives sustainability, and thinking about more than just ourselves, which is obviously a beautiful philosophy.’
Environmental impact and social governance
Sion particularly values working for an employer with strong environmental credentials.
‘As well as expediting the finance industry’s focus on environmental and social governance (ESG), it’s been Bloomberg’s focus for a number of years, even before regulations were implemented. We educate our clients, making sure they know how important ESG is both from a regulatory standpoint but also from understanding that this is what people want and expect.’
Natasha gives the example of quantifying the environmental impact of a company and its operations as one of the ways Bloomberg provides transparency to its clients.
‘We have an ESG team that is expanding our ESG database, for example by highlighting greenhouse gas emissions. Looking at that information on the Terminal clients want to understand the context and the data sources and that’s what we are there to help them do,’ she says.
Leadership now and in the future
Sion points out the term ‘fast-paced environment’ is often used within corporate organisations, but that at Bloomberg it means something unique. ‘It is largely due to the nature of our work and the speed at which the markets move. It is critical we are at the forefront, to best serve our clients and to ever grow our business,’ he says. ‘All in all, I would say what makes Bloomberg a dynamic place to work is its company culture – its multiculturalism, its investment into learning opportunities and, of course, the engagement with clients and your peers. There’s little hierarchy, with no office doors, adding to the buzz when senior leadership or well-known politicians are in the building.’ Even Michael Bloomberg’s desk is part of the open plan design.
Natasha appreciates the access to leadership teams enabling her to ask questions or exchange ideas with a colleague, or to request a chat over a coffee with a senior. She’s also learned the significance of her own knowledge and background within her team.
‘Even though I didn’t come in with a strong technical skillset my perspective has still been shown to be valuable, so I think your difference can always be an advantage, even unfamiliar environments,’ she says, adding that she has gained professional qualifications since joining.
More than a career
As for career prospects Sion can see opportunities throughout the company. ‘It’s done by design here. Bloomberg wants fresh ideas and fresh pairs of eyes in different departments, so you’ll find someone who was leading in APAC (Asia-Pacific) is now in a global role; a person in sales is now in analytics,’ he says. That multi-faceted experience he dubs a ‘Swiss Army knife’ approach to leadership.
‘You’ll get lots of time and teaching invested in you in Bloomberg’s environment. You’ll work with bright, friendly people. You’ll develop friends, colleagues, a network and a deep understanding of both the financial industry and how clients work day to day,’ he says.
Natasha finds the people she works with are intelligent, interesting and, above all, plain nice – something she puts down to the culture and the sense of fulfilment employees get from their work and the ability to volunteer and take part in its philanthropic activities.
‘Others might get that from just doing something for profit, but I want to feel I am making a meaningful contribution to society, while developing my skills so I have important building blocks for wherever I go, within Bloomberg or beyond, in the future,’ she says.
Bloomberg: a place where you can grow a career
Sion and Natasha are clear. Bloomberg offers you the opportunity to launch and grow a long-term career right at the centre of finance and technology in a global and truly diverse workplace culture. But that’s not all: it gives you the opportunity to give back and to make a difference to the world around you.