Long before FinTech became a buzzword, Bloomberg revolutionised and brought transparency to financial markets, beginning with the fixed income market in 1981. Since then, we’ve grown to become a leading source of financial information. I liken it to how Netflix has changed the way audiences consume TV.
I’ve been with the company for 25 years and this is the most exciting time because the financial markets are now so data led; people need to consume vast amounts of data in order to make decisions. Due to this, jobs within the markets are changing, with a greater demand for engineers and data analysts. Bloomberg remains at the forefront of change within the market and we actively hire for these roles, including at the entry level.
Finding the right match
I started my career at 18: I didn’t go to university; instead I took a job providing sales support for a financial information company. The financial markets interested me: how they fitted together, how and why people invest, and how technology was just beginning to influence the markets. I spent five years working for companies that weren’t a good match for my values and someone suggested I look into opportunities at Bloomberg if I wanted a change.
Everything I learned throughout the recruitment process for Bloomberg suggested that the company was close to my own ethics: it was a meritocracy; it had an amazing reputation for products and customer service; it was hugely successful; and yet it gave a lot back through Bloomberg Philanthropies.
It is important to find a company that has a culture that chimes with your values. Many employees come here because of the philanthropic work Bloomberg does. As I am passionate about social mobility, I have volunteered to serve as the executive sponsor for the black professional community at Bloomberg.
Preparing for leadership
My first role at Bloomberg was a traditional support account management role, running accounts and identifying opportunities for the sales person to follow up on. Within three years, I was running a team selling to banks and corporations; then I progressed to run regions. I also spent time on the operational side and in the electronic trading business. This is a company that recognises your performance and rewards you with opportunities that prepare you for a greater leadership role by giving you exposure to different sides of the business.
One memorable project I led was for our global support business. We needed to ensure that our customer teams could handle changes in the market and still provide a high level of service. We took what was fundamentally a large help desk and introduced changes to enable the support team to meet customer needs on a larger scale. This contributed to our progression from selling predominantly to single users (such as portfolio managers) to selling to enterprise-level buying teams, comprised of budget-holders from across the firm. These changes are now being reflected positively in our sales results.
Managing at scale
I currently manage our global sales organisation. My first priority is to build revenue streams: ensuring that the relationship with our customers is strong, setting direction for managers, meeting customers and looking at commercial agreements. In my job, I can make a difference on a wide scale.
I oversee a very large and diverse global salesforce and to manage that number effectively you need to put in place very strong direct managers. That enables me to maintain a view across our businesses and only dive into individual ones when needed. One of the biggest challenges is knowing how far you should go into the detail. To be able to understand what’s really going on, you need the ability to connect with individuals and to ensure that there is a great diversity of thought and backgrounds among teams.
Investing in you
My working hours are split between London and New York, with some time in Asia. I try to maintain balance in my life. I’m a fitness fanatic and when I am in London I cycle to and from work – I live about 12 miles outside of London. I get to the office early, check the markets in Asia, and then go to the gym. It is here where I do a lot of my thinking and plan what needs to be tackled immediately.
My advice to graduates isn’t revolutionary: invest in yourself. Eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. Work hard, but smartly. It’s always difficult to know which key skills have enabled you to progress. I am tenacious and have an element of resilience; if I fail, I will figure out why and try again. When you start out, it is the consistency of your work and behaviour in the workplace that will get you noticed. Aim to be regarded as reliable, well prepared and punctual.
At Bloomberg, we have an open mind about recruitment and we don’t require degrees. We look for someone with spark: someone who communicates enthusiasm for the business and is passionate about purposeful work. When looking at university students’ CVs, I like to see that they have a work ethic, evidenced through part-time jobs or similar. It’s also good to see variation in their extracurricular activities. The extracurriculars on a CV can tell you a lot about a candidate.
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