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How to become a projects & change specialist?

With increasing legislative pressures being placed on banks, there is increased demand for regulatory projects specialists. We spoke with an experienced change management contractor who works in financial services to find out more about his career. Could this be a role for you?

How did you get into project work?

I originally enrolled on Ernst and Young’s graduate scheme, which lasted for four years and enabled me to get involved with a range of consultancy and finance projects. Afterwards, I moved to New York for a year to complete the Mount Batten programme, where I got into project work for investment banks.

I really enjoyed the variety of the projects and the fast paced atmosphere so completed a PRINCE 2 project management training course to allow me to build on my experience once I’d moved back to the UK. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been working on projects for a range of international investment banks in London since February 2010.

What does your current project involve?

With increasing legislative pressures being placed on banks, there is increased demand for regulatory projects specialists. 

With Lean and Six Sigma both growing in importance as the measures of trust and quality within financial services, I took time off contracting to qualify as a Lean Six Sigma black belt. In my current role this helps me instigate re-engineering processes within the bank. I am also responsible for automating risk and performance metrics, overseeing cancelled, amended and late trades and unconfirmed and unvalidated trades. Once a project finishes, an automated e-mail containing specified reports will be sent to managers’ inboxes each week.

How did you find your current role?

Having completed the Mount Batten programme, I attended a seminar hosted by Robert Walters for Mount Batten candidates who had returned to London. I was very impressed with Robert Walters overall – they have a wide range of contacts at leading organisation, which allows them access to the best roles in the market.

The information and briefing that I received from my consultant prior to my first interview was very useful – I knew exactly what the role entailed and what to expect from the interview. I have used Robert Walters each time I have been looking for a new opportunity and they found me my current contract.

What appeals to you about working as a contractor?

I think there are benefits and negative sides to contracting. Ultimately you are there to do a job and as such you aren’t deemed as loyal as a permanent employee, which means you are left out of any performance ratings. However, the rates are competitive and the flexibility is great. I can progress through taking roles with greater responsibility when it suits me, and can move onto a new challenge if I wish to.

As a project manager, I really like the idea that I never do the same thing twice. Overall, it’s much more varied than a lot of other jobs within a bank.

What qualities do you think a contract project specialist needs to be successful?

It is important to have strong communication skills as you’ll usually be working with lots of different stakeholders at all seniority levels on a daily basis. Working well under pressure in a fast paced environment is also important, and you’ll need to be able to pick things up very quickly.

Are you interested in pursuing a career in projects and change management? See the latest opportunities available from Robert Walters.

Do you have compliance change management experience? Professionals like you are in demand - find out more.

 

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