Executive Director/Vice President,
Irp Sales & Trading Svs
Operations Division, Tokyo
Operations Division, Tokyo
Chatham, Kent, England
University of Oxford
While studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Oxford, I was unsure of my ultimate career path, knowing only that I wanted to work in London. I participated in two summer internships with other investment banks, the first in technology and second in credit trading. As a STEM student, these internships appealed to me as the skillsets needed for those roles were quite similar to my course and what I enjoyed. After graduating though, I decided I wanted to do a ski season before starting my career, so instead applied for short term contract work in Goldman Sachs’ Operations Division in London in 2005. I was offered a full-time graduate position after a couple of months and, enjoying the role, decided to stay, and never did get round to doing a ski season.
At Goldman Sachs, your career starts quickly and you get a lot of exposure early on. Training is a combination of classroom based sessions, online resources, and on the job training. New graduates are assigned buddies to help them navigate their first year and get to know the ropes. I personally found that people get to take on responsibility at an early stage, often managing and overseeing functions in their first year.
Working in Operations appealed to me because it involves a lot of problem solving. On the technical side, we’re faced with challenges such as designing protocols to support new products, or thinking about how can we optimize our control framework. In projects like these, you can really see how your work makes a difference. From an organizational perspective, we need to continually think about what the optimal organizational structure looks like, and what are the best opportunities and challenges to give to people. In my current role I oversee the Asia Middle Office teams supporting the FICC Macro trading and sales desks, which includes things from managing the day to day support for the business to figuring out how we can support new business opportunities.
Since Operations interacts with functions across the firm, there are many opportunities to engage with different people who bring diverse perspectives to the same issue. In this sense, a career in Operations offers a good balance between gaining an understanding of and working directly with the markets while developing organizational and softer skills that are transferable to many different roles.
During my career at Goldman Sachs, I’ve worked in three different roles in two countries, spending the first five years in London and the last seven years in Tokyo. When working in London I was looking for a new opportunity, but at the time I hadn’t really considered the possibility of working or living abroad. One of the advantages of working for such a global organization is that opportunities you don’t expect or that you weren’t actively looking for, can suddenly present themselves. While moving to a new country can be challenging, especially if you don’t speak the language, there are a number of benefits such as increasing your cultural awareness and the chance to get involved with different and exciting markets. Tokyo is a great city to live in with lots going on and I’ve had a lot of fun here over the last seven years. But having coming from the temperate climate of England, I still haven’t got used to the humid summers here!