Meet Gergely, an Associate
Director in Budapest
He transferred from our London office to launch our 5th office in Budapest and now manages colleagues across both locations
What were the reasons for your move from London to Budapest? Were there people in the firm who encouraged/supported this decision?
Finalta was looking to establish an office in Central and Eastern Europe to be closer to our clients, as we work with many in this region. Due to my prior experience in a Hungarian bank, Finalta saw me as the right person to launch the Budapest office. On a personal note, it made sense for me to move back to Budapest as I have two youngchildren and it wouldn’t make sense for them to be in London if I, due to my work, spend most of my time in the CEE region. So, with the help of our Managing Directors Russell and David, I worked towards establishing and growing Finalta’s 5th office.
What are some of the main challenges you’ve faced while setting up Budapest?
The biggest set of challenges were all linked to logistical aspects of hiring a team in a new city. We had to create a team from scratch, and had a recruitment campaign which was exciting but also very challenging. We also had to look for good office locations and moved twice before settling in our current space. In contrast to the London office, the Budapest team is situated within McKinsey’s office, so I had to understand how McKinsey’s accounting, HR and IT departments worked.
Another challenge was obtaining the right collaborative structure as many of our projects were split with the London team. So, figuring out techniques to maintain a cohesive team was definitely a priority for me.
How has it been to remotely work with the London office?
Having a team split in two locations is a challenging set up to lead, and requires conscious effort and forward planning. It’s important to establish a rhythm with the people you work with in terms of how frequently you interact and what topics you discuss. I make sure that we have regular catch ups and an environment where the team feels comfortable to talk to me whenever. It is necessary for success to have a unified team and with project milestones such as kickoffs or training sessions, it is important to me that everyone is in the same location to bond and share ideas.
How has working from Budapest benefited your career?
Working in Budapest has been a very unique opportunity for me to grow and develop, as I built and led a new team. It also helped strengthen relationships with clients as I canmeet them more frequently. Most cities we work with are within a 2 hours radius from Budapest, so it’s really no problem at all to meet face-to-face.
What is one memorable work-related experience in Budapest?
McKinsey approached Finalta to participate in a workshop for a one of the top 5 retail banks in the country. Finalta’s role was to bring in data-driven insights and discuss market trends. This opportunity allowed us to showcase what Finalta can do, resulting in the bank becoming our client and now participating in several of our projects. For me, this was a highlight of my Finalta career and this achievement really highlighted the impact Finalta’s work has.
What does the future look like for the Budapest office?
The vison would be to keep growing as team and drive impact and client relationships across Finalta. My aim is to keep Budapest as the Corporate Banking and Central and Eastern Europe hub. The first year proved that we are capable of this new set up. Now the focus will be on how to position Budapest within Finalta’s network as a knowledge hub. As London grows, the hope is that more EU projects be transferred to Budapest.