Graeme joined Finalta as an Analyst in 2012
Now an Associate Director, he pushed himself out of his comfort zone and transferred from London to help set up our Chicago office
How would you describe a typical day at Finalta?
A typical day varies depending on where we are in our 6-month project cycle. The first few months are largely spent on client calls (as many as five clients on any day), and storyboarding our final outputs. The next months are spent talking with clients and analyzing data, both at an individual client and macro project level. The final months are spent with the team creating customized deliverables for each client and presenting these to senior stakeholders at the bank. Throughout the project you will likely find me in career development conversations with my team, supporting with business planning conversations, developing products for future project cycles, and in the ping pong room when time permits. No two days are the same!
As a Manager what are your main responsibilities?
As a Senior Manager I have a wide variety of responsibilities. These include: leading large projects of ~30 banks to time and quality targets, overseeing multiple client relationships with senior stakeholders (SVP and above), writing and presenting impactful and customized client work, developing and selling new products and inputting to overall business strategy. Another large part of my role is managing and mentoring an awesome team of Analysts.
What are the main challenges you face in your role?
We differ from standard consulting in that we serve multiple clients at any given time (and are primarily based in our office rather than working at client sites). It is challenging to juggle multiple relationships (12 in my case) to remember all relevant context and delicately manage conflicting priorities.
How have you grown at Finalta?
The biggest change has been in my confidence. I have transitioned from someone that was shy and nervous speaking in front of colleagues to somebody that thrives in commanding a room of 20 senior executives.
What is something that you wish you had known before joining Finalta?
That my opinion mattered regardless of my position. I was trapped in the common pitfall of trying to keep my head down and deliver the work that was asked of me. It was close to a year before I started to express myself more, offer conflicting opinions, and ultimately perform a lot better in my role as a result.
Thinking back over your time here, what is your favorite memory?
It would have to be my transfer from our London office to help found our Chicago office. You can’t imagine anything like it for pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, but I grew so much both professionally and personally and had a LOT of fun along the way!
How would you describe the culture here?
There are three main words I would use to describe the culture here. First, entrepreneurial. We encourage ideas from within the team -be that new product design, a smarter way of working, or an improvement to the social aspect of the office. If you see something that can be bettered then it is your obligation to raise that and play a role in growing the company. Second, collaborative. All project and client work is completed in small teams. We have a very flat hierarchy and it is not unusual to find yourself pitching ideas to multiple Directors within your first few months! Third, social. I am lucky to work with a group of colleagues that I also call friends.