Year of Graduation: 2008
Current Position: Financial Analyst
Please give a brief description of your current position and where you're working.
I'm a Financial Analyst at IBM in Rochester, MN. The "Financial Analyst" title covers a wide range of job roles, and in my 3 1/2 years at IBM I've actually had three very different roles. In my current role I work in Pricing Methodology for North America. When a client comes to IBM for us to do some consulting work or to create a business solution, I help price out the solution to ensure that the deal is both acceptable to the client and profitable for IBM. This role also involves monitoring exchange rates (since IBM is a global business), and doing other analytical work on deals after they've been signed.
What path did you follow to arrive at your current job?
During the fall semester of my junior year at St. Ben's, I found a six month internship at IBM through the Career Resource Center. I completed the internship during the summer/fall semester of my senior year, and was offered a full time job upon graduation.
What skills are important in your field?
The most important skill is probably the ability to look at mass amounts of data without feeling overwhelmed! I use Excel on a daily basis, so any spreadsheet manipulation skills are helpful. Attention to detail and good communication skills are also key. Whether on the phone, through email, or in an instant message, you need to be able to ask clear questions and provide clear responses. Some new hires will come in apparently not realizing that the style used to write a business email is different than the style used while writing an email to a friend, which can be problematic.
What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career?
Some of my Econ classes, such as Econ 334, were key in helping me learn how to handle huge spreadsheets full of data, and all of them helped me develop the type of analytical thinking that a Financial Analyst role requires. The fact that I studied abroad while at CSB/SJU has also been beneficial. I talk to IBMers in other countries on a regular basis, and my study abroad experience has made me more empathetic to the fact that every country has its own business/culture norms, which might be very different to the business/culture norms in the United States.
What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job?
I like investigating and digging into issues to solve problems. Nothing's better than that "ah-ha!" moment when you've finally figured out the solution to something.