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  • Role: Business Analyst
  • Location: Canary Wharf, London
  • University: KCL
  • Degree: Computer Science
  • Organisation: Credit Suisse

Kemi Taiwo

Overview of projects

At school I was not entirely sure what I wanted to do. I enjoyed a lot of my subjects so narrowing down the choice for A levels was difficult. I ended up studying Maths, French, Information Technology (IT) and History.

Whilst studying for my IT A level I found that I really enjoyed having to go out and find a real user with a real life problem that I had to solve with IT. It was also apparent that IT was an integral part of almost every industry.

For this reason I decided to study Computer Science at Kings College (University of London). I believed this would give me the opportunity to put my people skills and my IT and Maths skills to the test, as well as allow me to make a difference. The course was challenging and interesting. As part of my course, I took a year out in industry and worked for an investment bank in the Infrastructure side of IT. This was extremely interesting and my main clients were other IT teams.

When I was applying for a full time graduate job, I was interested in having an IT role that would be people facing, with a focus on people from both the business side and the technical side. I had the opportunity to attend an open day at Credit Suisse and found out about their IT programme, particularly around their job families.

Not only were there different departments in IT, there were also different job families that you could belong to, and most teams were made up of a selection of different people from each family. The job family is a description of the type of work that will be done (e.g. Project Management or Application Development etc). The “Business Analysis and Engineering” job family looked great to me as it was exactly what I was looking for, a role within IT which was business facing! The job title description is to “provide the key interface between users and developers … requires deep business knowledge across multiple business areas and a technical appreciation across a range of technologies. “

I joined Credit Suisse as a Business Analyst in Derivatives IT in July 2009 on the Technical Analyst Graduate program.

I began working in the Trade Capture Team who are responsible for looking after one of the systems that traders and sales people enter their trades into.

I currently work in the External Market Initiatives Team. This team is responsible for understanding and implementing regulatory actions whenever a new regulation is passed by one of the 27 regulators…which is often!

As a team we need to take the initiative and work out how to achieve what the business wants technically from a Front to Back perspective. This means the implementation of the project needs to cover the capture of trades into the systems and the processing of trades through to the downstream systems in settlements (payment handling) and documentations (confirmations). We have to work very closely with the business to ensure what is delivered is what is needed as there is no room for error. There are often tight, non-extendable deadlines.

I don’t have a typical week as it depends on the projects that I’m working on, but here are a few projects I’ve worked on:

Over the Counter (OTC) Clearing

I started on this project in October and it was my first large project. The market said that all banks needed to be able to process trades cleared through a central clearing house.

This was put in place to reduce counterparty risk on CDS (Credit Default Swap) trades to avoid a domino effect on other banks as occurred with the Lehman Brothers crash.

The market deadline for this was December 2009 for both Credit and Rates trades. The race was on! We had to look at our systems to see what we could use to handle these trades. Questions had to be asked! For example, we normally send a confirmation (agreement to a trade) to our counterparty (the person we agree the trade with), but now that there was a clearing house involved, the clearing house would send the confirmations out on our behalf.

We needed to put controls in place so additional confirmations were not sent out. On further investigation, we found that was the case for one clearing house; with a different clearing house, we would have to send out our own confirmations. We had to look into ways we could identify and tell the difference between each clearing house. We had to prepare for development, by drawing up explicit functional requirements and scheduling development and testing resources. I had to create a test plan and manage User Acceptance Testing.

The plan had to cover all possible scenarios we would face with clearing and had to contain tests to make sure the trades flowed through the correct systems and provided the correct output for each scenario. I found this was a huge responsibility because if something was not included in the plan it could become a problem later. Luckily everything was included, testing went well, and we were well placed and ready to meet the deadline!

Risk Challenge

Recently, the group of graduates were split into small groups of 5 or 6, the groups were mixed so people from different universities and departments within the bank were put together. Each group was given a topic on which they had to present at the end of a four month period. My group looked at “How the Investment Banking Model has changed as a result of the Credit Crisis”. Completing this project required a lot of research and time management skills- having to manage the project alongside day to day work.

We had the opportunity to reach out to people for opinions and information. This gave me an opportunity to expand my network by meeting key people within the organisation and working with other graduates. It greatly enhanced my business knowledge. The presentation was presented in front of an audience which included senior management, colleagues other graduates.

All in all, my role is both challenging and rewarding. I have developed an in depth knowledge of the business and technology within my department and Credit Suisse. I’ve built up a strong network within my team, other graduates and people I’ve met through the different projects I’ve been involved with. If you like people and you like IT, I recommend looking into a Business Analyst role.

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