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  • Bio: Chris completed a PhD at Bristol University and is now a Director for Credit Suisse in their London office. He has enjoyed successful secondments to Japan and New York.
  • Role: Director
  • Location: London
  • Organisation: Credit Suisse

Chris Haworth

Starting out

I studied Physics at Bristol University and started my final year without knowing what I wanted to do for a career. I attended many presentations and spent countless hours reading recruitment brochures without being grabbed by any one industry or firm. However, I had enjoyed my course and so started looking into consultancy companies that covered science and engineering projects. It soon became clear that most of these firms were quite small, specialised, and had a preference for candidates with doctorates. My tutor offered me a postgraduate place on his team, and I spent a very happy three years working on my PhD.

I was then lucky enough to be offered a fellowship in a Japanese research institute near Tokyo. I was still interested in scientific consulting, despite a number of my friends being tempted to go into investment banking, but the chance to live in Japan was too good to turn down and I hoped it would boost my CV.

Choosing the right path

I worked in Japan for around 18 months but needed to return to the U.K, not least because my fiancé had taken a year out to come with me and we wanted to get married in England. I started looking for consultancy jobs but saw an advert for the IT Graduate Program at Credit Suisse. As I had a strong background in computing from my previous work I decided to apply, although I was not expecting to get very far. Things moved surprisingly quickly and I was offered a job.

I was assigned to the IT Trade Floor Support team; we were responsible for fixing any IT issues that the traders had to make sure their systems ran as smoothly as possible, covering support as diverse as printing issues to customising complex trading applications. It was a great place to learn the business of a bank as well as learning about IT itself. I turned down the option to rotate into different teams in order to specialise in market data and the new electronic trading systems, which were a fast-growing part of the industry. This helped me get a promotion to run my own team and after another year I was asked to move to the New York office and set up a similar team there.

The ‘Big Apple’

I spent the next two years gaining more knowledge by working with electronic trading systems, during which time I was promoted to run all external data connectivity for the New York office. This involved a split between project work such as deploying data connections to new clients or exchanges and support for when things went wrong. A major part of the role was to improve the reliability of our systems and their resilience at times when a hardware component failed, which meant understanding each system end-to-end, modeling the likely failure scenarios, then designing and implementing the best ways to protect against those failures. This helped me learn much more about technology infrastructure in general and after another year I moved to a new role setting up a cross-discipline technical project team responsible for designing the IT infrastructure for new business requirements. This was a fantastic opportunity that exposed me to other areas and teams that I hadn’t worked with before; it was another great learning experience.

Looking to the future

Most recently, I moved back to London and I am now responsible for the firm’s UK data centres. Once again this is a new area for me and I am developing new skills. This is just one of the attractions of working in IT at Credit Suisse – we are an integral part of the business and cover all aspects of Information Technology, from coding to finance, from project management to running data centres. Working within the finance industry is definitely challenging, but there is always an opportunity to learn and I recommend this career to anyone with a strong interest in computing and finance, a good work ethic and good problem solving skills. My firm strongly encourages staff development and mobility, whether between teams and disciplines or between offices, so there are lots of opportunities for me to think about in the future. My career is really mine to drive forward.

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