Neil S.

Operations Director
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Neil S.
Mathematics
Mathematics
Undergraduate
Alcuin
1999
United Kingdom

My employment

Operations Director
BNY Mellon
United Kingdom
Finance and consultancy
Large business (250+ employees)
1999

More about Neil

Commuter Student
LGBTQ+

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A day in the life of a Operations Director in the United Kingdom

I never expected to start as an Investment Performance Analyst, in fact, I never even knew that role existed whilst at university.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

BNY Mellon is at the heart of the Financial industry. Little known on the street, we work with businesses, communities, charities, governments and global economies to help them achieve financial success.

What do you do?

My fantastic teams of analysts directly help clients understand the financial impact of their investment decisions. We analyse investment performance results from one of the largest datasets in the world to draw insights that may assist decision making. I primarily set strategic direction for the teams, assessing business, regulatory and market direction, and I ensure appropriate Operational resourcing in-line with corporate goals. Employee recruitment, engagement and development is critical to the role, as is developing strong working partnerships throughout the organisation and industry. The role requires empathy, integrity and an ability to engage teams to deliver exceptional results.

https://www.bnymellon.com/emea/en/about-us/about-bny-mellon.html

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

As a graduate I loved working with numbers, analysing data and solving problems. When I was an expert in this field I started to train others, and found heavy satisfaction in seeing others learn and develop under my guidance. This led me to team leader and managerial roles, where I became more interested in Strategy definition and development, which ultimately led to the Director role.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

Job sector was envisaged BUT I never expected to start as an Investment Performance Analyst, in fact, I never even knew that role existed whilst at university.

Describe your most memorable day at work

Whenever my team have been awarded with company or client recognition. Seeing them on stage/screen and knowing that I was part of their journey.

Are there any challenges associated with your job?

Yes, countless and different every day - but that's what I like. Problem solving is a critical part of managing. Many challenges are unique and specific to the circumstances and the satisfaction comes from getting to the core details, piecing together the cause and effect, applying lessons learned from similar issues, and taking measured risks. Human Resource questions can be the most complex and unique, as each employee is unique. You must actively listen and be empathetic to stand a chance of helping your team mates.

What’s your work environment and culture like?

We generally work three days in the office, two days at home. Business casual clothing in the office, unless meeting clients. Being part of a 45,000 strong firm can feel overwhelming, so we have a strong team ethos that works hard and plays hard. We generally work 8 hours a day, Monday to Friday. Daily hours can be flexible, depending on imminent deliverables/projects. Overtime is requested about five days a month. We ensure all new starters have buddies, trainers and, later in their career, mentors and sponsors. Finance is heavily regulated, so integrity and trust are critical - as such the environment allows any employee to speak openly about mistakes, issues etc. without fear of retribution or penalty. We have a continuous improvement ethos - make the process better every day. As a Subject Matter Expert (SME) or Manager, you may get to travel globally to help achieve business goals e.g. train other teams, set up a new team. Travel to see clients could be required by any employee, but is rarely international.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

Vice-President of Alcuin Student council - Listened and responded to student questions and suggestions. Organised the Christmas and Summer balls. Involved planning, negotiating, coordinating, vendor relationships. Partnership with other colleges, the Students Union and, crucially, the university staff.

Sailing Crew - Full Colours. Strong partnership with the helm, comradery and respect with the broader team. Importance of equipment maintenance.

Mathematics Department - Mentor to younger students. Supported department events.

University Cleaning, Catering and Bar - I worked behind Vanburgh bar, worked in
Goodricke dining room, and was a cleaner across colleges both in term-time and for holiday conferences. Working during the Open University summer weeks was an experience!

What would you like to do next with your career?

Change of industry - maybe shift from finance to Leisure and Hospitality.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

It's not all about your degree content and grades. It is important to develop broader skills and experiences beyond your studies - be it part-time work, volunteering, sports, societies, Students Union etc.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

AMA!

Next steps...

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