A Growing Bag of Tricks

Last Wednesday, I checked in thinking I was going to be continuing my report on European AI regulation, but as I was eating my breakfast, I was pinged by another one of my managers. He needed me to do an urgent excel-based project, and I had to adjust my calendar accordingly. This is one example of the challenge of having multiple managers. Each one of them is responsible for different operations within the business, which means that my work for each of them is different. I also have to be a good communicator. When I abruptly switch onto another assignment, I need to make sure that all my managers are on the same page about my workload and when they can expect tasks to be completed by.

That brings me to my next point, which is time management. There are two sides to this coin. I have to make sure that I am doing my 5 hours each day. Obviously, this is the agreement I have for my employer, but just as importantly, this is my way of making sure that I am getting the experience I need. The hardest part about this is waking at 6 in the morning but developing a morning routine is what helps me get into rhythm each day. It is also hard to stay on task when you are working on a computer with no oversight. To keep myself honest, after the first day of working on assignment and developing a decent idea of how fast I can work, I develop a schedule of what my goals should be for each day. That keeps me accountable and ensures and also makes my task more manageable by breaking it down into smaller bits.

However, the other side of the coin is to not overwork myself. Whether it is developing Consulting Academy (my student organization), attending workshops for my future employer BCG, practicing case interviews, or filling 2022 internship applications, I have a lot of other obligations in my life. I cannot allow myself to overshoot my 5 hours at Finance Innovation. Going back to the situation at the beginning of this post, I could have decided to do both tasks simultaneously, but that would have demanded more than my 5 daily hours, and ultimately that would have costed me elsewhere. I have to limit myself, and of course I leave time for leisure as well. Ultimately, I work hard so I can live happily.

Going over to the hard skills that I am learning at Finance Innovation, I am fascinated about the groundbreaking fintech developments that I am researching. So far, I have complete broad reports on major fintech developments and more in-depth reports about AI regulation, financial uses of spatial data, and social media’s relationship with finance. I truly feel like I have a front row seat to innovation in the finance industry, and the developments I am learning about today may well be the instruments that I will be using as I progress in my career. Or who knows? Maybe I will be the one to integrate these at my future places of employment.

I am also gaining a lot of experience in the software of choice in the business world – Microsoft Excel. Whenever I am given an assignment, I usually try to use functions to my job easier. Most of the time, I do not know the exact functions that I need to use.  However, with the Internet at my fingertips, I use those opportunities to learn on the go. Therefore, I always end each assignment with more tricks in my bag than when I started. Without a doubt, these tricks will eventually transfer over to work in the future. There is no question that Excel does and will continue to form a part of business going forward.

I would be remiss not to mention my language skills. Within the organization, I am in a unique position as someone who knows both English and French. With many European Union documents being written in English, my ability to summarize and translate these documents into French is a key function for Finance Innovation. Indeed, this has represented the majority of my assignments. Something interesting that I have noted is that after I translate text, usually the French version comes out significantly longer. It simply takes more words to communicate ideas in French. This can be somewhat of a challenge when I am trying to make each section of a document to a page or half a page; I always have to ensure that my English draft is much shorter than that. Unfortunately, opportunities to speak and listen to French have been somewhat limited, as most of my work is done independently and communication happens through email. However, I am glad to be improving my writing skills significantly. Importantly, I am being exposed to industry-specific vocabulary. These things enhance my ability to use French in a professional setting.

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