Fidelity Investments’ Benie Mambouana talks about her introduction to the world of fintech and shares some advice for tech graduates.
One of the most exciting parts of the tech industry is how early-stage professionals can start out on one path, only to discover a whole new area that they want to explore.
That’s what happened to Benie Mambouana, who did a four-year bachelor’s degree in games design and development at Limerick IT, which is now part of Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest (TUS). She now works as an associate software engineer at Fidelity Investments.
“I’d never heard of fintech until I did a six-month work placement at a small fintech start-up in Madrid,” she told SiliconRepublic.com.
“It was there that I realised that I no longer wanted to pursue a career in the games industry. I knew I still wanted to have a career in information technology, so I started putting my focus on becoming a software engineer. I soon managed to land a great opportunity with Fidelity Investments. That was my full-circle moment.”
Mambouana said she chose the tech industry because of its continuous learning opportunities. “I like change and can easily get bored. This is the aspect of the industry that most appeals to me,” she said.
“One of the things that stood out to me about Fidelity are the learning days. Fidelity believes in continuous learning and have a learning day once a week to give employees an opportunity to develop their skills in order to advance their careers.”
‘In this field, I believe it is critical to have an open mind’
– BENIE MAMBOUANA
With Fidelity Investments’ graduate programme, are you now working in the type of job that you wanted?
Definitely! One of the amazing things about the Leap immersive technology graduate programme was the weekly meetings I had with my manager to discuss my interests and what areas I would be interested in pursuing.
My manager would keep track of this information to make sure that I was placed in the most suitable role after I completed the programme.
I didn’t make it easy for her since I was constantly changing my mind as the programme progressed. But that’s what the Leap programme is all about. When you start it, you may have a set career path in mind, which may or may not change once the training is complete.
Can you describe a typical day in your role?
At 8.30am, I usually start my day by logging on, checking my emails and looking at my schedule for the day. At 9.30am, my team uses the agile methodology and we have a 15-minute daily scrum meeting to discuss things like what we did the previous day, what challenges anyone is facing and how to possibly overcome those issues.
From 10am to 12pm, I typically write out a list of my to-dos for the day and work on my tasks up until lunch time. We work in two-week intervals called sprints. I use the two weeks to get my tasks done and at the end of each sprint we have sprint planning where I get assigned new tasks from our backlog.
After lunch, my team has a daily catch-up meeting. This allows us to discuss any obstacles that we’re facing in more detail than the scrum meeting would allow. It also gives us the opportunity to peer-review our work.
From 2pm to 5pm I continue to work on my tasks or attend any meetings that have been scheduled in the afternoon.
No two days are the same in my role. Sometimes I’m on Zoom calls with my colleagues from the US and other times I could be in the office during a team connect week.
Have your responsibilities and workload changed since you finished the programme?
Since finishing the Leap programme, I’ve taken the skills I learned and started applying it to my role. I also made my team aware of my skillsets after I’d joined so that my workload would align with my skills.
This has helped me immensely because my tasks have steadily been increasing in difficulty based on the new skills I pick up. Everyone on my team has a more senior role than me, so I get the opportunity to learn from them on a day-to-day basis.
Did the graduate programme prepare you for working life?
Besides technical skills, one of the most important skills I have improved upon during the programme is how to work well with others.
Given that the new norm is now working from home, it is crucial to have good collaboration skills as well as communication skills.
Would you recommend the graduate programme at Fidelity Investments to others?
This programme helped me illuminate any initial anxiety I had about starting my career. The industry is so vast and sometimes you can’t help but feel like you will you be thrown into the deep end when starting out a new job.
The Leap programme is perfect because you start it with a group of other graduates that are all in the same boat as you. Your mind is put at ease from the first day.
I would whole-heartedly recommend the Leap programme as I’ve learned so much and met some amazing people that I’m able to call my friends.
Is there any advice you’d like to give to future graduates or those just starting out?
If you’re just starting out, try to work on a variety of problems. This will assist you in determining your interests and abilities. In this field, I believe it is critical to have an open mind; what you may enjoy now may change in the future.
Last but not least, don’t let your pride keep you from learning from others. Otherwise, you’ll hold yourself back from achieving your full potential.
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