This month CF:G caught up with Cristina Pascalau, who's joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch through one of their FinTech graduate recruitment programmes. Cristina shares her experience of the application process and what she does in her day-to-day role.
Where and what were you studying before joining BofAML?
I studied at University of York. My course was MEng Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence with a year in industry.
What was the application process for the BofAML graduate programme like?
I found it to be quite a smooth process. I applied using the online application form, after which I was invited for an assessment centre. The assessment centre consists of both individual and group exercises, and it wasn’t nearly as stressful as I imagined!
The HR team made sure that we were kept up to date from the moment we submitted our application until we heard back with more information about the offer.
What are you working on at the moment at BofAML?
I work as part of the GMRT (Global Markets Technology) department and currently our focus is to successfully migrate all our legacy systems onto a new platform. This will allow us to be more reactive and efficient in helping our clients. It is a very challenging project as it requires coordination from multiple teams from different lines of business.
What is a typical day at BofAML like?
My day usually starts with the mandatory team tea break before diving in. Unsurprisingly, coding takes a big part of my day. But don’t imagine this as being stuck in a basement with no windows! There is more than coding to the job of a technology analyst. Apart from the tea breaks, there are meetings that I need to attend to. I’m lucky I work in a global company and this means you’re part of a global team. You have a call with someone in New York, then jump on a conference call with Houston.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
The challenges it presents both on the technical and non-technical side. Everything I work on requires me to get out of my comfort zone and speak to multiple teams in order to understand the bigger picture and not get stuck within my own mind-set. I enjoy that ‘YES’ moment I have when I find out the solution to something I obsess over. And it doesn’t last long till I obsess over something else … the cycle never ends! And I guess that’s the important bit, so far I did not have time to get bored.
Tell us about a woman in tech who's inspired you.
There are a lot of great women that have worked to shape and change the world of technology, either by actively developing new software or encourage younger women to pursue a career in STEM, one of such women for me it’s Danielle VanDyke. I’ve met Danielle at an event last year where she told us her story of becoming a Software Manager at Google. She opened up to us, a room of roughly 100 women, and walked us through her career, both the ups and downs. She spoke to us about the Impostor Syndrome, something that I myself struggle with and it felt very encouraging to hear that even someone in her position is not immune to it. In case you’ve not heard of it, people suffering from the Impostor Syndrome do not acknowledge their accomplishments and dismiss them as insignificant in comparison to others. To them, everyone around but them seems like a mini Steve Jobs. Hearing Danielle’s speech about her own struggles with the Impostor Syndrome was very refreshing and inspiring. I learnt from her talk that even though people around seem like they’ve got it all figured out, they probably suffer from the same insecurities. And just because you might be feeling insecure about something, it doesn’t mean that you’re not worthy of it or that you’re not doing a good job.
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