UBS: you & them

Lydia Monnington interviews Julie Chakraverty, Global Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities Chief of staff at UBS

UBS is a leading global financial services firm specialising in asset management, commercial banking, investment banking and wealth management. It employs 72,000 people in 50 countries

1. Could you tell us about your position within UBS and what it involves?

I head up a division of around 4,000 people, working closely on all aspects of strategy and day-to-day business issues. I also lead our global portfolio analytics and e-business platforms, which involves producing solutions for UBS clients. There, the UBS Delta product which my team developed has won many industry awards. Lastly, I am the gender diversity advisor for the investment bank in Europe, and chair our UK women's network, 'All Bar None'. The network was set up to offer career development and networking opportunities for all employees, men and women, and to foster an open minded and inclusive culture throughout the firm.

2. How does the women's network achieve its aims?

Examples of our events include an annual leadership conference, an annual high-profile female client event, and numerous development programmes throughout the year ranging from public-speaking practice, speed-networking, acting-based classes, to skills development workshops.

3. Why do you think that so few women apply for jobs with investment banks? And do you think this has improved at all in recent years?

There has been a major improvement in terms of applicants, and many of our key hires recently have been women, though more needs to be done across our industry. We need to challenge the (inaccurate) stereotype of trading floors as macho or non-creative environments.

4. How have you got to where you are today?

The advice I would give on how to be successful in any competitive industry is to identify what you makes you unique and don't be afraid to stand out from the crowd. Stay true to your values from what business practices you will or won't adopt to how you treat people. Your ethics and your actions will define your brand and your reputation, so never compromise them.

5. What is your most interesting career highlight?

The highlight was being honoured by the Queen together with a number of other business-women last year in Buckingham Palace. This was a truly unique experience and I feel very privileged. The opportunity throughout my career to travel has also created many interesting cultural experiences, I have been very fortunate in this regard.

6. What would you say makes UBS unique and how has this affected your decision to work there?

I have worked for UBS since 1995, having worked previously for an American investment bank. The differentiating factor is really our culture and our people. UBS combines its investment bank, its private bank, and its asset management business under one umbrella, and this makes for an integrated business model which is truly unique.

7. When you are recruiting what do you look for in graduates?

For me, intelligence, curiosity and drive are the most important attributes. Because my own business is client facing, I look for candidates who can present themselves with confidence, who will become powerful communicators.

8. What can an interviewee do to make a positive impression on you?

Demonstrate a genuine passion. Think about how you will communicate your key messages. You need to be memorable so plan how you are going to achieve that. Tell your story in a way which is commercially relevant. What skills, experience and ambitions can you demonstrate that would be engaging and relevant to the person interviewing you?

9. What preparation would you recommend students do before applying?

Read around the industry in depth. Recent challenges facing all the investment banks have been very well documented in the financial press so there is really no excuse to not be well informed. Read recent UBS press statements and initiatives to understand our strategy. Ask questions about this during your interview.

10. Is there anything else you would like to add?

The opportunities from a career in banking are tremendous, and we are looking for potential to be developed. I encourage all your readers to find out more.

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