Parto Samaei is a business IT analyst in corporate investment banking.
Tell us about your role...
I work as a business analyst in the IT department of corporate investment banking. My department is currently involved in a worldwide project to replace the bank's entire back office system in London, Paris, Luxembourg and Belgium. As an analyst, my role is to meet the users of the current system and to find out exactly what they want from the new one, then to liaise with our developers to come up with a suitable solution.
The users I'm working with are BNP Paribas staff (who we refer to as "internal clients") in Brussels, so a lot of my time is spent meeting with them over there. My clients previously worked for a Belgian bank which was taken over by BNP Paribas, so their systems are very different. It's important to integrate the old systems in order to align the IT infrastructure.
How do you find solutions for your clients?
There are lots of face-to-face meetings. My project manager and I meet with everyone from departmental heads to business analysts in Brussels to establish what their requirements are. I then have to check whether their requirements can be met by the system we're rolling out. If not, I have to find a solution, which is where my analytical background comes in: I have a degree in mathematics, with a master's in financial computing. I'm a great problem solver!
Once I've verified what the users' requirements are, I work with the developers to come up with a solution. When they've developed something that fits the users' needs, I test it and we then refine the solution until we have something everyone is happy with.
How has your role developed and what are your hopes for the future?
I got to know my project manager before I started my job and he was a great support for me when I first started to travel to Brussels and Paris to meet clients. I spent the first week or two shadowing him, following him to meetings and taking notes. Gradually, he let me chair meetings, either on the phone or face to face. I now work independently and am getting more and more responsibility. The project has been running for a year and a half, and will be completed next year. I'm not sure where I'll go then, but my ultimate goal is to become a project manager. I would love to manage my own clients.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of my job. I'm an analytical person and I love being able to use that part of my brain every day. There's a big social side to my role too. I'm always meeting with internal clients and people in our IT teams. I love this interaction - my job is not just about working with computers! It's also been great to work in Brussels. People there work in a very different way to those in London, so it's been a great experience from which I've learnt a lot.
Up and at 'em
I arrive at my desk by 8.30am. I was in Brussels yesterday so have to catch up on my emails. My job involves talking to others about their IT requirements and quite often these requirements change due to market changes, or because of new information. I need to keep myself up to date with the changes through analysis, workshops and regular meetings in Brussels. After my inbox has been checked, I plan a trip to Brussels for the following week.
I call a colleague to ensure I haven't missed any information from yesterday's meetings. I amend my notes slightly and circulate the minutes to my colleagues in Brussels, as well as my London colleagues, so that everyone knows what the next steps are.
This is what I found
I ask him a couple of questions that emerged from yesterday's meetings - he points me in the direction of a useful document which contains the relevant information.
Off to gym and have a bite to eat on the go.
Meet the team
I give a detailed report on what I've achieved on my project over the past week. I let the team know what difficulties we're facing in this area and outline how I'm going to solve these issues. I agree on a deadline for my next piece of work with my manager.
You've got mail
Part of our project is to define how the system will be used for settling trades. I've not heard back from the relevant colleague, so I send an email to prompt them. I've also received an email outlining the rules on trade settlement, so I start reading the document to ensure I can answer questions on the issue if it's raised during future meetings with the users. An important part of my job is to build a rapport with the users, so the more information I can impart to them, the better.
I write tomorrow's to-do list on a Post-It note, underlining the most important tasks, and then go home.