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Citi Banker Braden Thrives on Frequent Crises

Kristine Braden

We spoke to Kristine Braden, head of the global subsidiaries group for Europe at Citi about her career. Braden has bounced across the investment banking industry, from industry coverage to the global subsidiaries group – which deals with the subsidiaries of major corporations. This is what Kristine told us about her experience of working for a major US bank.

How long have you been working in financial services?

I got my first taste of banking in 1996, so almost 17 years. My career started in the relationship management unit of Deutsche Bank in New York. It was the most stressful and intense job I ever had up to that point and yet the most interesting and compelling. Obviously, I got hooked and never looked back.

Has your career path been conventional or capricious?

Totally capricious. I’ve worked in Latam, Egypt, Asia and now Europe. My career has spanned CTS (transaction services), CMO (Capital Markets Origination), Industry Coverage, Investment Banking, Country Banking Head and now regional GSG (Global Subsidiaries Group) Head. I’ve handled corporates, financial institutions, investors, public sector and multinationals. I’m what used to be called a traditional Citibanker!

What matters most: talent or hard work?

Both equally, but we also need leadership. A lot of people are talented and waste it. Others work hard but never see the big picture or figure out how to be effective. What banking needs most as an industry and what I look for in my bankers is leadership. We need people who question how we’re doing things, that want to improve the culture of banking, are creative, that push and prod and are willing to go above and beyond. To me, talent+hard work+leadership is the winning combination.

What would you always advise people to do before they step into an interview with you?

Be prepared and be yourself. Tell me why you want the job, what makes you uniquely qualified and what you really think about how we can do things better, smarter, faster. I don’t need more people who tell me what I already think or who have just read Citi’s website to prepare. Know the industry, the issues, due diligence the bank, our department, me etc. If someone is interviewing with me, they should demonstrate how they could add value.

What do you know now about working in banking that you wish you’d known 15 years ago?

It’s the most fascinating industry in the world because you can cut across product, industry and geography but it’s also high pressure and volatile. It seems every 2 years there is a crisis that changes the game. It’s not an industry for the faint-hearted but it is among the most interesting for those up to the challenge.

You are only allowed to hire one person over the next six months. Can you describe their ideal profile?

Ambitious, smart, brimming with energy, curious and adventurous – under-pinned with solid banking skills. Someone who wants to conquer the world… of global banking.

In no more than three sentences, can you say what your business area will look like in 2016?

The top global multinationals will be from the commodity or population-rich countries on the planet – continuing to rebalance our business from developed world to emerging. We will need to consider more stand-alone credit approvals and adjust our systems and solutions to ones that compel this evolving breed of companies to work with Citi rather than the growing banks from their home regions. Coverage quality, network connectivity plus local execution will be the anchors on which the future of banking is laid.

What would you do if you weren’t working in banking?

Run a global Christian charity or mission.

How do you relax?

Hang with my husband and 2 kids.

Who do you most admire?

I admire people who sacrifice for what they believe in and are willing to take the consequences for doing what’s right or just. People like my friends Scott and Cindy who gave up private practice in the US to run a medical clinic in the slums of Manila. They’re my heroes.

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