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Career Case Study: IT in Finance

Simone-Ulrich

Simone Ulrich, Head of special projects in Corporate Center IT, UBS

Simone holds a Master in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Zurich (Major: Finance, Banking) and extended her banking knowledge at the Swiss Finance Institute with the Swiss Banking School Executive Programme. She joined UBS in 2004.

Technology for the financial industry is a fascinating area as both banking and IT are industries that currently see rapid change, which creates interesting opportunities.

Financial institutions pursue a wide range of activities in nearly every field of technology, and IT is seen as a key factor for business success. As head of special projects within Corporate Center IT, I lead strategic projects across different parts of our business and regions.

UBS is at the planning stage of an initiative to reduce the complexity of its IT systems, and I’m working on programmes that support this. Together with internal and external partners we define the requirements and schedule of those programmes and prepare for their implementation.

Over the years, I’ve held a number of project management and leadership roles in IT; the skills I’ve acquired are integral to my current position as I work with a diverse team across different time zones to create and share the vision for our IT programmes.

As one aspect of my role focuses on moving IT functions to external partners, I’ve had to learn
how to manage and communicate with people during times of change and uncertainty.

I’m a good observer of people, which I think is a crucial skill for any IT leadership role. It adds positive energy to social interactions and helps me identify and actively address change-related issues before they turn into larger problems.

Technology in financial services is a very ‘hands-on’ discipline and most graduates come with degrees in computer science, physics or finance.

In addition to strong analytical and project management skills, we look for people with communication and interpersonal abilities since most roles involve interaction across different business areas, regions and cultures.

Anyone with aspirations to work in an IT role in financial services has to combine technical skills with an interest in and understanding of the banking sector. What’s more, they need to keep abreast of the ever-changing regulatory landscape, as this often shapes banks’ IT priorities. If you couple this with an open attitude, curiosity and passion, there are many different career paths you could explore.

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