AFAM: Hello, Jean-Rodolphe, and thank you for participating in this interview series. Please tell us a few words about yourself. What do you do on a daily basis for your job?
Jean-Rodolphe: I am currently enjoying London on my way back from the US leveraging on the Anglo-saxon culture but closer to Europe. In my job I manage a pretty large team split between London and Paris with weekly trips to Paris. It mainly consists in ensuring the third line a defense as periodic control for the Group. It is a key internal audit function for the Bank while covering all the EMEA Global Markets and ALM treasury activities. My teams are performing audits to ensure the respect of the Group policies and procedures.
AFAM: How did you get where you are now? Given that at Arts et Metiers you were mostly studying industrial and mechanical engineering, how come that you ended up working as Deputy head of IG for Global Markets and ALM T at BNP Paribas?
Jean-Rodolphe: This is obviously not straight forward from my academically background and my current position. Nevertheless, there is a logic in my career which started at PwC and following a PhD preparation (DEA) in Paris at the same time of my third year at Arts et Metiers. After 8 years in strategic financial risks consulting I have switched to Risk management in banking at BNPP. Monitoring the Bank risks - mainly credit, market and counterparty risks - for a third of the bank, I had the opportunity to lead the risk stream for a major project in New York and San Francisco tackling all risks types for Global Markets activities and retail. It leads quite logically to my current position. Eventually the mental structure and the mathematical basis provided by the Arts et Métiers are key strength to leverage upon in banking with models and governance structure. It helps a lot as well while managing massive programs.
AFAM: You have been living in NYC for 4 years and now you live and work in London. Can you tell us a bit more about this change and where do you prefer to live and work?
Jean-Rodolphe: indeed, I miss New York and the thrill of the day to day life in the Big Apple... especially the New York Road runners’ races over the week end or Central Park runs at any time of the day and night. That said London is for me the perfect mix of Anglo-Saxon culture and European close location (even if UK is getting out of the EU - unfortunately!). This is a great step after the US to be able to get in London with such a dynamic and business-oriented mindset - it is almost as thrilling as in New York. The life style is very different in a large house with space and a small back yard. London parks are great to keep healthy runs year long without the heavy snow in winter and Manhattan heat in summer... as I said the best of the 2 worlds!
AFAM: What are the biggest challenges of your job?
Jean-Rodolphe: The biggest challenge of my job is to meet the regulatory expectations which are high and making sure to enforce the protection of the Group interest against wild practices or mis-conduct. The current remote working and geographical split between the 2 parts of the team is also a huge step between 2 cultures and way of working.
AFAM: What would be your advice to our students who would like to start in the finance industry (especially those who are willing to find an internship in the US or in Great Britain in 2021)?
Jean-Rodolphe: This is obviously a matter of willingness to learn and develop skills in a different environment. It requires open minds and work as per any start. Indeed, a finance degree in addition would be a plus in the most technical jobs but nothing is impossible while working hard on your own. The finance industry is currently facing news challenges in recruiting in retaining talents so I know there are a lot of opportunities to be leveraged upon - with a good level of English to start with and clear ideas on personal ambition ... just believe in yourself and go for it!
My initial internship with Merill Lynch within their Wealth Management department in New York has been instrumental in driving the beginning of my career. In essence both the experience and the brand helped out in orienting my career. The main driver for a Gadz to work in Finance is the open mind and the willingness to explore new subject discovering new fields.
AFAM: Thank you for your time!
Photo (courtesy of Jean-Rodolphe): Jean-Rodolphe in NYC during AAGEF Regatta on June 2018