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Yvonne Kurankye has shared her varied career with us and her infectious enthusiasm…

Yvonne Kurankye has shared her varied career with us and her infectious enthusiasm…

Mark.Freed / 18 Dec 2017

E2W is speaking to women who have been working in financial services over the decades to celebrate next year’s 100 year anniversary of women securing the vote.  Yvonne Kurankye has shared her varied career with us and her infectious enthusiasm for the financial services industry!

When I look back on my career to date in financial services, I love the variety of it: the roles; the people I’ve met – the colleagues, good (and bad) managers and mentors; the things I’ve learnt and the path I’ve travelled.  

Financial services wasn’t a career I was considering when I was at school and after resitting my A-Levels, I chose to read Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds.  Whilst at uni, though, I worked for GE Capital and that’s where it all started.  My career, unbeknownst to me really, began whilst I was still a student.

After graduating, I was invited to move to London to work for GE Capital where I was employed in a business development role, learning about the workings of store and credit cards, and financial services in general.

My husband suggested that I apply for some graduate training schemes and despite my lack of confidence due to my non-financial degree, I threw myself into it and gave it my all, applying to about 50 grad programmes.

I was accepted onto the NatWest Global Financial Markets grad scheme, one of ten from a pool of 100,000 applicants and one of only two women.  The scheme was intense but my appetite for learning was big!  The rotations were fantastic, learning about economics, business management, trading simulation and the like, helping me to identify my strengths and weaknesses: I realised for example, that I didn’t like spot trading as I preferred carrying out research, I loved that.  

Despite NatWest being taken over by RBS during the grad scheme, my position was secure and once the rotations finished I moved into Operations, working on change management projects alongside Technology.  

My ten year career at NatWest Global Financial Markets spanned lots of roles in departments ranging from FX sales to middle office to asset securitisation (really interesting!): my strategy was to start a new position, learn it thoroughly so that I became a subject matter expert and then two or three years later move on.  This approach meant I didn’t become bored and I transferred my skills and knowledge around the organisation.  
I also made some great relationships too, calling on a former mentor in my network to help me secure my next role at HSBC, where again I enjoyed learning about new areas, like Private Banking.   This role really suited my lifestyle then as I had two children at home.  Private Banking operated at a slower pace in a calmer atmosphere! 

 I’ve approached all my roles in a fairly simple way – I want to go in, learn, learn, learn and get the job done!  I still vividly remember one of GE Capital’s inspiring messages: “Together everyone achieves more” and I’ve tried to apply that to everything I’ve done, being part of some great teams.   I’ve tried not to become involved in office politics, my thick skin standing me in good stead, but I have enjoyed the networking, being mentored and being a mentor myself.

I feel very lucky that I’ve enjoyed the career to date that I have.  It has kept me on my toes – no two days were ever the same.  But now I’m ready for a new challenge, using my financial services’ experience and skills in a different sector.  I’ve always grabbed opportunities to try something new and interesting so I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds.   

Read other stories in the series:

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What was it like to start a career during the swinging 60's? Were you on a three-day week in the 70's? How did you fair in the yuppie loads-of-money 80's? How politically correct were the 90’s?  Did you experience the start of the digital revolution of the 00’s? Or perhaps you embarked on your career recently - has the industry lived up to, or surpassed, your expectations?

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