I took part in Odgers Berndtson’s CEOx1Day programme in Belgium in 2015. It enabled me to gain practical insights into the daily life of a CEO.
At the time, I understood the theoretical concepts behind running a company and the different skills required but seeing these concepts applied in practice would be a unique opportunity for a student like me, so I just had to apply.
It was one of the best decisions I’ve made to date. I shadowed Michèle Sioen from Sioen Industries, the global market leader in coated technical textiles and technical apparel. I really wanted to shadow her, as she was the only female CEO participating in the programme at the time.
Michèle knew every little detail about every project and always asked the right questions while giving responsibility and support to the other senior members of her company. I could really relate to her management style and felt very privileged to watch her leadership skills in action.
I joined BlackRock three years ago as part of its graduate programme. Fresh out of university, the programme aims to give you the right skills to succeed.
It was a very steep learning curve as the team I joined was very technical, but not in the way we were taught at university.
I had to learn coding languages and had to apply that knowledge to drive forward strategic projects. I learned about the asset management industry and how BlackRock operates, in particular how Aladdin (BlackRock’s proprietary investment management platform) works.
In my current role as a relationship manager for clients who bought Aladdin, I can combine that technical knowledge with my relationship-building and presentation skills, which come more naturally to me. BlackRock has this unique culture where everyone is happy to help you or educate you.
Continuously striving to learn and to improve is high on BlackRock’s agenda.
The challenge for my generation is that the so-called ‘war for talent’ is now fought on a global scale. You need to make sure you have a key differentiator or a combination of skills that is attractive to employers.
Keeping pace with change
Disruption is constantly redefining the industry, and it is important to stay up to speed with the changes.
Not only is it vital to make sure you are constantly educating yourself, but also the company you work for should realise this need and act upon it.
In the future, it will be crucial for a manager to be able to build diverse and integrated teams. This is a very hot topic at the moment and will become even more so in the years to come.
This article is from the latest ‘Talent and Potential’ edition of the Odgers Berndtson magazine, OBSERVE.
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