Starting a Career in the Financial Services Industry: Schwab’s Supportive Approach to Beginners in Finance
By Andie Teresi
Have you ever found yourself searching through what seems like hundreds upon hundreds of job postings and then suddenly come across one where the job description just seems to resonate with everything you stand for – your values, your experience, and potential growth opportunity? If so, you’re not alone. For Sr. Manager Jannibah C., her start on the Business Consulting and Education team at Schwab began in a moment just like this: “I had this list of things I was looking for and I found a job description and I thought I’m not even sure what this job totally is, but the things they’re saying “somebody who likes to learn,” “somebody who wants to collaborate,” “someone who likes to problem solve,” those things really speak to me.”
Before starting her career at Schwab, Jannibah’s background was focused on non-profit roles and communications for companies and organizations. “I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and a Master’s degree in Mass Communications,” Jannibah explains. “When I was in graduate school I started to work with non-profits specifically Girl Scouts, and doing communications related to volunteers, donors and helping do event communications. From there I moved into another non-profit role and then into a local government role which was all very similar kind of work.” Over time, Jannibah found herself transitioning to another role which was, “a local marketing/PR firm and they had a public engagement practice, which essentially meant I was still working with the same kinds of folks, non-profits, state government and then eventually I moved into another agency that had the national government and federal government as the client.”
With such a heavy emphasis and background with similar types of work, what spurred Jannibah to pursue a career in the finance industry? “I was laid off and was looking for something that would feel the same, doing something positive and useful. I wanted something that would offer an opportunity to talk with stakeholders in whatever way, even if not directly. Something that would help me be creative, a place where I would still have an opportunity to innovate.” Although Jannibah was not entirely sure about what the job at Schwab was, she soon realized that many of the skill and technical aspect she enjoyed at her previous work endeavors carried over quite well to the new role at Schwab: “I loved the technical aspect of what I was doing with FEMA or the Texas Department of Transportation, where I was learning something really complex and then making that something where I could further breakdown and make it accessible to the stakeholders who needed to know that information but didn’t have the skill set. It’s the same kind of work that I’m doing here. So it was taking all the things that I loved about the jobs I had before and now doing it in the financial services industry.”
As Jannibah transitioned to a career in the financial services industry, she discussed how Schwab has supported her during this career shift: “In my first days one of the things I continue to hear is ‘ask questions’ and I haven’t been afraid to do that. I’ve asked if there is anything I can read, and people have been like ‘yes’ let me help you find that…. I have been very encouraged to have and have had about 25 meet and greets with others in the Business Consulting team where they’ve all been glad to take 30 minutes to sit and talk with me, give me the benefit of their knowledge, perspective, their background as well as when I say ‘I’m interested in what you’re doing,’ before the call is over somebody has already sent me a PDF of this or a link to that so that I can continue to grow my knowledge and get a better understanding of what they’re doing.”
For those similar to Jannibah who may be apprehensive about the industry, but want the challenge of a new environment and career, Jannibah mentioned that the potential lack of knowledge around money and numbers is nothing to be worried about: “I had never worked in financial services and don’t even consider myself a person who has a good head for math or money. When I was interviewing everyone said “that part of it we can teach you.” The part about being a good communicator and the skill sets that I need are different…so it’s two-fold, there is a skill set and there is knowledge about an industry or subject and they said we’ll teach you the knowledge about the subject and industry but you need to come in with the skill set. I was encouraged, and I had multiple interviews where people said they would teach me the knowledge and be willing to help me, and they have been amazing to get me to a place where I feel comfortable. I’m not totally there yet, it’s a complex industry and subject, but they’ve been great about letting me take the time.”
Are you ready to start your career in the financial services industry? Click here to read more about what it’s like to work at Schwab.