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"Standard Chartered offers me an international career with the opportunity to learn new skills and to work in different business functions."

Marianne MWANIKI
Senior Manager,
Sustainability

What is your background?
I was recruited in London for the Kenya office as a Graduate Associate in 1998 following my Masters programme at the London School of Economics.

Why did you join Standard Chartered?
Standard Chartered offers me an international career with the opportunity to learn new skills and to work in different business functions.

How is your career so far in the Bank?
Within two months of my joining, I went away to Ghana for a 6-week intensive induction programme, getting to understand the various functions of the Bank. After that, we had a rotation within different business functions within the Bank where we got to meet people and establish a very useful network with various parts of the business.

After six years in the Consumer Banking business at which time I was the General Manager for Personal Loans, I decided that I wanted an international challenge, so I moved to London and joined the Human Resources function. In this function, I was the Head of Employee engagement and Performance Management. After three years in London, I found an exciting opportunity with to join Group Sustainability within Corporate Affairs. I applied and I was fortunate to get the job! So now my ten year career has covered two locations (Kenya and London) and three functions (Consumer Banking, Human Resources and Corporate Affairs). There are a lot of opportunities within the Bank and career paths are not rigid.

What does your current role entail?
I currently head up external engagement on sustainability issues for the Bank. This means speaking with key external stakeholders to understand the social, environmental and governance issues that are important to them. Based on this understanding, the Bank is able to respond and develop approaches that are core to the Bank's strategy and address key stakeholder needs.

What do you like about your job?
Making a difference, making the Bank successful, working with my peers from across the Group and also the new challenges and opportunities the Bank offers. We are able to move across departments and geographical locations. I find opportunities within Standard Chartered all the time. Over my ten years with the Bank, I have cumulatively worked in Singapore for six months, India for four months and Hong Kong for three months.

What is it like to work at Standard Chartered?
It's like a feeling of 'I can make a difference'. It gives me a sense of purpose. Why? It is because not only am I helping the Bank to be successful, I am also contributing to our communities by addressing challenges in alleviating poverty and those that climate changes bring. We do this through increasing access to financial services, working with micro finance institutions and working with businesses to structure solutions where we can fund renewable energy projects, things like, solar energy. So I am very proud to be able to make a difference while making the Bank profitable.

Also there is a lot of international collaboration. When I was in Human Resources (HR), I did a project for five months working with my Korean counterparts, I couldn't speak Korean and they couldn't speak English but we managed to communicate through translators. The project was highly successful and we are friends to this day.

The skills I feel you need to be successful as an International Graduate
I would say networking is definitely an important skill because the Bank is international. It is important to be able to create relationships and friendships with people from other parts of the Bank within or outside of your country. Also we have more than 70 different countries that we operate in; this means that having an international mindset is extremely important. We need to value people for who they are rather than where they come from.

Having the determination to succeed and having the courage to go after and implement innovative ideas that you have is crucial. To achieve this, you need to stick to the cause, sell the idea, gain buy-in and deliver the results.

My top tips to graduates
Apply to work in the Bank! You have an opportunity to grow as an individual. It is not only about what you have studied within your degree - Standard Chartered has a very comprehensive development programme for the graduates and there are a lot of opportunities.

I would also say be open-minded. When I first joined Standard Chartered I thought, you know, I'm going to be here for two years - 10 years later I've had an amazing career. I have learnt a lot and I have grown tremendously as an individual; so be open-minded.