Those working in finance who wish to find new opportunities outside the corporate world, may want to consider the option of working in a startup. Applying for a role in a start up can be a promising option because of the different environment it affords, and the various perks that are offered.
If you’re based in London, and want to find a startup job in order to exit your banking role, or any corporate role for that matter. Our interview could give you some guidance on how you too can find a career away from the corporate world.
Today we spoke to Ju-Vern See who, after a career at KPMG, now finds herself in a startup. She is the Head of Operations and Finance for RotaGeek, an employee scheduling software company.
Tell us a bit about what you do at RotaGeek on a day to day basis?
My job title states that I’m the Head of Operations and Finance and you won’t be wrong to think that my day to day work involves preparing investor packs, recruiting, onboarding new employees and legals. But in reality, my role is a lot more than that. Being a startup, there are loads of things that weren’t being done very well, so my job was to identify them and get them done.
For example, before we recruited a product manager, I designed processes to determine what features to develop. I’ve analysed our software’s usage data to understand how we can optimise our trials to customers conversions. And currently, I’m responsible for sales and business development to further the company’s growth.
When did you know you wanted to get into the startup world?
I studied at the London School of Economics. If you don’t know how it’s like, you are immediately lured into the world of finance and banking on your first day. I didn’t know any better, so I foolishly followed the crowd. But I quickly found out that it was not for me and that was when I discovered the world of startups. I started attending startup events to get to know more people in the industry. I also volunteered for conferences so I could get free entry to learn from prominent startup founders.
I would have loved to worked in a startup as soon as I graduated, but my visa status meant that it was going to be challenge. Instead, I opted to work in a Big 4, biding my time, before I made the jump.
How did you find out about the opportunity at RotaGeek?
My previous role at KPMG gave me the opportunity to work closely with startups. My day to day work involved speaking to startups to expand my network, to ultimately increase KPMG’s profile in the startup space. As such, I made sure I leveraged my position and network to find out and identify any opportunities, which led to me landing my current role!
How has your experience at KPMG helped prepare you for your current role? What new skills did you have to pick up on the job?
I think an advantage of working in the corporate world is having an awareness of how things work in an established company. Although corporates are commonly pictured as slow moving, that’s not always true. In any case, there is a lot of opportunity to learn about what works and what doesn’t. I have found that in both a corporate or startup environment, there is a steep learning curve. In the corporate world, there is a lot more support from peers and managers who have been there, and whom you can lean on for advice.
In a startup, that’s usually harder to find. Instead, you have to seek out employees in other startups who are going through similar challenges. From experience, that’s not been too difficult because the people in the startup world are more willing to share their experiences, so there’s no shortage of help.
What’s one piece of advice you can give to someone currently looking to move from corporate finance to startup in 2016?
Go for it! There is no doubt that there you will lose many of your cushy benefits and job security. But what you gain is a lot more responsibility and the potential to make a huge impact. There will be a lot of times where you would feel outside your comfort zone, but that’s what makes it more exciting!
If you’re looking to discover exit opportunities from corporate banking or finance, and wish to get recommended for fintech startup jobs suited to you, join Kandidate in only 5 minutes!