Dianna Grigoras graduated from EU Geneva with an MBA in Global Banking & Finance. Since that day in 2012, she has gained employment as an investment manager for a private Geneva-based family business. But it wasn’t always an easy ride, Grigoras sits down with us to talk perseverance, marathons and the importance of teamwork.
How did you start your professional career?
It wasn’t easy. Like most people, I started by sending out many CVs. At least one per day over a period of several months. It took approximately 200 applications until I finally received my first job interview. After a lengthy cross-examination, I received a callback; the job offer was a six-month unpaid internship. I couldn’t believe it. I felt devastated. I had already invested a lot of time in my MBA. I was eager to start earning my income.
I had bills to pay; time was running out, and my pride was shot. I had spent months searching for jobs, and all that time wasn’t spent so I could start an unpaid internship.
So I called the company back and told them I would gladly accept the offer and that I looked forward to the new position. In the end, this decision paid off. Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I went ahead… This opportunity opened a lot of doors for me; it helped me understand what it really means to work and my contact network expanded greatly. I eventually learned that it’s very common for graduates to complete nine to twelve-month unpaid internships. But no one had explained that to me, I learned that later on.
What did you learn from the EU experience?
I learned to push myself and get out of my comfort zone… I also learned the importance of having a strong team around me. My colleagues showed me what it’s like to be reliable and professional. When we needed each other, we would exchange our strengths and weaknesses, and help each other out while studying. This improved everyone’s results for exams.
The importance of being part of a strong group is probably the most valuable lesson I learned.
Which MBA skills have been useful in your professional career?
The MBA in Banking and Finance has helped me refine my quantitative skills in order to complete the CFA designation. Savvy investors ask difficult questions regarding the numbers, thus it’s important to be prepared with precise and accurate information at all times. These skills also proved very useful while I was completing my internship.
Can you tell us about your experience in the financial industry in Switzerland?
The Swiss banking, finance, and investment industry is going through a complete renovation in terms of legal compliances. This affects the majority of participants within the industry, including the EU and the Third Member States. Understanding the meaning of FATCA and the AEoI, how it applies to the industry as a whole and how it affects clients is very important. It’s an example that learning and growing go beyond the MBA and everyone is expected to inform themselves in order to keep up with ongoing regulatory changes.
What advice would you give to a recent graduate taking their first steps in the job market?
It’s important to do what you love, per se. Find pleasure in the work you do and don’t be afraid to admit there’s something you don’t know.
It’s very normal for recent graduates to have to “prove themselves”, however, you’re not expected to know everything.
Being curious is good, ask questions, ask for help when you need to and keep working hard because it’s worth it.
What’s next for you?
I’ll be running my 60th marathon this fall in Jungfrau and completing my LL.M in International Tax Law. I will continue to be in Geneva, working in the investment fund industry.
Find out more about our MBA in Global Banking & Finance here.