“While I've been at Excelian, I have changed a lot.” she said. “I’ve learnt so much and the confidence gained along the way has helped me grow as a person.”
You joined Excelian straight from the university. Why did you join and how did you hear about the company?
I saw a notice on the careers advice board at university, and I just applied – it was completely by chance that I found Excelian. But it was the interview that convinced me that Excelian was the place for me, all the people that interviewed me that day were such lovely people. Along with the particularly challenging questions they asked, what I found amazing was that they also had the answers!
You've been here for almost 10 years and you’re one of the most experienced SMEs in the front office and risk space. What does that entail? Could you explain your expertise and journey within Excelian?
I started off in a documentation role on a decommissioning project which gave me the opportunity to learn a lot and get an idea of the different areas of Murex, it was a really nice place to work. I didn't really have any official training, but because I was involved in the documentation I had a good overview. From there I went into overnight support and reporting, which was difficult because it’s overnight and I really enjoy sleeping! However, it was a steep learning curve, which I throughly enjoyed. Since then, because I've known that there are other aspects to Murex, I've taken the opportunity to move around and agreed to roles slightly outside my comfort zone, like the test management role which involved a lot of meetings, so communication and being very organized was key. or the FO role which involved some very specific pricing rules and gave me the chance to refresh my programming knowledge. As a result, I’ve become a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, I think that's where my expertise lies: I have a holistic view of Murex. I started on support and reporting, moved to back-office and workflows, and then front-office, and now market risk which I’m really enjoying as it’s given me an excuse to pull out my old math’s books!
What’s it like to run training courses for Murex? What kinds of courses have you run?
Generally, I've been running them for the Academy because we've had quite a few; last year we had 4! For me, it's really satisfying: before I joined Excelian, I thought I might one day be a teacher. I genuinely get a lot of job satisfaction from running training – especially when most of the people that join the Academy have never seen Murex before, so it's quite nice to show them how it works. I also think there is a misconception amongst the new graduates with IT backgrounds because Murex isn't really about programming – it’s useful to know but Murex is more about problem-solving. It's a complete black box: we don’t actually program or code much, we configure it.
Could you explain a little bit more about your mentality of taking every opportunity available in Murex?
I have taken every opportunity because, to be honest, there are a lot of things I've never done before and I like the challenge and reward from accomplishing something new. When my next role comes up, and it's something I've never done before, I generally take the chance at it because I really enjoy the learning curve. I spent a year in Paris to do back-office which was quite interesting because I had only seen the set up at two clients previously and every client has a different way of doing things. I then went to Germany to work with a very small but talented team doing both back office and front-office for just 6 months. The work culture there is completely different to the UK but is still very enjoyable; I still would recommend it to anybody, even if it's just for a short time.
What was it like working with clients in the UK, Germany, and France? Do you have any notable moments you’d like to share from those experiences?
In Paris they really take their time to have a three-course lunch, so I really enjoyed that! Germany was also great, I was there during the winter, but even then, we found a coffee and gelato café with the best lemon sorbet I can remember - it was amazing! London is still my favorite but I’d take the opportunity to work anywhere once as you never know what you’ll find.
Have you had any challenges while working at Excelian? How did you overcome those?
Spending time away from my husband has probably been the biggest challenge, he works and lives in London so while I was working abroad Excelian brought him over: I think he came over every six months, and obviously, I would come home as well. The Eurostar made traveling to Paris nice and easy, incredibly convenient and the lounge is great! Every time I’ve worked abroad, there's been a good team of Excelian people that are in the same situation, they have also left their families at home, so we feel part of a mini family at each of those clients.
How has working at Excelian changed you as a person? What have you gained from it?
While I've been at Excelian, I have changed a lot, after ten years it’s inevitable. I joined Excelian straight after university so I didn’t really have much real-world work experience. Ten years ago, I would never have dreamed of giving a presentation or standing up in front of people, it would have been more of a nightmare for me! It’s still not easy but the satisfaction I get from giving training has helped me overcome this fear. That's been my biggest change: I’ve learnt a lot and the confidence gained along the way has helped me grow as a person. Every time I end up doing a role that I’ve never done before, there is always support back at Excelian to help us achieve our goals. It's not an impossible task, but it's not something I've done entirely on my own: I've always had support along the way.
What kind of professional qualifications have you done through Excelian?
I've completed the Agile and Business Analysis courses which are industry recognised qualifications. I've also completed Murex training – some official courses and then the 'Train the Trainer' version where we learn how to become a good trainer. Besides that, I’ve attended multiple soft skills training sessions through Excelian, all of which have been very useful. I also had the opportunity to get involved in some of the early graduate recruitment process, where the interviewing skills training was very handy.
What advice and encouragement do you have for those aspiring for similar roles?
My motto is "Work hard, play hard." I would stick by that: there is a lot of work to do, there is always something to learn. Even though I've been doing Murex for a while now, I don't know all of it, and I wouldn't consider myself an expert per se. There is a lot to learn, but at the same time you've got to enjoy learning it, so personally, I would grab every opportunity to do something you enjoy and since we work at a consultancy, I’d recommend taking every opportunity to try something new, if you don’t like it, try something else. And always ask questions! Don’t be afraid to ask questions because often, someone else is thinking about the same question – so always ask questions.
Do you think there's something about Excelian that sets it apart from competitors?
It's the people, for sure. The people that work at Excelian are genuinely nice and always willing to point you in the right direction; even when they are busy, they always try to help because we’ve all been in the same situation.
Toni is a director within the Vendor Solutions practice of Excelian Financial Services, with responsibility for global staffing and training. In this role, Toni manages the staffing for all Vendor Solutions client delivery projects. In 2010, Toni created the Excelian graduate Murex academy in London which has now grown to be a global programme, offered in London, Warsaw, India and Singapore. Toni is passionate about staff development and manages a global L&D programme for all staff within the practice.Check all posts by Toni Marshall