End of Internship at Julius Baer: Reflection

June 25, 2012


Throughout my two months interning in the Operations department at Julius Baer, I have learned a lot about Private Banking and myself.

Operations, although not as glamorous work as compared to that of Relationship Managers & Traders, are essential to the smooth running of a Private Banking firm. They are the bedrock of the firm. An efficient and effective Operations team will create a conductive environment for RMs & traders, improving their productivity and profitability and therefore attract them to stay with the company. This enables the company to expand its business and even allow it to weather the toughest economic downturns. A smooth, error free operation is also essential to the reputation of the firm as errors can be costly, Such meticulous and noble work is sadly neglected in this RM centric workplace.

Although I did not have the pleasure of working directly with Compliance, I gather that their job involves reducing the firm’s exposure to high risk clients and abiding the regulations of different countries. The act of balancing rule enforcement with profit generation by the bank seems like a tricky business to me.

Regarding my work at Julius Baer, I was involved in the implementation of the new CRM/Workbench system. My role involved testing out the system and producing training slides for the company. Throughout the process of producing the slides, I was exposed to the complex and labour intensive process of Account Opening. It takes lot of collaboration between different groups of people in the same bank. I am truly awestruck by the remarkable teamwork needed to achieve a deceivingly simple sounding task, Account Opening. I know that this is only the tip of the iceberg as there are many essential processes that keep the bank running.

When I first started, all these banking terms were foreign to me as I had never worked in a bank before. Thankfully, I was given time to read through the documents in the Intranet and was able to grasp the essential knowledge of how a CRM works quickly. Admittedly, there are still many holes to be filled regarding banking operations. While creating the slides, I had to quickly rework my slide making style as the kind of presentation was very different from the ones I did in school. At school, I had to produce a presentation with single unifying them, while at Operations, my presentation was an entire work process. I am pleased to say that I have learned a new style of presentation which will be very useful in demonstrating chemical processes.

There are two work skills which I learnt while working. First I learnt was that a change in approach is essential to improve the quality of work. Initially, my training quick reference guide was dull and unclear to the readers. However, after Ravi, my supervisor, remarked that my drawing background was inconsistent with the quality of my work, I realized I was working with the mindset of a data entry worker. I have forgotten that although this is a banking job, it still requires a creative mindset. With a change in thinking approach, my training documents improved greatly in clarity. The second skill I attained was to think positively. One of the most memorable tasks I had was to review all the policies and to look out for inconsistency in job titles. At first, it seemed like a draggy data entry job to me, looking out for data and keying in data. However, while reading the documents, I realized I was having a great opportunity to read up on how the bank functions as an organization. The change in attitude allowed me to accomplish task quickly.

I would like to thank Ravi, Gina and Julius Baer for giving me the opportunity. It has been an enriching two months. Although there are still a lot of things to be learned, I have gained an eye opening perspective on how a private bank operates and acquired invaluable working experience. This internship has given me a head start in the banking industry that few can only dream of. Although I will be pursuing an Engineering education, this banking internship has showed me an alternate career path for me after my tertiary education

Ng Wee Liang