Ajwad Hashim - VP, Innovation & Emerging Technology

“You are given an accelerated growth plan, with the support to springboard your career.”

I’m quite an entrepreneurial individual and like solving problems. Whilst I enjoyed my degree in Chemical Engineering, I was excited by the pace of change in financial services and the number of new challenges facing the industry presented prime opportunity for someone eager to be creative, like myself.

The emergence of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, Blockchain, IoT, the Cloud, biometrics and much more are changing traditional banking models work. I wanted to be at the centre of this change. Having just completed an internship in financial services, I was set on pursuing a career in the industry and applied for the Barclays graduate scheme. Since then, I have been fortunate to lead the corporate bank’s approach to emerging technology and effectively operate like an entrepreneur within the bank.

Technology is fast becoming the core driver of growth in the financial services industry, so it is an exciting time to join us, particularly if you have developed technical skills and knowledge in the fields of emerging technologies. Being able to translate between technical jargon and how this applies to products in financial services is key. I would advise anyone to spend time researching and developing a strong understanding of how emerging technologies are not only impacting financial services, but many of the other industries our clients operate in. Being able to collaborate with both internal technology teams as well as FinTech’s and clients is a big plus.

As an industry, financial services underpins the global economy. It is also one of the most heavily regulated industries, with continuous regulation challenges changing the way we operate. The combination of these factors makes it one of the most dynamic and fast paced industries to work in. In the face of these diverse matters, established banks such as Barclays always need to be innovative and creative in how we deliver competitive, market-leading products and services to our customers. I think there are a few core skills needed to be successful in this industry, such as strong analytical skills to identify and assess opportunities, solutions and business strategies. Also having an eye for detail, being able to consume large volumes of information and drawing valid conclusions is a huge advantage. You will also need to build strong working relationships and manage stakeholders of all kinds, so developing communication and leadership traits early on are vital.

 Students coming into the industry at entry level need to learn quickly and are given responsibility early on. But you are given an accelerated growth plan with the support to springboard your career. There is a very positive focus on personal development, mentoring and networking to help you progress, and you are very much part of the team – taking on work to own and manage yourself. Our global nature is also astounding, with talented individuals from around the world all working in one diverse and thriving culture.