Switching Industries? Shed The Fear!

Switching Industries? Shed The Fear!

by Marta Gallego Mena January 1, 2021

I am originally from Spain and I studied International Business and Economics in Barcelona. I did an exchange programme in the US, more specifically in Texas A&M where I focused on international finance. Upon graduation I decided to move to the UK to work as a consultant in technology for Capital Markets. With this consulting firm, my first role was very technical. I was assigned to the London Clearing House – which is part of the London Stock Exchange. That role allowed me to learn more about capital markets while also learning about technology. Because it was a very technical role I had to learn to write scripts and I was automating test cases.

Thanks to the good performance and relationship with the client, I was given opportunities to grow my career and lean towards the business. By the time I left LCH I served as the bridge between business and IT. I was working with the Collateral Operations Department in Change Management. I sat with the business, with the day-to-day users and brought in changes, innovation and new processes to enhance the system. For that, I worked very closely with the IT department while dealing with external clients – including some of the major banks.

After five years with them I decided it was time for a new challenge. That is when I started looking at opportunities and I decided to do an MBA.  I went to Oxford because of the emphasis in people. Creating a difference is core to the curriculum and that is something I wanted in my professional career.

What we asked her … and What she had to say …

I see you have had experience in multiple different industries, education, finance, retail and tech. Students often hear how industry change is difficult and hard to explain in an interview.  Can you tell us from your experience, how did you handle the change in industry question/topic each time at an interview?

So, the truth is, all jobs share things. While I was in Barcelona I worked on education which helped me learn to lead teams and share ideas. Also, from my experience in the fashion industry, I was in the import Department – I dealt with multicultural teams and different departments which was of great use for my candidacy for an international position.  As you can see, there are a lot of interdependencies. If a company asks you why you are changing industries, you need to make sure that you know the industry you’re moving to. You need to understand the core business and also the why you’re interested in it.

Your motivation needs to be very clear to you and to the potential employer.

Furthermore, you should explore what you can bring that will help you stand out while also make the company feel safe about you.

Can you share your learnings about yourself through these changes that have shaped your next steps/future/dream? 

My biggest learning is: Don’t be afraid of trying.

I always enjoyed education and I considered becoming a teacher. However, I was also passionate about economics and businesses. Within that space, there are so many opportunities and during my undergrad I joined a big fashion company, Mango. This was a great experience; I could see a direct impact of my work which was very rewarding – the clothes my team was importing were on the street! After the fashion industry I was also interested in the finance world and that’s why I applied to the consulting company I worked the past five years. I guess, quite luckily, it was a company in tech and that’s where I also learn about technology and the impact it has on businesses. This helped me define my career better and to learn about an industry that I am now looking to move into.

I think every step I have taken has help me do something else. Working with Mango help me see that I really cared about people. Working in technology for capital markets helped me discover the technology field. Being in London allowed me to dream about Oxford. My lesson is: TRY!

What advise would you give to young students who are discouraged to make industry switches later on in life?

Don’t be afraid! Take chances! If you want something, go for it!

There is a sentence we say in Spanish: “El no, ya lo tienes”. Meaning, you already have the “No”, so give it a go! Do you want to go from A to B. GO! Worst thing that can happen is, you stay in A – where you are already.

Life is the journey we make, and we have to take chances to make it worth it. If things go wrong, there is a lesson learned.