Marie Neveu

Don't be afraid of not knowing. That's kind of why you're here.

Graduate 2022

Role: Fixed Income Risk team at Pictet
Asset Management
Based in: London

Graduate journey

Before joining as a graduate, I was already working as an intern in the Group ESG and Stewardship team for about a year. When I joined the programme, I did four months within my home team, finalising work on the Climate Action Plan. Now, I'm on rotation within PAM Thematics; working on investment cases, on creating an engagement strategy for biodiversity, and also helping with research on biodiversity scoring. Next, I'll be going to PAA within the Strategy and ESG team for six months. Not quite sure what I'll be working on there yet, but probably things relating to climate. After that, the plan is to go back to my home team.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the financial services and why did you choose Pictet specifically?

I was hesitant actually coming to work in a financial institution because there's a strong perception of greenwashing happening in the market. I met someone at a careers fair that was presenting Pictet. I'd never heard of the company, and he explained that the role would be to work on the firm’s Climate Investment Principles. I thought, “this is either a paper that they're going to use for marketing purposes, or this will actually have strategic implications”. To me, it was worth spending a few months working on it because it was interesting intellectually anyways. When I arrived, I realised there was a lot of interest from pretty senior people. That, as well as their level of knowledge on climate change, convinced me that Pictet is actually quite mature in its approach, and is actually thinking about this from a strategic point of view. It made me want to stay and work on the firm’s Climate Action Plan.

Can you describe the company culture and what it's like to work in this environment?

The main advice I give to people that are new to Pictet is “you need to get to know people, even if you don't work with them directly. Just make sure that you build personal relationships.” It's a very informal culture in the way that it shares knowledge and information. And results actually happen this way too. That's quite unique to Pictet. Another thing I’ll say to describe the environment is a word in French: ‘bienveillance‘, which means ‘well-meaning’. I think people at Pictet are generally well-intentioned. It's a very positive culture.

What advice do you have for someone just starting their career in the financial services industry? 

Don't be afraid of not knowing. That's kind of why you're here. You weren't hired for your knowledge, you were hired for your potential, most likely. You should ask your questions. Don't be afraid of putting yourself out there and just questioning things. Sometimes it may seem like it is an obvious thing to you, but maybe someone hasn't thought of it, and you bring in a new perspective.

How has the Pictet graduate programme challenged and stretched you so far and what have you learned from these experiences?

The way that the program is structured, it's a lot at once, you know? There's many different things that you're supposed to do – between trainings that are organized by the firm, continuing education on the side and the new rotations.

On top of the trainings organised by the graduate teams, I'm personally doing something at the MIT on Clean Energy Solutions, which has been quite time consuming but super interesting. Every week, I’ve had several assignments to complete. As a graduate, you're also doing your rotations, so you're constantly upskilling to try to be productive for the team that you’re in. So that's quite a few things to balance and, in terms of priority management, that's definitely been challenging for a lot of us.

As you’re rotating, you're building all these relationships at the same time as well as learning to navigate a new environment. From an emotional intelligence point of view, that’s also an opportunity to learn.

How does the Pictet graduate programme support your professional development and growth?

As mentioned, we have training sessions that are organized firm-wide. We had sessions that relate to Pictet and the different business lines, and now we're being trained of our soft skills, things like emotional intelligence or prioritizing. We also have additional sessions on investment-specific topics in Thematics, which are super useful.

The second thing is that we have a continuing education requirement. A lot of people do the CFA - I'm doing this certificate at the MIT, which is focused on clean energy solutions. It's very relevant for my job title and I’m actively using what I’m learning in a workstream on the Energy Transition. I think it will probably continue to serve me for several years. 

How has the Pictet graduate programme encouraged innovation, creativity, and collaboration amongst its participants, and what impact have these experiences had on your personal and professional life?

It goes back to what I was saying before, which is that Pictet has a culture that values diversity of thought; several people want to be challenged and actively encourage it. For a company that's so traditional in the way that it's structured and that people interact with one another, I find you rarely have a penalty for being young. If you have good ideas, you're able to back them up, you're able to show that you can do the work, you really get accepted as a member of your team.

Can you share any experiences or opportunities you've had to network with industry professionals since joining the programme?

In my original role, I've had the opportunity to meet people from a lot of different functions: the investment teams in PAM, PWM and PAA, but also the risk and compliance teams, the finance and legal functions... It's a very transversal role and that's something that's been really great about it. We also interact with external stakeholders quite a bit - NGOs but also your peers. Often, we talk to the heads of sustainability in other firms and see what they're thinking about currently. Now, in this rotation, I'm within an investment team, and so I'm also meeting a lot of people that I probably wouldn't have met otherwise or wouldn't have got to know as well.

Can you speak to the quality of mentorship and support you've received so far in the programme?

For me, my mentorship experiences at Pictet have been more informal. Being in a new team, I've been getting a lot of mentoring on specific topics that I may be less familiar with, like how to run an engagement or how to do an investment case. So that's been super useful. And then there's mentoring that helps you understand the organisation and company’s culture better.

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