Kelly Ayliffe

Pictet’s long-term philosophy inspired me

Graduate 2022

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

Graduate journey

I’m based in the Fixed Income Risk team at Pictet Asset Management. To begin with, I covered the Frontier Markets strategy, which sits within the Emerging Market Sovereign team. Now I'm rotating within the Emerging Market Sovereign and Corporate teams working on their environmental and social impact frameworks.

Why did you choose to work at Pictet specifically?

At first, I researched the larger asset managers, however Pictet’s long-term philosophy inspired me.

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

I'd say it's very human-centric; that's the main thing that struck me. I don’t have any points of comparison because it's my first job. I was surprised at how warm and welcoming my colleagues are - I met a few people and initially thought, “Wow, I'm really lucky to meet them. Surely they are some of the nicest people here.” And quickly realised it was a common theme.

How do we, an investment firm, encourage innovation and foster a sense of community and collaboration amongst employees?

I found Pictet’s entrepreneurial spirit to be a surprising trait when I first joined. I thought that the company would have a traditional, private bank feel, but I was able to contribute to the creation of a new fund and my ideas were on-boarded and I was given credit for them. And for that to happen at such an early stage in one’s career, to let those ideas flow and really come to life from the bottom up, is quite incredible.

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

I'd say that you don't have to study finance to work within the industry. I studied maths and hadn't much considered finance before my masters; even then I didn’t study finance full-time, but I knew that it was what I wanted to pursue. So don't limit yourself by thinking that you don't have the financial knowledge to be a success. I’d even heard of somebody who studied zoology, now working for Pictet.

How has the Pictet graduate programme challenged and make you grow an individual?  and what have you learned from these experiences?

I've been in the Graduate program for six months now. So far, the biggest challenge for me was learning to cope with different work environments and cultures. I came from the Geneva office and now I'm in London, trying to navigate and really integrate into different ways of working. I love the London office; it's quite a dynamic and diverse work environment.

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

I was very fortunate to be invited to Empowering Change, which was an event centred around women in the workplace last year in Geneva. I didn't expect the experience of the event to feel the way it felt - I had anticipated it to be quite corporate and formal, however I met a diverse pool of colleagues that were excited to be there. That common umbrella of people coming together around the theme was so great.

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

During the rotations you're exposed to quite a few different teams where you learn quickly as you're only in each team for three months, and in those three months you experience one of the biggest learning curves that you can possibly have. Most importantly, the experience develops your soft skills – the practice of asking for coffees meetings multiple times a week has been great exercise for connecting with people quickly, to understand what they do and to grow your own network.

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