Kelly Ayliffe

The biggest challenge for me was learning to cope with a different work environment
I've been really lucky to have multiple people I would consider mentors in some shape or form, either cheerleading or technical, or more just corporate life mentors.

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, focusing on supporting and being partners to the investment teams on their risk management. When I started there, I was covering the Frontier Markets strategy, which is on the Emerging Market Sovereign team. Now I'm rotating within the Emerging Market Sovereign and Corporate teams working on their impact frameworks, environmental and social.

Why did you choose to work at Pictet specifically?

I was looking for like a bigger traditional asset manager, but with a philosophy grounded in them, and I found that with Pictet's long term thinking. I really related to that long-termism that they have compared to other asset managers.

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 comparison points because it's my first job. I was surprised at how nice and welcoming 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 does do we, an investment firm, encourage innovation and foster a sense of community and collaboration amongst employees?

Entrepreneurial spirit was a surprising trait when I first started at Pictet. I was thinking it would turn-out to be a traditional, private bank kind of 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 really quite incredible.

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

I'd say you don't have to study finance to get into finance. I studied maths and hadn't done much finance before my masters; even then I didn’t do full-time finance, but I knew that's what I wanted to go into. So don't limit yourself to think that you don't have the financial knowledge to not come and work in finance. I even heard of somebody who studied zoology.

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 Grad program for six months now. For now, the biggest challenge for me was learning to cope with a different work environment 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, and the contrary it was a diverse pool of colleagues that were excited to be there. That common umbrella of people coming together on the theme was really 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. But the important part of what the experience gives you is more on the soft skills side: To ask for coffees meetings multiple times a week has been really great practice to connect with people quite quickly, understand what they do and grow your network.

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