Name: Steve Bennison
Degree and university: Computer Science (as a mature student), University College London.
Work title: Application Developer, Credit Suisse
What do you actually do? I’m on the team that is responsible for developing the bank’s electronic Foreign Exchange Trading platform. Within my first year at the bank I have been developing a key component of the its overall platform, which handles millions of pounds worth of Foreign Exchange trades. The bank provides new graduates like myself with the opportunity to shine.
Do you feel your sexual orientation has ever held you back in your career? If so, in what way? In the time that I have been with the bank I have never felt that my sexuality has ever been an issue and neither have I ever witnessed any circumstance in which other people’s race, sexuality or disability has been a problem. In fact I’d say quite the opposite. The bank offers networks which support and celebrate our diversity, and I’m a member of the LGBT network which has been a positive experience and allowed me to get involved in various events and extend my network.
What do you feel about your employer’s diversity policy in terms of your own circumstances? In a word, proud. After having worked very hard to get through university into the career of my choice, it is extremely refreshing to feel that I’m here because of my ability and that my own personal circumstances have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on my role here. We receive regular communications from the bank’s Diversity programme, which detail upcoming events for all of our networks. So regardless of whether or not you’re a member of a given network you always know what is going on, and in the true spirit of diversity, all events organised by the Bank’s networks are open to all staff.
If I felt it was necessary for my job then I would enrol in further studies without hesitation. However, I have already been enrolled on several external courses that are providing me with the development and training necessary to not only do my job, but to excel at it.
What do you like most about your job? Every day when I go home I feel like I have made a contribution that counts. By this, I mean a contribution to the business, to my team, and also to my own personal knowledge base. There is no time to rest on my laurels and stagnate – there is only time to progress and develop. That to me makes all the effort worthwhile.
What skills do you think you need to succeed? Without doubt you need to be a team player with a drive to succeed for the benefit of all, not just yourself. Be focused, illustrate that you are a logical thinker, and that you’re not going to let a hurdle become an obstacle.
What advice would you give to other graduates coming into this sector? My best piece of advice would be this – be yourself. A company like Credit Suisse thrives on the diversity of its employees. Don’t think that your colour, religion or sexuality will hold you back in anyway because it w will in fact deepen the already rich diversity of our employee base. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to communicate a small piece of my story and to all those graduates thinking of applying to the industry – good luck!