Meet our people
Graduate Analyst, Global Markets, Hong Kong
Societe Generale has been supporting rugby since 1987 through a number of partnerships. In Australia, we are the sponsor of the Eastern Suburbs District RUFC in Sydney, which is the country's oldest District Rugby Club. And the commitment to the rugby goes beyond the sports. Through the rugby connection, Andrew Ferris who played at Easts Rugby and now at Hong Kong Valley RFC, joined Global Markets in Hong Kong.
I am a Graduate Analyst at Global Markets in Hong Kong.
I currently work in the Equity Derivatives flow sales team, joined Societe Generale as a graduate analyst in 2017, having worked in the Engineering marketing team during my first rotation, before moving into my current second rotation.
The benefit of working in a diverse workplace is observing the way in which everyone approaches tasks differently. It’s good to be able to identify what works well for you and what doesn’t.
How did you get connected with Societe Generale?
I was looking for opportunities in the investment banking space and I saw the internship advertised by our careers mentor in Eastern Rugby Club (Sydney) where I was playing. So I reached out to Toby Lawson, Head of Global Markets in Australia who I met there and enquired if there were any permanent junior roles within the bank. He explained that they were looking to pilot the graduate analyst program here in Hong Kong. I applied for it and was successful.
How did you find the job so far?
The environment here is fantastic for a junior, the people are extremely knowledgeable, but more importantly they are all willing to share their experiences and advices. This has allowed for a smooth transition and integration into the different teams and helped me to learn as much as possible.
How do you juggle between rugby training and working?
Work life balance is key. We train three evenings a week, play our matches on weekends as well as other individual training sessions in the morning. It may seem like a big commitment but being active is definitely helpful in allowing me to approach work with a clear mind.
I was transparent and open with both my managers at Societe Generale and my rugby coaches. They understand that my priority is with work, and they have been very good about this. Societe Generale advocates work life balance which I have found to be a definite advantage of working here.
No matter how talented you are on the sports field or in the office, if you can’t interact and work with people, you will never achieve your full potential.
What is the connection between rugby and Societe Generale for you?
Three things. Teamwork – no matter how talented you are on the sports field or in the office, if you can’t interact and work with people, you will never achieve your full potential.
Secondly, the training and playing obviously requires a lot of discipline and commitment, that’s very much the same at work. To be successful, whatever you do in the office or on the field you continually work hard and challenge yourself to be better.
Finally, accountability and responsibility. No matter what aspect of your life it involves, if you make a mistake it’s important to be accountable for your actions.
Graduate Analyst, Hong Kong
Societe Generale offers a two-year Graduate Program to final year university students and recent graduates to kick off their career. During the two-year program, an intensive and comprehensive talent management approach will be adopted to develop the candidate’s skills and professional expertise. After successful completion of the program, graduates will be on track for more responsibilities and career opportunities. They will be integrated into a specific team within the bank which corresponds the best with their profile. Rachel Ramachandran, who joined the programme in 2018 in Hong Kong, shared her experience.
''I am given access to a myriad of resources - through the mentorship and buddy system, with great support and guidance since I started my journey at Societe Generale.''
What are your career aspirations and why did you apply for this program? How do you think the programme will help develop your career?
I always have had an interest in financial markets but what really attracted me the most, is the amount of exposure this program offers in the job rotations. Not only you are given the opportunity to work within the different arms of a business, but also invaluable opportunities to learn more about yourself along the way, and determine the direction of your career.
How was your experience during the selection and onboarding phases?
While moving to a new country and starting a new (first) job comes with its own set of nerves, I could still feel a strong sense of comfort and inclusion right from the onset.
The active involvement of the HR team, upper management and the many opportunities to interact with them - from the selection phase, to the pre-joining events, and even throughout the program – speaks multitudes about Societe Generale’s commitment to the program. Having been able to find friendship and support amongst the fellow graduates as well has been a key part of the experience.
How did you find the culture in Societe Generale? What’s it like to be working here and how is your interaction with other colleagues?
I believe part of Societe Generale’s culture can be attributed to the nature of the business - where things tend to move fast, and everyone is focused on getting the job done, and done right at that. There is also a strong sense of collaboration and mutual respect that I have seen and experienced here, as well as a commitment to continually improve and innovate. Being able to work with people that are not only passionate about what they do, but also as invested in your learning and personal development as you are, is truly an indelible experience. I am grateful to be able to work alongside such colleagues. There are also many opportunities to meet people from different parts of the Bank, outside of your daily routines and interactions.
What have you learnt in the program so far?
Aside from the on-the-job training I received from the many brilliant and experienced colleagues and mentors here, I have also taken trainings focused on technical skills like excel and financial markets, as well as soft skills like effective communication. I am given access to a myriad of resources - through the mentorship and buddy system, I have received great support and guidance since I started my journey at Societe Generale.
Graduate Analyst, Hong Kong
Societe Generale offers a two-year Graduate Program to final year university students and recent graduates to kick off their career. During the two-year program, an intensive and comprehensive talent management approach will be adopted to develop the candidate’s skills and professional expertise. After successful completion of the program, graduates will be on track for more responsibilities and career opportunities. They will be integrated into a specific team within the bank which corresponds the best with their profile. Julian Poon joined the program in 2018 in Hong Kong in the Natural Resources Financing team and shares his experience.
''I felt really privileged to work with my teammates, everyone is approachable regardless of their seniority. ''
What are your career aspirations and how do you think the program helped launch your career?
My career goal has always been to work in banking, maximize my learnings and develop my related expertise. I was looking for the chance to get involved in interesting transactions from an early stage in my career. I wanted to meet amazing people and further broaden my horizon, as I believed this would be rewarding and beneficial to my career.
The job rotations enable me to understand the different products the Bank offers, develop my knowledge, and understand my own strengths and weaknesses. At the same time, the Buddy & Mentor program allows me to meet people from different teams and gain more insights on career development.
How did you get into the program? How was your onboarding experience?
The application process included online tests and several rounds of interviews. I was impressed by the networking events during the assessment day as it really gave candidates a better understanding about the Bank and its various lines of businesses. The pre-joining events provided a smooth transition for me from college to the workplace. There were also job-shadowing sessions which enabled me to get a sense of the daily workflow so I could get myself prepared before joining the Bank.
What is it like to be working at Societe Generale?
Societe Generale is a “People-oriented” company which emphasizes on building a strong team spirit. I felt really privileged to work with my teammates, everyone is approachable regardless of their seniority. My colleagues are from diverse backgrounds and there are opportunities to meet other people on the floor and our interactions are insightful. I also enjoy my life as a Societe Generale employee, I have been joining staff club activities and the touch rugby tournament organized by the firm. These activities can really revitalize you after a long day of work.
What have you learnt in the program so far?
Throughout the program, the Bank has arranged a variety of classroom trainings and workshops to get us better equipped for the job, including financial analysis, technical and soft skills. The exposure is excellent. I got placed in the Natural Resources team and have ample opportunities to work on interesting transactions. Not long after joining the team, I already got placed on live deals and I was required to perform various analysis and financial modeling. Through these tasks, I constantly received feedback and support from the team.
Chief Information Officer, Tokyo
I am Chief Information Officer of Societe Generale in Japan, where I am in charge of the IT division.
I graduated from Polytech Nice Sophia in 2001 with a Masters in Applied Mathematics for Finance and Insurance. I would consider myself more of a mathematician, and found myself in the IT sector purely by accident. When I finished my studies I wanted to train in investment banking in order to work around mathematical modelling for finance, and joined a team that was focusing on that field. But rather than being just about theoretical models, we were a very important part of implementation. So basically I had to learn IT language in order to implement theoretical concepts. It was something I discovered that was quite interesting for me.
Societe Generale is giving its employees room to move to other businesses or countries.
I’m a strong believer in steady progression, taking on new challenges and new roles every two to three years, particularly if that involves different countries. This took me to Hong Kong in 2007, where I took on the role of Head of IT Equity Derivatives Post Trade Support at Societe Generale. Going to new countries and discovering new ways of working with new people gives you a lot of strength in terms of adaptability, which is one of the key things in any fast changing environment. Luckily, Societe Generale is giving its employees room to move to other businesses or countries, so when I was offered my current position, along with the opportunity to gain further international experience in Japan, I was keen to eager the challenge.
Empowerment and development both being regarded as essential.
I would say soft skills are even more important for a CIO than technical skills. In every organisation, and certainly in Societe Generale, you have plenty of talented and technically skilled people but what matters most for a CIO is to know how to engage with these people so that you can get input from them to make the right call. At the end of the day, when I got a bit more mature, I realised that it was all about fundamental management skills such as empowerment and development, which in Societe Generale are both being regarded as essential.
Team spirit is one of the key values here.
As well as aiding in career progression, and a must to be an efficient CIO, is networking. I link it with collaboration and bettering your communication skills. As a CIO one of the strongest skills is to be able to collaborate with many people. One of the essential practicalities of collaboration is finding the right people with the right expertise. Once you have found them it is then for the manager to give the support and leadership that enables them to get the job done. Collaboration is essential. It’s all about being able to work with your staff, your clients, because there is absolutely nothing you can achieve alone. It is for good reason that team spirit is one of the key values here.
Looking at the broader scope of the company outside my immediate remit.
One of the tasks I have set myself is looking at the broader scope of the company outside of my immediate remit, trying to lead initiatives in other departments to see how IT can influence the organisation as a whole. In this multiplicity there are of course challenges to be faced, with each department encountering differing operational issues. But I feel that the opportunities vastly outweigh any difficulties, particularly given that understanding the company better as a whole means that I can hopefully help enact a broader reach of improvements, not just to my own department alone.
Associate, Metals and Mining Finance, Hong Kong
“At Societe Generale, we conduct our business in a dynamic, high-octane, diverse and international workplace. And we have the scale: this is a truly global company.”
I am an Associate within the Metals and Mining Finance group, part of the global Natural Resources platform at Societe Generale.
The Metals and Mining Finance group is responsible for providing various financing solutions across the debt spectrum, including but not limited to debt advisory, structured commodity finance, project finance and event driven debt solutions to Societe Generale’s global commodity clients.
Our Natural Resources platform has a global team. As part of the role I work closely with other team members in different geographical locations including in New York, London, Paris and Australia, whilst partnering with other divisions such as Commodity Markets, Debt Capital Markets and Mergers & Acquisitions in providing complete solutions for our clients.
My responsibilities includes performing financing and technical due diligence on assets in ensuring internal business, credit and regulatory compliance criteria’s are met, further to supporting idea generation initiatives with an aim to growth the regional portfolio.
The bank is a very international, demanding and innovative global Investment Bank.
Societe Generale is a global leader in natural resources, where the bank has developed both strong in-house financial and technical expertise in raising large quantums of customized structured financings.
From the first day, members of the team are required to perform and bring their expertise to the team. Thanks to our collaborative approach and mentoring initiatives by senior management, a new joiner can expect a steep proactive learning curve where they are able to present ideas openly to management teams; creating a fantastic learning platform.
Members of the team are able to sharpen their skills on a daily basis and gain ideas from highly respected industry leaders. The technical knowledge I gained and the relationships and friendships that I have developed here make it a great place to build a career!
Training and internal development are strongly encouraged to keep up with innovation and regulation within the sector.
This is a constantly evolving subject within both the natural resources and financial industry.
Knowledge sharing within teams and divisions are often done in informal ways with managers taking time in outlining and walking through relevant aspects of the business with junior members.
There are numerous product teams that focuses on different bespoke solutions within the banking sector.
Candidates would need to understand what exactly they would want to do in their career. Having conversations with numerous stakeholders and building networks within the sector would given candidates a clearer perspectives to which path of the financial sector they would like to pursue.
During my hiring process, I met with several senior bankers both internally and externally, and this gave me a great chance to enquire in regards to the overall business strategy, not only for Societe Generale but also from an overall Metals and Mining stand point.
Secondly, once within a team, being creative and proactive in leading tasks and projects are key due to the nature of the business; however at the same time, being diligent from a risk management standpoint plays an equally important role.
“My working relationships with colleagues are based on trust, mutual respect and closeness. Here we pay attention to others and provide support.”
I look forward to further developing my expertise within the natural resources sector.
Also, I wish to increase my knowledge of the broader debt spectrum. Given the global nature of the commodities business, in the medium to longer term, taking up a leadership role in Asia Pacific or abroad comes to mind, especially given the strong encouragement of internal mobility within Societe Generale.
Deputy Head of FX Sales Asia
I am the Deputy Head of FX Asia, running the FX sales teams across the region.
In short, I am responsible for the sales and marketing of FX Flow and Structured products to various distribution channels, for example private banks, discretionary portfolio managers, family offices and also other banks needing FX coverage.
I’m proud to develop our semi-exotic products on the Forex market in Asia Pacific. We are a small team but we are growing rapidly. It’s very exciting to be able to build it.
The working culture is very professional and based on high standards.
Colleagues support each other and we work closely together to reach our common goals. Everyone here has a very strong technical background and clearly knows their subjects well.
We’re highly specialized technologists and it is very pleasant, although sometimes challenging, to work with bright people. I really like the fact that we are not only thinking from an individualistic point of view, but have a truly collaborative approach. This is really essential here.
“Our footprint and P&L in Asia Pacific are growing consistently. Within the boundaries of our regulatory environment we are very strong at taking market opportunities.”
At Societe Generale, we emphasise team work.
You really need to think about it as working as one team. Collaboration with other teams and departments, transversal projects and sharing knowledge happen on a daily basis.
When you are applying for a position at Societe Generale, you need to see behind the job description and define what you want to achieve here and how you’re going to achieve this. Make sure you do your research and understand the different activities of Societe Generale in the region and globally. This will give you an insight in the strengths of the bank and how it can contribute to your career.
“I aim to develop our Forex activities to reach the top 3 in the Asia Pacific region”
I am working in a new business line, so there are lots of opportunities for growing the business and building on my own career.
Of course I have my objectives to achieve, but I have the support from colleagues from all the departments.
Knowledge and education are key to building relationships with clients and I am grateful to be able to benefit from Societe Generale’s brand name and its recognition in the market to help me. I aim to develop our Forex activities to reach the top 3 in the Asia Pacific region and build an even stronger team.
Chief China Economist, Paris
''Covering the second biggest economy in the world is certainly a challenge, but with the help of my managers, I have been able to take up this mission.''
I was born and raised in Shanghai, the coastal economic capital of China.
I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Fudan University in Shanghai and later on moved to Boston in the USA, where I graduated from Tufts University with a Master of Arts in Economics.
Following my overseas studies, I started my career as a Research Associate for Kuwait-China Investment Company (now Asiya Investment) based in the Middle East. After that, I joined Societe Generale in Hong Kong in 2010.
In my current position at Societe Generale, I am working as Chief China Economist in the Global Economics team in Paris.
I am providing in-depth economic research on China for both internal departments interested in getting a better understanding of China, as well as for our global clients.
On a day to day basis, I am closely collaborating with other economists on formulating coherent analysis and views of the global economy. With internal strategists, we are deciphering China’s economical impact and its implications for global financial markets. I am also liaising with our sales team to meet the rising demand for in-depth knowledge and forecasts on China’s economy among our clients. This is due to the rapid increase of China’s influence in global financial markets.
''With internal strategists, we are deciphering China’s economical impact and its implications for global financial markets.''
When I joined Societe Generale, I started as a research associate, where I was assisting the Chief Asia Economist on research topics related to China.
Four months later, I was asked to cover the Chinese economy. Covering the second biggest economy in the world is certainly a challenge, but with the help of my managers, I have been able to take up this mission.
My managers have been very supportive all along and given me quite some independence to formulate my views. I have received a lot of support and good advices from both my managers and my team members.
Moving to Paris is one case in point. My managers supported this move, not only because the demand for China research among our biggest clients has grown quickly in the past years and my move can service this in a much better way, but also in consideration of my long-term career development at Societe Generale.
After spending four years in the regional office in Hong Kong, I have been offered the possibility to move to our headquarters in Paris
The process has been quite smooth, from our initial discussions to my relocation to Paris. I have received a lot of helpful support from both the human resources teams in Hong Kong and Paris, as well as from my management, who have been supportive since day one.
Moving to Paris has been an important decision in my professional life. Working in Paris allows me to be closer to clients who are interested in the Chinese economy. I have also been able to develop strong relationships with other teams in Societe Generale.
My move offered me a unique opportunity to experience a different culture and to enrich my career at the same time. This is definitively a great plus for my future and as I am the only Chinese economist based in Paris, I am providing great added value to our clients and to Societe Generale.
I enjoy working with the Global Economics team tremendously.
We get along very well and I get the support from senior colleagues when needed. Since I joined Societe Generale, I have greatly improved my professional competencies in an environment which fosters cooperation and team work. I would also like to emphasize the fact that we are given a high degree of autonomy in our work.
Societe Generale is a welcoming place where you get the opportunity to meet numerous experts on a wide variety of topics.
The learning opportunities here are great and you will always have a chance to discover and learn from your peers. You need to come here with an open mind. Furthermore, you always need to be proactive and agile enough to recognize and grasp opportunities.
''Because relationships are at the heart of how we operate, Societe Generale is committed to strengthening bonds with people: with clients, with the communities in which we operate, and most certainly with the colleagues we work with.''
Hikaru Ogata holds the role of CEO, Asia Pacific since September 2010. Starting his career in investment banking in the Mergers & Acquisitions department at Goldman Sachs in New York, he held positions in the fields of Foreign Exchange and Derivatives in New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong before joining BNP Paribas’ Hong Kong branch in 1998, where he held several positions up to his move to Societe Generale.
Why Societe Generale, and why Asia Pacific?
“Asia Pacific is a vast and diverse region, where Societe Generale has operations in 12 locations. Our history in the region dates back a long time, so we are an established player here. We have built up a high-performance business, based on a multi-specialist model, drawing on our people, our expertise and our synergies with the Group to take maximum advantage of new growth opportunities, which we have done quite successfully over the past years. Within the boundaries of our regulatory environment we are very strong at taking market opportunities. And the Asia Pacific region still holds considerable development potential for our activities. This is really an exciting place if you want to be right in the middle of it.”
In what way does Societe Generale stand out from other employers in the Financial Services industry?
“I think the culture, the mind-set to really help and support our employees – our colleagues – to develop themselves and grow their career, is what makes us different. Because relationships are at the heart of how we operate, Societe Generale is committed to strengthening bonds with people: with clients, with the communities in which we operate, and most certainly with the colleagues we work with. Our tagline Building team spirit together is not just a hollow phrase, but a reality in this organisation.”
What does it take to be successful at Societe Generale?
“A couple of things. You need to have an entrepreneurial spirit and be innovative. You are daring, and you are comfortable in a constantly changing environment. Uncertainty doesn’t worry you because you leverage it as an opportunity to move forward. Integrity and high ethical standards define you. Also, you listen to what others have to say. You strive to understand their perspectives and their concerns, and you respect their opinions, even if they are not the same as yours. And finally, you are capable of building relationships based on trust – with your clients, your colleagues and your business partners.”