Meet our people
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 plays at Easts Rugby and played at Hong Kong Valley RFC, joined the Global Markets business at Societe Generale.
I am a Sales Analyst in Equity Derivatives at Global Markets in Australia.
I joined Societe Generale as a graduate analyst in Hong Kong in 2017, having worked in the Engineering marketing team and the equity derivatives team in Hong Kong , before moving into my current position after finishing the graduate analyst programme.
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 programme 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.
Societe Generale offers a two-year Graduate Programme to final year university students and recent graduates to kick off their career. During the two-year programme, an intensive and comprehensive talent management approach will be adopted to develop the candidate’s skills and professional expertise. After successful completion of the programme, 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. Derrick Zhou, who joined the programme in 2018 in Hong Kong, shares his experience.
How was your experience during the 2-year programme?
I joined Societe Generale Hong Kong in the summer of 2018 after graduating from Columbia University with my Master’s degree. Over the timespan of 2 years within the Graduate Programme, I had the chance to rotate through three very different desks within the Global Markets Division. I started off the Programme working for the Global Markets Marketing team, where I worked closely with the pricing team and supported the structured product distribution franchise. Afterwards, as I opted for the trading stream in the Programme, I carried on rotating for 8 months each on two trading desks: Delta One Index Trading and Credit Flow Trading. After completing the Programme this summer, I joined my last rotation desk permanently as a Trader.
''The best thing about the Graduate Programme is that it offers young people with aspiration a chance to truly experience different business lines and to find a placement within the bank where it suits best. Intrinsically embedded in the Programme are countless networking opportunities with senior finance practitioners as well as the bank’s senior management.''
What is the best part of your current role?
I now work as a Trader in the Credit Flow Trading team. What I enjoy the most of my current role is the diverse nature of my mandate. I started off covering the overnight session in Asia hours for US and European Investment Grade bonds. Progressing forward, I started to make markets for Asia Investment Grade bonds as well. I have daily interactions with my New York and London senior traders, and it is my utmost pleasure to help contribute to our global credit franchise.
How do you find the culture in Societe Generale? What’s it like to be working here and how is your interaction with other colleagues?
Working at Societe Generale is like working in a big family. Colleagues and senior managers are very easy to talk to and I can always find help whenever needed. One of the core values of Societe Generake is team spirit – with the supportive working environment in place, it is much easier for one to perform. I like this culture very much. Moreover, although I came to Hong Kong with no prior living experience here, I developed deep and lasting relationships with many of my colleagues, with whom I spent a lot of time off work.
What does it take to build a successful career in investment banking? And what advice would you give to an aspiring applicant to the next Graduate Programme?
In order to build a successful career in Investment Banking (and possibly in any industry), one must always be hungry to learn more. In other words, you need to have the inner drive which pushes you forward to think out of the box and come up with innovative strategies to better service our clients. There is a need to show your competency in the industry but in the meanwhile, staying humble and open to new ideas will get you even further.
Societe Generale offers a two-year Graduate Programme to final year university students and recent graduates to kick start their career. During the two-year programme, an intensive and comprehensive talent management approach will be adopted to develop the candidate’s skills and professional expertise. After successful completion of the programme, 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, now works in the Natural Resources & Infrastructure team, joined the programme in 2018 in Hong Kong. He shares his career journey at Societe Generale.
How was your experience during the 2-year programme?
"I have spent one year each in the Natural Resources & Infrastructure team and the Asset Finance team. The Graduate Programme was intensive but at the same time rewarding as it has helped me achieve my career aspirations through several ways."
First, the well-structured training programme has equipped me with the fundamental knowledge required for the job. Secondly, the rotations through various business lines have provided me with opportunities to understand different products offered by the bank and accumulate live deal experience across numerous sectors and regions. Lastly, the Buddy & Mentorship component has allowed me to expand my network and meet people from different teams.
After the completion of the Graduate Programme, I have rejoined the Natural Resources & Infrastructure team and will be starting soon a new chapter of my career with the Infrastructure team in Societe Generale Sydney Branch.
What do you enjoy the most in your current role?
What I like the most in my new role is the opportunity to work on a myriad of assets as the infrastructure financing market is very broad. Our infrastructure team covers a wide range of assets, ranging from transportation assets such as roads, airports, railways, to the trending telecom assets like data centers, broadband and telecom towers. Every transaction I worked on is basically an opportunity to understand a new type of business and market, which makes the job intriguing.
What is it like to be working at Societe Generale?
To me, Societe Generale is a “People-oriented” company with a diverse workforce and culture. The company emphasizes on building a strong team spirit and an inclusive working environment. I feel privileged to work with my colleagues from diverse backgrounds and our interactions are always insightful. More importantly, everyone here is approachable regardless of their seniority. Apart from work, there are also various staff clubs organizing sport and cultural activities on a regular basis. Not only can these activities help revitalize yourself after a long day of work, but also allow you to expand your network and meet colleagues from other departments.
What advice would you give to an aspiring applicant to the next Graduate Programme?
In my opinion, the primary goal for the new graduates should be to maximize their learnings and get the most out of the programme, thus I would advise the new applicants to be open-minded and curious and ask a lot of questions. My second advice would be not to be afraid of making mistakes as we learn and improve from them. From my personal experience, it is within Societe Generale’s culture that people understand mistakes can happen, and staff here are supportive and happy to provide guidance to juniors. The Graduate Programme is really an excellent opportunity to learn and kick start your career on the right foot so I would encourage graduates to apply without hesitation.
Technology is key to Societe Generale. Whether it’s building the best new digital services for our clients or reshaping operational and organizational models, the end user is always at the heart of our technological transformation. The Societe Generale IT & Digital teams offer great job opportunities against a backdrop of technological excellence. Jean-Baptiste Faivre, Chief Technology Officer, Asia Pacific, who leads the IT team to deliver a reliable IT environment for our clients and employees, shares about his career journey at Societe Generale.
How did you get into IT at Societe Generale?
In 2001, I graduated from engineering school Polytech Nice Sophia in France with a Masters Degree in Applied Mathematics for Finance and Insurance. When I graduated, I wanted to be trained in investment banking to work on mathematical modelling for finance, eventually joining a team at Societe Generale focusing on this activity. As I would consider myself more of a mathematician, I joined the IT sector purely by accident. After joining the bank I learnt IT language to implement theoretical concepts. It was something I discovered that was very interesting. I also realized the IT department is a very important part of the bank’s operation.
Tell us about your career at Societe Generale
I’m a strong believer in steady progression, taking on new challenges and new roles every two to three years, particularly if that involves geographical mobility. Societe Generale has given me the opportunity to do so. I came to Hong Kong in 2007, where I took on the role of Head of IT Equity Derivatives Post Trade Support. In 2015 I moved to Tokyo where I took on the position of CIO for Japan. Moving to new countries and discovering new ways of working has strengthened my adaptability, which is key to work in any fast-changing environment. I was keen to take on a new challenge and in 2019, I was offered the role of regional CTO for Societe Generale Asia Pacific to lead the IT delivery in the region.
What skills are essential to work in IT at Societe Generale?
I would say soft skills are very important for IT, not just technical skills. In every organization, and certainly in Societe Generale, you have plenty of talented and technically skilled people but what makes the difference in the IT community is to know how to engage with your colleagues and work with them efficiently.
As CTO, how do you manage your team and what is your management philosophy?
Societe Generale is a people driven organization, empowerment and development are fundamental for me in building and managing a team. Open communication is equally as important so we can avoid misunderstanding, issues and extra work. Doing all these will help you get the best from the team, make them happy to come to work, which will ultimately result in delivering more value to the organization.
How does Societe Generale create the environment for you to succeed in your role?
At Societe Generale I’m given the flexibility to see the broader scope of the company outside of my immediate remit, trying to lead initiatives across other departments to see how IT can influence the organisation as a whole. There are of course challenges to be faced, but it allows me to enact a broader reach of improvements beyond IT.
“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.
''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.