We spoke with the Master in Sustainable Business & Innovation graduate Niklas Bölt about his experience at EADA and his professional growth after the programme. Niklas is from Germany and holds a bachelor’s in international management. He currently works as an FX Specialist at Kantox, a leading fintech company in the field of currency management.
Tell us a bit about your main responsibilities as FX specialist at Kantox.
In my role as FX Specialist, I enable companies to automate their currency management. My main responsibilities are identifying and understanding companies that operate at an international level and face the risk of currency volatility, which can have a huge impact on businesses.
Currency risk management is quite a niche topic, so a huge part of my job is educating corporate clients about the impact of FX (foreign exchange) on their business. Therefore, it is crucial to understand different industries and business models. We than help companies automate their hedging policies to eliminate manual processes and repetitive tasks and reduce their operational risks through a software solution.
What is the most exciting aspect of Kantox for you?
Constant learning and growth. One day is never like another day. The speed of new developments and changes is immense, so that I am constantly learning. I work with corporates from different industries so I am constantly learning about new business models and dynamics. I have a great degree of freedom in my work so that I can look into the business models and industries that are most interesting to me.
What is the most challenging part of your current position? And the most rewarding?
The most challenging part is to change old paradigms. People have worked with Excel spreadsheets for years – and it worked for them. They optimised manual processes and interventions because they needed people to fulfil certain tasks. Changing these mindsets is often challenging and rewarding at the same time.
The most rewarding part of the job is to see the direct positive impact that my work has on other people and companies. Once you start a project, the clients see the value.
What drew you to the field of FinTech?
I had worked for more than six years for a huge corporation and wanted to work in a more dynamic environment. I have always had a genuine interest in finance as well as technology, so I had been looking into FinTech for some years. After EADA, I looked closer into the market and into what I want to do and found this opportunity at Kantox. It was the perfect combination of the type of company and role I was looking for.
In my current role, it is very important to stay curious. I am driven by learning new things and I try to see change as something positive and always as an opportunity.
How do you think the field will evolve over the next few years?
The industry will keep on innovating and disrupting existing business models. You can find a great mix of niche players and companies that are challenging banks at large scale.
It is not too unrealistic to predict that we will see more and more financial technology on a consumer level, as well as on a business level. Processes will be automated, transparency will be increased, and ultimately, consumers will have better products.
How do you use what you learned at EADA in your current position?
EADA equipped me with a broad set of skills – adapting to new situations is one of them. Through the practical approach of numerous case studies, I learned how to look at challenges from different angles. Today, this helps me quickly analyse new industries and business models and ultimately understand the challenges I am facing.
What skills are the most important for a professional in your position?
Power of comprehension, empathy and great communication skills. You are challenged by high-level finance professionals, so understanding what you are talking about is key. You need to be willing to learn constantly. It is important to understand that you are talking to diverse people, from different backgrounds, with different objectives and agendas. You need to be able to put yourself in their shoes to really create value for them. Moreover, you are not only dealing with many external stakeholders, but you are also in constant exchange with internal stakeholders and expectations that need to be managed.
What advice would you give to students interested in getting into FinTech?
FinTech is a broad term for many different business models, so I would recommend you look for a specific field within FinTech that you are passionate about. If you find something that you are really interested in, you will enjoy what you do and you will be good at it.